BTS’ Jin Plans to Hug 1,000 Fans as He Returns from Army

A thousand eager BTS fans will queue in Seoul on Thursday for a chance to embrace Jin, marking his official return to the spotlight after completing 18 months of military service.

This three-hour “hugathon” marks Jin’s first public appearance since his discharge from the army, which occurred just a day prior.

The lucky 1,000 fans who will receive hugs were selected through a raffle, though Jin had initially expressed a desire to embrace up to 3,000 fans.

“I’m so happy now that I will meet Jin,” says one fortunate fan, Ms. Park, who received the news of her selection last weekend. “I didn’t expect to win. I couldn’t believe it, so all weekend I kept checking over and over again,” she adds.

Jin, aged 31 and the oldest member of BTS, was drafted in December 2022 and served as an assistant drill instructor. His return marks the first among the BTS members, with the remaining six expected to complete their service by June 2025.

The band’s reunion on Wednesday to celebrate Jin’s return has already sent fans into a frenzy, with images circulating online.

Jin’s return to the music scene commenced with a livestream, where he expressed gratitude to fans, saying, “Thank you for waiting for me, I love you. I will try to express my feelings tomorrow.”

Following the hugs, Jin will engage in another event, performing songs on request and sharing messages with fans. Despite not winning the hug opportunity, Vanessa May Leuterio, 25, traveled from the Philippines to be part of the occasion.

“Hugging a thousand people for three hours is difficult even if Jin became more fit in the military,” acknowledges Ms. Park, expressing concerns for Jin’s well-being amid the massive event.

However, the event faced criticism for its qualification rules and ticketing process, prompting an apology from HYBE, BTS’ management agency.

Addressing the controversy, Jin assured fans, “This is something that the company and I prepared in good intention, so please understand.”

For fans like Samantha, 20, Jin’s return signifies the resurgence of BTS after a hiatus. “I think that shouldn’t be a problem between ARMYs and BTS,” she comments, emphasizing her enduring love for their music over their popularity.

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