British magazine The Economist has compared Hyun Bin to the legendary singer Elvis Presley in a recent article titled “Hallyu Elvis and the draft-dodger.” The article discussed how all Korean males are required to serve 21 months in the military, and the sensitivity of some male celebrities or sons of prominent business/political figures finding ways to dodge the mandatory service. The story talked about the recent MC Mong controversy where he was accused of intentionally extracting his teeth in order to avoid the mandatory military service, and how it resulted in the embattled singer losing his fame and every TV spot he had.
However, the story went on to say, “Not all celebrities in MC Mong’s position try to avoid the military. Hallyu star Hyun Bin for example currently serves in the Korean Marines at the Baek Ryung Island, which is in proximity to the Yeon Pyung Island that got attacked by the North Koreans last year.”
And then it went on to say, “In a country increasingly preoccupied with the issue of fairness, Hyun Bin’s preference for the Elvis Presley route to service is likely to go down well.” Elvis Presley was drafted by the U.S. Army and joined the 3rd Armored Division in Germany in 1958 at the height of his fame. Likewise, Hyun Bin joined the Korean Marines earlier this year after appearing in SBS drama “Secret Garden” which basically made him one of the most popular actors in the country.