South Korea's implementation of mandatory military service has been a topic of interest for many outsiders. The conscription states that all male citizens between the ages of 18 to 30 are required to render 20 months of enlisting in the military. For fans of Hallyu culture, this means bidding a temporary goodbye to their favorite acts for roughly two years.
Though, due to a varying set of reasons, some exemptions have been made. Ahead, we list down nine notable actors who weren't obliged to serve.
9 Korean Actors Who Were Exempted from Mandatory Military Service
1. Ahn Hyo Seop
In case you didn't know, Business Proposal actor Ahn Hyo Seop was actually raised in Toronto, Canada until he was 17 years old (He even adopted an English name, which was Paul Ahn). Due to his Canadian citizenship, he was excluded from serving in Korea.
2. Seo In Guk
Medical conditions are one of the more well-known grounds for exemption. One popular example is Death's Game star Seo In Guk, who suffers from osteochondral lesions. He initially enlisted in 2017, but was put up for re-examination and eventually, was discharged early.
3. Kim Woo Bin
Kim Woo Bin, known for dramas like The Heirs, Uncontrollably Fond, Our Blues, and Black Knight, was diagnosed with nasopharyngeal cancer in May 2017. This exempted the then-28 year old from military service. Fortunately, he has since fully recovered from the cancer and has made his on-screen comeback.
4. Yoo Ah In
After multiple medical examinations, Hellbound actor Yoo Ah In was granted exemption from military service. While he's expressed his desire to become an active soldier, his past injuries and bone tumor hinder him from undergoing training.
5. Park Hae Jin
You might have seen Park Hae Jin in titles such as Cheese In the Trap or The Killing Vote. He was exempted from conscription due to his struggles with mental health and social phobia.
6. Jung Woo Sung
Another reason why citizens are absolved of their obligation to serve is because of a lack in educational attainment. Such was the case with Tell Me That You Love Me leading man Jung Woo Sung, who didn't get the chance to finish high school due to financial troubles.
7. Jo Jung Suk
A familiar face from Hospital Playlist, Jo Jung Suk was exempted due to the fact that he needed to take charge of his family's livelihood after the abrupt passing of his father.
8. Jang Dong Gun
Arthdal Chronicles actor Jang Dong Gun had a difficult time accomplishing his studies because of pneumothorax, also known as a collapsed lung. Thus, he was granted exemption from serving in the military.
9. Eun Ji Won
Since his degree from the Korea Kent Foreign School in Hawaii wasn't recognized locally, Eun Ji Won was exempted from serving. In case you didn't know, he's considered one of the pioneers of Korean hip-hop, and has also played a supporting role in Reply 1997.