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General Info : Conscription in South Korea


The recruits

The recruits entering on army boot camp in Nonsan



Conscription in South Korea has enforced since 1957. Becuase the Korean War is not terminated yet(still in a state of truce from 1953), there is no plan to change it to volunteer military system.
It requires male citizens between the ages of 18 and 28 to perform compulsory military service. Only very limited case such as the Olympic champions, disabled persons can be exempted from this duty.
Women are not required to perform military service, but they may volunteer.

The mandatory military service period has been steadily declining from 36 months in 1957 to 18 months(army/marine force), 20 months(navy) and 22 months(air force) in 2020.
It is possible to continue service with becoming a career soldier if he wish after his compulsory service.

Person who is judged to be unable to serve in active duty on the physical examination becomes personnel for public interest service. In this case, he will work for government offices, subway stations, etc.

Ryeowook and Kyuhyun of Super Junior
The image above is of Ryeowook(left) and Kyuhyun(right) of Super Junior, on the last day of their mandatory service. Kyuhyun was put under class which can't be serve in active duty due to aftereffect following car accident. He 'finished duty' but 'haven't been a soldier". It can be easily shown on their clothes.

There are also military academies to produce officers. These academies' pass degree is considered as a university degree. Officers are obliged to serve 3 to 10 years(depending on cases) after graduation.




The recruits

The recruits on a completion ceremony. They are the privates now.



All of the unconscripted man after 18 years old is on the status of "postponing" his enlistment.
For this reason, it can be said that 99.9% of male entertainers in South Korea have college graduate, because the easiest way to postpone enlistment is enrollment to colleage.
For ordinary people, most of them finish the duty between 19 ~ 23 years of age. However, entertainers are reluctant to spend their 20s - the economical golden age - in military service. So the vast majority enlists when they reach the upper age limit. There are only a few cases of under-age limit enlisters - D.O of EXO(enlisted on age 26) and actor Yoo, Seungho(enlisted on age 20).

So, on this website, the expected year of enrollment is written as the age limit. It is 28 years old by the military service law revised in 2018.

* For people who born in 1991 and 1992, who were near to the age limit at the time of the revision in 2018, a waiver applies for a few years.




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