Wooyoung’s Mandatory Enlistment
All men, native to South Korea, must serve a 21-month to 24-month period in the Korean military, as a form of preparation in the case of possible war and other foreign threats. These men are able to choose a sector of their liking, such as the air force, marines, civil service or police service, to be a part of or to be drafted to a predetermined sector.
Some men might be exempt from this mandatory service if they have a special case of illness or have received a special award from the government, usually in the case of athletes, but celebrities, such as idols and actors, are definitely treated like the everyday average Joe.
Such was the case of 2PM’s resident dancer, Wooyoung, who chose to enlist in mid-July 2018. Due to the changes in the law set by the government, male Korean celebrities can no longer delay their enlistment until the last possible timing, thus in 2018, there was a surge of male celebrities enlisting into the army.
Wooyoung, who was nearing at the time, had no choice but to enlist as it was his set time according to the new law. As we near the halfway mark of Wooyoung’s military enlistment, aren’t you curious as to how he broke the news to his fans? Or, how he’s doing now in the army? Well, wait no more as we uncover all the details related to Wooyoung’s enlistment!
Woo-young Military Enlistment Announcement
Since early 2018, Wooyoung has been talking about his plans for military enlistment, admitting that the members of 2PM will need at least four to five years before they all come together as a group again. During his solo comeback with the song “Don’t Cry,” he talked specifically about his plans. He revealed, “I’m thinking about enlisting in the army in the latter half of this year,” something that is not very shocking to fans as two other 2PM members, Taecyeon and Jun-K had already enlisted a few months prior.
Unlike some others, who agonize about their time in the military, especially idols who are known to shirk and avoid this mandatory service using all kinds of reasoning, Wooyoung stated that he wanted to experience what it was like first-hand as he feels left out for not having such experience yet. Wooyoung added, “There’s still this feeling of being left out for me, there’s also the feeling that I’m not a proper Korean man yet. When I hear stories from my friends who’ve served their time in the army, I feel like I’m still young.”
Like most idols in the industry, Wooyoung reveals that the reason his enlistment came relatively late was that he was trying to focus on his work as much as he could, doing work as both a member of 2PM and as a solo artist. He didn’t want to make the decision by himself as he was working as a member of a team and has responsibilities he needs to oblige to. Wooyoung went on to compliment Taecyeon, another member of 2PM, who has enlisted ahead of him.
Wooyoung revealed, “When I see him on vacation, he doesn’t seem like he had been a celebrity at all. Taecyeon seems to have adapted to the system of the military so well that it seems like he was born for it. He has lost weight and his face looks so good.” When asked how he would feel if he became Taecyeon’s subordinate soldier, Wooyoung replied that he couldn’t answer the question right away because he knew Taecyeon could be tough when he wanted to. He soon answered, “I don’t think it would be bad, but it would be better if we were separate.”
On June 29th, six months after revealing the news at the fan meeting, industry sources revealed that Wooyoung would be enlisting on July 9th, and will be carrying out his service as an active duty soldier. The reveal was very sudden as it was only a week out until he was due to enlist. A source from JYP Entertainment confirmed the news, stating, “The enlistment date is correct, but we will not be revealing the location and time as Wooyoung wishes to enlist quietly.” Prior to this announcement, Wooyoung touched on his upcoming enlistment at a fan meeting. He expressed, “I will return and stand before you after becoming a real man, in good health without any injuries.”
Wooyoung’s Enlistment Day
긴 말 필요없다!
2PM의 미친 재간둥이, 건강히 잘 다녀오세요!! pic.twitter.com/4ncia2S6Ja
— 2PM (@follow_2PM) July 9, 2018
On July 9th, at 2 p.m. KST, Wooyoung entered the recruit training center of the 21st Infantry Division located in the infamous Baekdu Mountain. 2PM’s official Twitter account shared a photo of him with his buzzcut, the very icon of Korean males that are enlisting, and wrote, “We don’t have to say much! 2PM’s crazy and talented boy – return safely!!” He was sent off by his family and members as he wished to enlist quietly without a send-off ceremony with fans, thus his enlistment location and time were not revealed beforehand to the public and fans.
A close friend of his, Jo-kwon of 2AM, also shared a screenshot of their chat just a few hours before he was due to enlist. The two were very close as they trained together under JYP Entertainment and debuted in brother groups. Although Jo-kwon is no longer under JYP Entertainment, it seems that their bond as brothers in the industry remains. The screenshot reveals Jo-kwon giving advice and cheering Wooyoung on the day of his enlistment. Jo-kwon, who is planning to enlist in 2020, is resenting the fact that all of his friends are enlisting and says that he will miss Wooyoung.
Wooyoung’s Time Serving in The Military
On the 25th of July, just a few weeks after he first started training in the military, photos of him and a few of his peers appeared in online communities. The photos show him spending time with his peers that are training with him, even going as far as posing with a cheeky finger heart. It also displays that despite getting the mandatory buzzcut and going through some rigorous training as a soldier, Wooyoung retains his amazing visuals and seems to radiate handsomeness alongside his peers. Check out some more photos below!
Unlike most men serving their time in the military, he still seems bright and happy as he usually is, with a smile plastered on his face. Most men serving their time usually lose some weight and look very tired at the very beginning of their service, still trying to adjust and adapt to the notoriously harsh environments and training schedule.
The photos above show that Wooyung has transformed himself into the man he longed to be, something that he revealed he was missing by not having gone through the military experience yet. He seems a lot more mature and has grown into himself, shedding the typically playful and childlike personality he was most famous for.
When Will He Be Discharged?
According to the branch he is serving in, he will be discharged around early 2021, depending on how he performs in his tasks and if he is able to be promoted. This will highly depend on the number of holidays he takes while serving and also how well he fares between his peers. Hopefully, he will be able to finish on time, and with how 2PM members are already planning out their enlistment schedules, we might be able to get a group comeback in no time. In the meantime, we can always enjoy the little snippets of Wooyoung we see through posts from fellow soldiers serving their time and also the times he is on break.
So what do you think about Wooyoung’s choice of enlisting, following the other two members of 2PM? Can you wait another 4 to 5 years before the complete 2PM reunion? Comment your thoughts and opinions in the section below!