BTS success prompts call to update military exemption criteria in South Korea
Amid a debate on whether hit K-Pop group BTS should be exempt from South Korea's mandatory military service, South Korean assembly member Ha Tae Kyung called for amendments to the criteria for special exemptions to be broadened and consider more modern art forms, according to reports.
Hit K-pop group BTS at a photo shoot for their chart-topping album Love Yourself: Tear, which was released in May. (Photo: Facebook/BTS)
Exemptions from the country's two-year military conscription can be granted to those who rank highly on a list of international competitions designated by the government.
In a report last Friday (Jul 27), the Korean Herald quoted Ha as saying in an interview with a local radio show that the list of the designated international competitions is unfair.
“There are classical music competitions, such as violin, but pop music is excluded ... making BTS who topped the Billboard chart irrelevant (to military exemption),” he said.
“There are dance competitions (on the list), but not for B-Boying. Theatre is included, but film is not.”
Ha noted that the list was made in 1973: "We need to investigate why the list of international competitions for military service exemption is limited. It’s not an issue of whether the list is long or short. It should be fair. We should make a fair list,” he said, according to the Herald.
BTS became the first K-pop group to rise to the top of the Billboard 200 music charts in May.
K-pop website Soompi also reported that speaking at a general meeting of the National Assembly Defence Committee last Wednesday, the politician from the Bareunmirae Party spoke used international sensation Psy as another example.
Psy’s Gangnam Style went viral overnight after it was posted on YouTube in July 2012. By December of that same year, Gangnam Style became the first YouTube video to hit one billion views.
Psy doing the "horse dance" in a scene from the music video for his song Gangnam Style.
“Psy set a new world record for YouTube views,” Soompi quoted Ha as saying. “He has an incredibly large influence on people throughout the world.
“However, the things that encourage our whole nation to dream and give inspiration to young people are not on (the military service exemption list),” he said, adding that reforms need to be made in accordance with the viewpoint of young people today.
Soompi also reported that Military Affairs Director Ki Chan Soo replied that the military service exemption fields are selected through discussions with the Minister of Culture, Sports, and Tourism.
“It is difficult if there is no national consensus. It will be reviewed so that it may be in accordance with reality," Ki was quoted as saying./.