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Top K-pop idols returning from the military this year

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From left to right: EXO's Baekhyun (SM Entertainment), MONSTA X's Shownu (Starship Entertainment), SHINee's Taemin (SM Entertainment)

From left to right: EXO’s Baekhyun (SM Entertainment), MONSTA X’s Shownu (Starship Entertainment), SHINee’s Taemin (SM Entertainment)

All able-bodied Korean men are required to serve in the military, and even the biggest K-pop superstars are no exception.

Unlike in the past, when drafting essentially meant a life sentence for K-pop idols, many singers are now returning to groups after about 18-22 months of service and embarking on a new journey. increase.

This year we welcome a series of K-pop musicians returning to civil society from large groups.

Victon’s Han Seung-woo, who is also the brother of singer-turned-actor Han Sun-hwa, is the first to be ready for release. Seungwoo, the oldest member of the 6-member group who enlisted in July 2021, is currently a member of the military band. Seungwoo will be discharged from the military on January 27th.

EXO’s Baekhyun will be next in February. Baekhyun will begin service in May 2021 as the fifth of nine bandmates to enlist. Baekhyun was assigned as a social service worker instead of an active duty soldier due to hypothyroidism. With Baekhyun scheduled to complete service on February 5, fans are expecting EXO to make a long-awaited full-group comeback. The group’s leader, Suho, posted a not-so-cryptic post on social media on Jan. 1: “2023 Exo will be back.”

Baekhyun and SM Entertainment’s labelmate SHINee’s Taemin will be discharged from the military on April 4. Taemin initially served in the military band, but mental health issues forced him to join the reserve about a year ago. According to a statement released by SM, Taemin had been suffering from depression and anxiety since before he enlisted, and it was reported that his symptoms worsened after his enlistment. ing.

Day6's Young K (left) and Wonpil (JYP Entertainment)

Day6’s Young K (left) and Wonpil (JYP Entertainment)

The two members of Day6 are set to complete their duties this year, with Young K being the first to be discharged on April 11th. A very selective brunch. In March, Wonpil enlisted in the Navy, also continuing as the first idol musician to serve in that branch.

MONSTA X leader Shownu will be discharged from the military on April 21st. Shownu enlisted as a civil servant in July 2021 due to health issues with his left eye.

In June, he will be discharged with group ONF, just like when he enlisted a year and a half ago. In December 2021, the entire group, with the exception of U, the only foreign member from Japan, enlisted in the army together, becoming the first group to do so. The group gained more prominence within the military as a video of the five performing at an event gained public attention and exploded on the Internet. .

ONF (WM Entertainment)

ONF (WM Entertainment)

In September, several K-pop stars will be discharged from the military. SF9’s Inseong and Block B’s PO are in the military band, and Inseong is serving as PO in the Army until September 20th and in the Marine Corps until September 27th. 28.

Along with Day6’s Wonpil, ASTRO’s MJ will retire in November.

Choi Ji Won (jwc@heraldcorp.com)



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