Enlistment for military service is mandatory for men below 30 years of age in South Korea. This rule applies to all irrespective of which profession they belong to. Recently globally popular K-pop band BTS's member J-Hope's military enlistment news went viral.
Now one more popular band Exo's member Kai has to go for enlistment. SM Entertainment, which is the management company for K-pop group EXO, announced on Wednesday that its member Kai, whose real name is Kim Jong-in, is going to join the Army on May 11.
According to the South Korean internet portal Naver, SM Entertainment declared on its official fan community page: "Hello. SM Entertainment is here. We've come to inform followers about Kai's military duty, which was unexpected. Kai was preparing for EXO's return this year, but owing to a recent change in Military Manpower Administration laws, he is planning to enter the army recruit training center on May 11 where he will get basic military training and subsequently serve as a public service worker.
The news has come as a shock to the band and Kai's fans. Fans have expressed their sadness as the announcement has come all of a sudden. One user wrote on Twitter, "As others can even travel abroad for overseas schedules too so what the hell they keep saying they can only use five times postponement?! So what now? that rule is only for Kai?! And look at them cannot answer it properly,". While Kai also tweeted for his fans "Eat and rest well, okay? If you have exams, then get accepted to the places you want to go to. And above all else, don't forget your dreams, work hard to pursue them. Let's each do what we have to do and meet each other again."
Besides Kai, many other K-pop stars are scheduled to go for military enlistment this year. The list includes K-Pop band Seventeen's lead rapper S. Coups and JeongHan, NCT's Taeyong, and SF9's Dawon to name a few. BTS's popular members Jimin and Jungkook will also enlist for military services in 2023 only.