ARMYs, it’s that time again — we have to say goodbye to a member of BTS for a little while as they start their military enlistment process. After Jin enlisted in December 2022, he set the ball rolling for the other members to head off to the (literal) army, with plans for the group to officially reunite as seven in 2025. On April 1, BigHit confirmed (no fooling) that the next entrance ceremony is imminent, and now fans are left wondering what day J-Hope is leaving for the military.
J-Hope being second in line has been common knowledge since February, when BTS’ label BigHit put out a statement confirming his initiation of the enlistment process just a few days before the release of his collab with J. Cole, “on the street.” It makes sense that J-Hope would be next — after all, he was first to release solo music during BTS’ new chapter in 2022 with his album Jack in the Box, and he even headlined Lollapalooza last summer as a solo artist. Like Jin’s “The Astronaut,” “on the street” served as one last hurrah for J-Hope to share new music with fans and collab with a major artist that inspired him. (I’m sensing a pattern… Perhaps we’ll get a farewell song from every member before they go?) So this official announcement of his departure isn’t exactly surprising — but that doesn’t mean fans’ hearts aren’t breaking.
But what day will J-Hope enlist for real and have his entrance ceremony? Well, that’s a little less clear. “j-hope will fulfill his required time with the military by enlisting in the army,” BigHit’s April 1 statement reads. “Please note that there will be no official event on the day of his entry.”
That’s right; BigHit plans to keep J-Hope’s exact enlistment date under wraps, just as they tried to do for Jin, though unfortunately his entrance ceremony date was leaked by the media. It makes sense; if fans know the date, some might attempt to go to the event in person, disrupting it for J-Hope and the other soldiers. The statement made this pretty explicitly clear, adding, “The entrance ceremony is a time to be observed by military personnel and their families only. To prevent any issues that might occur from crowding, fans are advised to refrain from visiting the site. Instead, we ask you to keep your heartwarming words of support and farewell in your hearts.”
So if you were hoping to have a day to officially say goodbye to J-Hope, that’s probably not going to happen. It’s for the best, anyway — adjusting to a new environment and lifestyle, however brief, must be kind of stressful, and J-Hope deserves to have his privacy protected during that time.
The good news, though, is that it’s probably pretty likely that we’ll still get some J-Hope content from when he leaves and even after. The six other BTS members all went to Jin’s entrance ceremony to see him off, resulting in a sweet video shared with fans that could be recreated for J-Hope’s exit. BTS’ YouTube channel has also been releasing a prerecorded video from Jin to fans every single month since he’s been gone; imagine getting a Jin video and a J-Hope video every month from now on. ARMYs truly are spoiled.
Plus, the beauty of BTS shifting focus to their solo work means that while one member or more is away, there’s always at least one other member holding down the fort. Jimin released his solo album FACE on March 24, and on April 2 (just a day after BigHit’s statement about J-Hope), Suga aka Agust D announced his own solo album, D-Day, with a release date of April 21. Suga’s also embarking on a solo world tour just five days after D-Day drops, so trust me, ARMYs will keep being fed with all kinds of content even after J-Hope leaves.
As for J-Hope himself, he’s been pretty optimistic about the whole enlistment thing. He came to Weverse to share a message with fans after the announcement: “Have a great weekend, and don’t worry too much!!!! I love you, ARMY!” The post was accompanied by an adorable smiling selfie. An enlistment period of 18 months from April 2023 means that we can expect his return sometime around September 2024. That seems so far away, but hey; if J-Hope isn’t worried about it, I won’t be either. Let’s wish him well, and hopefully, the time will fly by.