SEOUL, South Korea (CelebrityAccess) — After more than a decade together, Korean pop icons BTS announced the group is going on a hiatus.
BTS broke the news to fans in a video they shared on social media during which they shared a meal and explained their desire to branch out and explore their potential as solo artists.
“We’ve talked among ourselves several times and we believe it’s good to take some time apart,” BTS member J-Hope said in a video, according to a translation. “I hope that people don’t think negatively about this step and that they see this is a healthy, important part of our plan that will let BTS grow stronger.”
In the video, the members of BTS also touched on the pressure of living in the limelight with a devoted fanbase and the challenges of creating new pop hits.
“I should be writing about what I’m feeling and the stories I want to tell,” BTS member Suga said, “but I’m just forcefully squeezing out words because I need to satisfy someone.”
“I want to keep performing, but I feel like I’ve lost direction,” added RM, who serves as the group’s English spokesperson.
While details about solo projects are still scarce, many of the group’s members have already released solo projects. As well, J-Hope was announced as a headliner for Lollapalooza’s 2022 to Chicago later this year.
The members of BTS are also subject to mandatory military service with several members fast approaching the maximum age or, in several cases, exceeding it. South Korea, which is still officially in a state of armed conflict with neighboring North Korea, requires all male citizens aged 18 to 30 to serve in the military service. Most mandatory enlistments extend for two years and while South Korea does provide exceptions the nation’s top athletes and classical and folk musicians, those carveouts do not typically include pop artists.
However, some members of BTS have been allowed to delay enlistment, including Jin – real name Kim Seok-jin – who at 29, based on a 2020 law that allows high profile popular entertainers to stave off but not avoid conscription.
While some high profile politicians, including Culture, Sports and Tourism Minister Hwang Hee, who recently suggested that BTS should be given a pass, the issue is a hot button topic in South Korea with such exemptions opposed by many who themselves face mandatory military service.