BTS’ Jin enters Korean military boot camp in full media glare

K-pop superstar Jin on Tuesday entered a boot camp in a frontline area to begin his mandatory military service, with hundreds of reporters from domestic and foreign news media waiting outside to cover the news, reports Yonhap News Agency.

The 30-year-old became the first member of the boy band BTS to join the military. The group’s six other members — RM, Suga, Jimin, J-hope, V and Jungkook — will also be enlisting in the military in order, according to the band’s agency, Big Hit Music.

The vocalist quietly entered an Army training centre in Yeoncheon, 60 km north of Seoul, in a car without a farewell event for fans.

Hundreds of personnel from the military, police, firefighting and local government authorities, and media packed an intersection in front of the boot camp’s main gate for safety management and news coverage, respectively, from a few hours before the expected time of his enlistment.

Placards reading “We welcome the enlistment of BTS’ Kim Seok-jin and all other military personnel” and balloons were hung there. Kim Seok-jin is Jin’s original Korean name.

Jin’s vehicle passed the main gate at about 1:40 p.m. Six other bandmates and staff members from Big Hit Music reportedly travelled together in six black minivans to see him off.

He headed directly to the precincts of the camp without getting out of the car or sticking his head out of a window.

The authorities operated a situation room near the training centre, as many fans and journalists were expected to gather with about 300 personnel on standby to prevent possible accidents from congestion. Ambulances were also ready in case of an emergency.

The singer took to Weverse, an online community platform for K-pop fans, early in the morning to say goodbye to his fans. “Now it’s time for curtain call,” he wrote, using a line from the main character of the same name in the popular online game ‘League of Legends’.

“I always wanted to say this when I go to the military,” he added.

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