Seo In Guk on getting military service exemption: I really wanted to serve

Korean star Seo In Guk broke his silence on his military service exemption after four months.

Seo In Guk
Seo In Guk Instagram

Korean star Seo In Guk broke his silence on his military service exemption after four months.

The 29-year-old singer and actor enlisted in the Korean army on March 28 but was ordered to go home on March 31 due to an ankle injury called "osteochondral lesion — injury or small fracture of the cartilage surface — on his left ankle," according to a report.

Seo In Guk has starred in Korean dramas like "Reply 1997" and 2016's "38 Revenue Collection Unit" and "Shopaholic Louis."

After getting a medical re-examination, the Military Manpower Administration, the Korean government agency in charge of enlisting Korean men, declared in June that his health status was Grade 5, which was equivalent to a military service exemption.

Since then, Koreans have severely criticized Seo In Guk, accusing him of not getting his ankle injury treated so he could use it to get a military exemption.

Seo In Guk posted a letter on his fan cafe on October 4 to greet his fans in celebration of Chuseok, or Korean Thanksgiving, and explain his side of the issue.

"In terms of my military duties, I filed for a delay in my enlistment. Though I did have things I wanted for my career, I was already advised to undergo surgery, and I was going through pain relief and treatment. However, I wanted to serve in the military, so I delayed my enlistment," he wrote.

He said that when he enlisted on March 28, "I did not apply for a re-examination, nor did I bring any application."

"However, in the first interview, the platoon leader told me to tell him in advance if I had an illness, and on the day of the health exam, I raised my hand and told them I experienced discomfort in my leg," Seo In Guk said.

After he was ordered to go home, he underwent a medical examination.

"I never dreamed that I'd go to the hospital over this. As soon as I got to the hospital, I got an x-ray first, and then they spoke to me. I didn't imagine that I couldn't go to the military because of this issue. I think it's definitely my fault," he added.

He denied that he used his injury to get an exemption.

"As a singer and actor, I wanted to confidently enlist as an active-duty soldier, and do everything I could in my duty to defend the nation," he said.

When the medical results came out, he said he asked the hospital to let him continue his military service.

"I knew that if I left like this I'd be embarrassed, so I wanted to stay no matter what. However, the hospital said that it was too much for me to undergo military training, and there was nothing they could do," he said.

He added, "There were a lot of things I've wanted to say, but I felt like everything I say would be like an excuse. I was scared I'd look unworthy. I was surprised to see so many people were suspicious about certain aspects, and I thought it was understandable. However, I'm sure of my perspective and my side, and I thought I should tell the truth for sure because of my supportive and caring fans who might be hurt."