Enlistment is something every kpop fan dreads, when the time comes, Kpop fans must say goodbye to their favorite idols for a period of no less than 1 year and 6 months [as of this writing].
Military service is mandatory in South Korea, meaning all able Korean men must serve their country, this law extends to Kpop idols as well. Every able Korean man must serve their country before they become 28 years old [international age].
EXO is a kpop group on the bigger side as they have nine members, eight of which must serve, and this sadly means a lengthier hiatus as each member will likely serve when their time comes.
Today, we’re taking a look at the full EXO members’ military enlistment date. The below article includes the members’ enlistment and discharge dates.
Note: this article will be periodically updated as EXO members enlist or get discharged. So please bookmark it.
EXO members currently serving in the military: Kai
EXO members who haven’t enlisted in the military yet: Sehun
Xiumin is the oldest member of his group and was the first to enlist in the military and the first to be discharged.
Xiumin enlistment date: May 7, 2019
Xiumin discharge date: December 6, 2020
Due to COVID-19 restrictions, Xiumin official discharge date was December 6, however, he was on his final military leave in November 2020.
Suho is the leader of his group and one of the members who served as a public service worker. Suho was the third member of EXO to enter the military after Xiumin and D.O.
Suho enlistment date: May 14, 2020
Suho discharge date: February 13, 2022
Lay is the only Chinese member of EXO and thus, he won’t be serving in the Korean military.
Baekhyun is the most recent EXO member to announce his military enlistment. He enlisted on his birthday and will also serve as a public service worker due to hypothyroidism.
Baekhyun enlistment date: May 6, 2021
Baekhyun discharge date: February 5, 2023
Chen is among the members who have recently been discharged from the military. Chen has enlisted as an active duty soldier.
Chen’s enlistment date: October 26, 2020
Chen’s discharge date: April 25, 2022
Chanyeol is among the 92-liners of EXO who have had to enlist in 2021, he’s currently serving as an active duty soldier.
Chanyeol enlistment date: March 29, 2021
Chanyeol discharge date: September 28, 2022
D.O’s enlistment came as a huge shock to the fandom because he was among the members who still had time but he chose to enlist earlier than expected.
He enlisted as an active duty soldier and served at the Capital Mechanized Infantry Division (Fierce Tiger Division) as a food handler (kitchen police). He’s among the EXO members who have completed their military service.
D.O enlistment date: July 1, 2019
D.O discharge date: January 25, 2021
Kai was born in 1994 and according to military laws, SM announced his enlistment in early May.
EXO Kai enlistment date: May 11, 2023
EXO Kai discharge date: February 10, 2025
Sehun [to enlist]
Sehun is the youngest member of his group, he was also born in 1994. Sehun enlistment date is yet to come and he still has time before the deadline, he has yet to announce it.
Sehun enlistment date: to be revealed
Sehun discharge date: to be revealed
FAQ about EXO Military enlistment
Currently, no one is still in the military, Baekhyun was recently discharged. The rest are also either discharged or yet to serve.
There are only two members left of EXO who have not enlisted in the military yet: Kai and Sehun
Yes, he has enlisted on May 11, 2023.
There is no discharge date yet because Sehun has not enlisted in the military yet, when he enlists, it will be clear when he’s set to be discharged
While the date is not quite known yet, the next EXO member to enlist in the military should do it within 2023 as per military requirements and considering their age.
Sehun will be the last EXO member to enlist in the military, he’s the youngest member of the group and born in 1994.
Most groups popularity take a dive with their military enlistment, however, EXO was able to avoid that having released music in-between members serving in the military and managed to sell a lot of copies. “Don’t Fight the Feeling” was released in 2021 and was a commercial success, selling over 1 million copies in South Korea
Yes, the group has been able to maintain their success selling million of copies of their albums in between album releases while members served in the military.
We can’t call them benefits per say because hiatuses in the kpop industry can be a career killer for acts without a big fanbase. Luckily, EXO has a dedicated fanbase. The members must serve as per their country’s law, whether that’s a benefit or not depends on personal beliefs and opinions regarding conscription.
The EXO members continue to interact with fans in military service albeit occasionally. They might post to their fan community site or post photos to their SNS every once and a while assuring fans they’re doing well. Fans also get to see their idols via official updates from their military base that releases photos on occasions too.
Due to Kai’s sudden enlistment, EXO’s comeback plans are presumably pushed back. However, SM has not issued a statement on when EXO will be coming back with new music. They were originally scheduled to return with new music in 2023 after all the members reunited after military discharge.
While this is unknown, EXO enjoys great popularity in Korea and overseas, so its safe to say they will be fine. The members [individual/duo/group] releases in-between military service have been a smashing success, their albums sold millions of copies and performed well digitally in South Korea and overseas. But to what degree will their success be affected after every single member wraps up military service is unknown yet, since we have not seen that day, yet.