Some 270 riot police have been deployed, and ambulances are on standby around the Key Recruit Training Center, where Jin enters boot camp at a front-line division in Yeoncheon County on the border with North Korea.
BTS’s Jin enlists: What to know about S. Korea’s mandatory military service
The enlistment of Korean celebrities often attracts fans and journalists trying to catch a glimpse of the stars before they leave the public eye for around two years.
BTS’s agency HYBE said on Monday that Jin, whose real name is Kim Seok-jin, will be driven into the military grounds without stopping for a send-off “in order to prevent any accident from crowding.”
The enrollment day at a training center is usually busy with recruits and their family members exchanging emotional goodbyes. The 30-year-old singer joins boot camp with a cohort of about 200 other conscripts, many of whom are younger than him.
All able-bodied South Korean men aged between 18 and 28 must serve at least 18 months in the country’s armed forces, but K-pop stars like Jin who are recognized by the government can defer their service until age 30.
Jin told the “BTS Army” — the official name of the boy band’s millions-strong fan base — to refrain from coming to his enrollment day. Despite his plea, fans are expected to show up and HYBE warned in a statement on Monday about possible overcrowding.
The K-pop heartthrob felt social media abuzz earlier when he revealed his freshly shaved head. The South Korean army maintains rigid grooming standards, including hair length regulations. “It’s cuter than I thought,” he said in a message posted on the Weverse fan community on Sunday.
Jin will undergo a physically demanding five-week basic training course before being assigned to a military unit. Army trainees learn basic skills such as how to march, shoot guns and throw a grenade.
The six other members of BTS are expected to fulfill their draft obligations based on individual timelines. BTS, hailed as the world’s biggest boy band, plans to reconvene as a group in 2025 after they complete their service.
Jin made his solo debut in October with the hit single “The Astronaut,” which sold more than a million copies.