Super star, multi-talented, self-proclaimed world star, Rain, is saying goodbye to regular citizen life and hello to two years of military. Goodbye stages of the world, hello buzz cuts and Choco Pies.
For those of you who are new to K-pop or Korean anything for that matter, it is obligatory for every healthy man under the age of 30 to do military service. For more of a complete understanding behind this, please refer to Ask a Korean!, a very informative blog about Korea and Koreans, in this, this, and this article. Our beloved K-pop stars are no exception for this and public figure or not, this law is taken seriously in this country. Case in point singer Yoo Seung-jun who was deported and banned from South Korea after being accused of deliberately avoiding his service by becoming an American citizen in 2002. A more recent case is that of rapper MC Mong who successfully avoided his service but was later trialed for deliberately removing his molars to avoid his service. On April 2011, he was sentenced to a 6-month jail time, one year probation, and 120 hours of community service.
With a law this strict, even your world star, super rich oppas can't keep away from that dreaded two-year service. And thus they do the next best alternative: putting off their services until the very last minute. Like our man, Rain here. I thought he would never go already. Of course going to the military will be somewhat halting of one's career, especially a career that's as fast paced as the ones in the entertainment industry But as far as I could remember, Rain has been putting off his service for a long time. It seems that once he announced a date, he'll just make another excuse to push it back for a few more months. . Every other month there will be headlines stating "Rain to be Enlisted on This Month of This Year!" only to be followed by "Rain Pushes Back Enlistment After Finishing Drama/Movie/World Domination!" It doesn't seem to have an end of it.
Finally, on October 11, 2011, which is today, Rain reported to a training camp in Gyeongi-do at 1:10 PM, marking official his departure to the world of obligated military and out of public eyes. Or so we thought. Apparently, Rain isn't ready to say goodbye to public love just yet. It was revealed that Mnet will be airing a 90-minute special on the day of his departure. He will also "greet" his fans one more time through the movie Red Muffler. I have a feeling this wouldn't be the last time we'll see him in the media in the next two years.
Till then, good luck Jung Ji-hoon!