While Korean males are required to spend 22 months in the military, it’s not always easy as male stars to leave the public eye for that long. With the entertainment industry’s rapidly changing trends and huge influx of new debuting stars each year, there’s no guarantee for male celebrities that their career opportunities, fan base, popularity will not decrease, or even remain the same as prior to their departure to the military. Thus, some stars have stirred great controversy by getting caught while using illegal methods to shirk active duties. On the other hand, there are also celebrities like Hyun Bin who have become an exemplar for other Korean males by voluntarily joining the Marine Corps, which is considered to be one of the toughest.
Male stars has been very cautious these days about receiving any preferential treatment or avoiding military duties because they know too well that the general public is watching them, with the military service of male celebrities always being a sensitive subject in Korea. While Korea male celebrities and military duties are inseparable subject matters, we tried grouping some of our favorite male celebrities based on their timing and characteristics of their military service duties.
So Much Drama: Controversial Cases
Yoo Seung Joon
Yoo Seung Joon has become a poster boy of Korean-American celebrities who have not served the Army by either keeping their overseas permanent residency or citizenship when he became a naturalized U.S. citizen in 2002. While he was arguably the biggest star in Korea at the moment, public criticism grew out of control as soon as he gave up his Korean citizenship. Ultimately, he got expelled from the country and despite being nine years since his violation of military service laws, he still isn’t allowed to perform in Korea!
MC Mong has been accused of violating military service laws and avoiding military duties by pulling out four of his “normal” teeth from August 2004 to December 2006. Regardless of the intent, he was able to receive a lower level (Level 5) and get exempted for military service. Ultimately, MC Mong has been cleared for accusations of violating military service laws. Yet, the general public still seems to be suspicious toward him. As his public image pretty much went down the drain, it’s unclear at this point whether MC Mong will be able resume his career again.
Great Korean Patriots
Here are a group of stars who gave up their U.S. green cards or U.S. citizenships (which give them the option to forego the mandatory two year military service in Korea) in order to enlist into Korean Army.
Cha In Pyo
Yun Jung Hoon
Farewell: Just Joined
‘Secret Garden’ star Hyun Bin joined the Marine Corps on March 7th. Although it may seem a bit early to wait for his discharge, for those of you who are dearly waiting for his comeback like me, Hyun Bin’s estimated discharge date is December 4th, 2012!
Dalmatian’s Dari joined the army just a couple days ago on April 25, 2011!
Kang Dong Won started his military service on November 18th, 2010.
Super Junior’s Kang In joined the army on July 5th, 2010. He’s the first Super Junior member to serve miltary duties.
Adieu: Soon to Join
These are stars who will soon be added to the long list of stars already partaking in their mandatory military duty.
On the “Strong Heart” episode that was aired on January 18th, Lee Teuk hinted that he will be joining the army pretty soon.
Along with Lee Teuk, Lee Seung Gi also hinted in the same “Strong Heart” episode that he will be starting his military service fairly shortly.
World Star Rain appeared on KBS’s “News Line” on April 22nd and claimed “I’ll be serving military duties by the end of this year.” He added, “I will be serving active duties. However, I haven’t decided whether I will join the Marines Corps, Air Force, or the Army. I’m still contemplating.”
Welcome Back: Just Got Out
Kim Jeong Hoon
Former UN member Kim Jeong Hoon was discharged on February 28th, 2011. He has been casted as the male lead, along with Jo Yeuh Jung as female lead, for tvN’s drama “I Need Romance.”
Lee Jae Won
Former H.O.T member Lee Jae Won was discharged on March 7th, 2011. At Lee Jae Won’s discharge ceremony, all four fellow H.O.T members got together to congratulate him.
Eric was discharged on October 30th, 2010.
Shinhwa’s Andy & Jun Jin & Lee Min Woo
Andy is expected to complete his military duties this coming November, Jun Jin later in the end of this year and Lee Min Woo next March.
Jo In Sung will be discharged on May 4th. Recently, he was chosen as the “most anticipated star to be discharged” in an online survey. Yay, can’t wait to see him back on screen again! 😉
Sizzling actor Kim Rae Won is scheduled to complete his military duties this coming August. Recently, he received a casting offer for some historical drama but declined it. He has been receiving numerous blockbuster movies, CF offers so far. Can’t wait to listen to your sexy voice and see your cute smiling eyes again back on screen! 😉
Joo Ji Hoon
Joo Ji Hoon is expected to be discharged from military service in this coming November. Recently he has signed an acting contract with KeyEast which he will be working for once he has completed his service.
Lee Dong Wook will be completing his military duties this coming June. It has been told that the hot actor has been receiving numerous love calls upon his approaching discharge. Currently, he is in the process of choosing his next project among several dozens of synopsis and scenarios.
Only 80 days or so left until Lee Min Ho (Boom’s real name!) gets discharged from military service!