BIGBANG
Members of South Korean K-Pop band BIGBANG backstage after winning Artist of the Year award in 2015 Mnet Asian Music Awards (MAMA) in Hong Kong Reuters

The countdown for BIGBANG member T.O.P's upcoming military service has started. According to the official homepage of the National South Korean Police Agency, the 29-year-old artist will be starting his army duty on February 9, 2017 as a conscripted policeman.

The rapper, whose real name is Choi Seung-hyun, will begin training at the army training center in Nonsan. According to a report in Japanese media outlet Nikkan Sports, T.O.P couldn't hide his emotions during a concert in Japan while talking about temporarily leaving Big Bang for his military enlistment.

"The stage is always important but the dorm tour, and especially today's stage, holds extra special meaning. People say there isn't much time left of the 5 of us together but I think the 5 of us will be together forever," he said.

He continued: "A lot of things have happened but the 5 of us meeting each other is my most precious experience. Also, I have a favor to ask my fans. Be with us so the 5 of us can continue to be together. Thank you."

T.O.P also took to his social media account, and left a short video for his fans. He wrote: "We will be saying goodbye temporarily. Stay healthy. I think I'll miss you guys very much. I'll come back after a lot of growth."

BIGBANG has become one of the most recognizable boy band around the globe in the past decade. The five members - G-Dragon, T.O.P, Taeyang, Daesung and Seungri, has enthralled the Korean music world since their first performance in Seoul on 19 August 2006.