In South Korea, all males aged 18 to 25 are required to serve a minimum of two years in the military because they are technically still at war with North Korea. Though the requirement can be wavered for specific reasons, being a popular K-pop idol does not pass. With that in mind, K-pop fans who identify themselves as members of either E.L.F. (Super Junior fans) or Cassiopeia (TVXQ fans) are keeping an eye on both Siwon and Changmin respectively because their military service has been in the news for some time.
Prior to announcements of conscription, Siwon and Changmin have taken care of career endeavors to tie over their fans until they return in about two years. Choi Si Won (known by his K-pop idol name Siwon) just finished filming She Was Pretty, a K-drama that was extremely popular for the touching story as well as Siwon’s unique performance. He even performed one of the songs for its original soundtrack titled “Only You” (music video attached below).
As for Shim Chang Min (known by his K-pop idol names Changmin, Max, or Max Changmin), he did two final encore concerts followed by the release of TVXQ’s latest album, Rise as God. Changmin even had a solo track in the album titled “Rise as One.”
K-pop fans nevertheless hoped that the aforementioned career endeavors were not the last before Siwon and Changmin deployed for mandatory military duty. That, however, is not the case as it is now known they will begin their service on Thursday, November 19, 2015. Though fans are hoping for a spectacular farewell for the two, it seems both Siwon and Changmin do not want fanfare. Instead, they want to enlist quietly.
According to AllKpop, Siwon and Changmin met with Lee Soo Man, the founding chairman of SM Entertainment, just before their upcoming military enlistment. Siwon shared the photo of their meeting on Instagram, November 14, 2015. That is five days before they start their military duties.
As shown in the picture attached above, Siwon is on Lee Soo Man’s right, while Changmin is on his left. Both K-pop idols are showing both their loyalty and closeness to Soo Man as it is easily visible their arms are interlocked together. Also, Siwon provided the following caption along with said photo showing his devotion too.
“Teacher, always be healthy. I’ll return safely. We always love you.”
Siwon and Changmin enlisting in the military is, as mentioned earlier, a huge deal for their fans. However, SM Entertainment did detail how their enlistment will be handled. Apparently, it will be done quietly on November 19, 2015 with no event. Yet, a few reporters and fans will be present, as reported by KpopStarz.
“Changmin and Siwon will be entering the army on November 19, but will be entering without any special events other than a few reporters and fans sending them off. They both told us that they would like to go in quietly so I hope this causes you no inconveniences and hope it is okay with all of you.”
It should be noted that K-pop idols (or any popular Korean personality or star for that matter) take their military enlistment differently. Some, like Siwon and Changmin, want to enter quietly. Others on the other hand want a huge and spectacular send-off filled with the whole shebang.
Either way, fans mostly respect whatever decision that is made. In the case of Siwon and Changmin, fans have taken to their social media pages, writing statements that express an array of feelings. Some show they are sad. Others are comforting, telling both Siwon and Changmin to cheer up. Finally, some are wishing them to stay safe while they fulfill their duties.