Public figures can no longer push back enlistment, which could impact K-pop

Male public figures in Korea will no longer be able to push back their enlistment date, as the Military Manpower Administration will now be handling it. As such, when their number comes up, they’ll have to enlist immediately.

The MMA sent an official letter to a number of management companies in Korea earlier this month. For the contents of the official letter, it is a request to cooperate and submit the list of the entertainers under the revision of the Military Service Law. Companies are required to complete and submit the personal information of their artists (any man born between January 1st, 1980 and December 31st, 1999), including the contracted trainees. Popular culture artists mentioned by the MMA are singers, actors, comedians, dancers, performers, DJs, models, voice actors, musical actors, performing artists, and other broadcasters.

This hypothetically puts them on equal footing as everybody else, but there are a lot of reasons one can push back enlistment, which is why many (including myself) have known people who have.

-Full exempt: Mental or physical disorders (must provide medical documentation within 60 days).
Long term (more than one year): Post-secondary education (applies to diplomas, degrees, masters, and doctorates) (this is the easiest way to get a deferral), if you have started your own entrepreneurship (allows 3 years).
Short term (one year or less): When you currently have a brother in the army (of similar age), experienced a loss in the family (must be immediate family (dad, mom, sister, brother, child)) (30 days, 60 days under other circumstances), natural disasters (ex. flood, earthquakes) (60 days), no notice of placement by the government, if you haven’t been sent for an examination (health), lack of passport (if being sent abroad) (60 days), need to write exams (for post-secondary, and for licenses (professional certifications)) (once passed/failed you are put into the army), applying to a government position (once accepted/declined you are put into the army), childcare (if expecting, already have a newborn) (6 months).

There’s a lot of freaking out going on, including discussing whether this will impact the way companies approach boy groups for K-pop and what not. However, I’ll believe it when I see it, because this sounds like political posturing at a key time, and also there’s too much money involved in entertainment for this to be implemented as harshly as the MMA is making it sound to the public.

Or maybe this really will shake the foundation of K-pop? We’ll see.


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