5 Korean male celebrities who were exempted from military service.
Given South Korea’s military service requirement for its citizens, many K-pop and K-drama fans sadly anticipate the day their favourite stars need to take a 20-month break from the entertainment industry.
While army duty is mandatory for all able-bodied South Korean males between the ages of 18 and 28, there are a number of Korean celebrities who got exemptions.
Here’s a look at the stars who were spared …
1. Jung Woo-sung
Prospective trainees have to meet academic requirements to take part in army duty. While it’s not applicable any more as the regulation was lifted earlier this year, according to Korea Herald, people were supposed to hold a high school diploma to be enlisted in the army until 2020.
Steel Rain star Jung Woo-sung couldn’t enlist in the army because he lacked the required academic background, according to Koreaboo. The 48-year-old actor reportedly grew up under difficult circumstances and ended up dropping out of high school.
2. Park Hae-jin
My Love from the Star actor Park Hae-jin was spared from fulfilling his two-year military duty in 2004. His lawyers said in 2010 that he received an exemption due to his struggles with depression and social phobia, according to Soompi. In 2010, the 38-year-old actor faced an investigation for possibly shirking the military draft, added Soompi.
According to Soompi, those suffering from certain mental illnesses – who have received treatment for six months or have been hospitalised for over one month – are exempt from army duty per South Korean military service law.
In an interview with Money Today, Park revealed that he had suffered from depression ever since he was young and that he was continuously getting treatment for it. He also opened up about how hurt he felt from reading news and comments scolding him for avoiding army duty on purpose.
3. Simon Dominic (Jung Ki-suck)
Military training requires having good eyesight. Popular South Korean rapper Simon Dominic, who is part of Jay Park’s label AOMG, couldn’t participate in the army duty due to an injury in his left eye. According to Chosun newspaper, the 37-year-old reportedly damaged the retina in his left eye in a childhood accident.
According to Koreaboo, he opened up about the accident in his song Who You?, singing “I’m not the same person any more” and “I was exempt after losing the sight in my left eye”.
4. Jo Jung-suk
Hospital Playlist star Jo Jung-suk was excused from military duty due to family circumstances. The 40-year-old actor became the primary caretaker and sole provider for his mother after he lost his father at an early age, according to AllKpop. The star also quit university and entered the acting industry to earn more money.
5. Yoo Ah-in (Uhm Hong-sik)
‘Sungkyunkwan Scandal’ star Yoo Ah-in was exempted from military duty because of health issues. According to the Korea Herald, the 35-year-old actor was diagnosed with a bone tumour in 2015. He also ruptured his shoulder muscle while filming two actions films Tough as Iron and Venetian in 2013 and 2015 respectively.