SHINEE’s leader returned to public life on July 20 after serving almost one year and seven months of his mandatory service in South Korea’s military.
Due to COVID-19 precautionary measures, Onew reportedly went on final leave on July 8 prior to his official discharge without returning to his military base.
The K-Pop group announced the news on their social media platforms with a commemorative picture of Onew saluting while wearing his military uniform.
Following his discharge, Onew held a VLive broadcast and posted a voice message and handwritten letter via the group’s official website, expressing his gratitude to fans.
“As much as you’ve waited, I’ll try my best to come back with a better look than now,” Onew said according to Korea JoongAng Daily. “Please wait a bit more and let’s meet soon.”
First to serve
Onew is the first member of SHINee to complete his mandatory military duties. He enlisted in December 2018 after dropping his first mini-album ‘Voice’, which reigned the iTunes charts in the UAE and Saudi Arabia.
While serving in the country’s army, Onew performed in musicals such as ‘Shinheung Military Academy’ and ‘Return: The Promise of That Day’.
Bandmates Key and Minho are currently serving while Taemin is preparing for his highly-anticipated comeback. The youngest member’s enlistment has not officially been announcement as of yet.
On Friday, SM Entertainment’s digital music platform ‘SM Station’ partnered up with the Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra to perform the orchestral version of late SHINee member Jonghyun’s sentimental ballad ‘End of a Day. It charted in the Top 10 of the UAE iTunes songs chart. All proceeds will go to the Shiny Foundation established by his family, SM Entertainment said.
Meanwhile, SHINee’s website has transformed into a countdown page of when the rest of the members will be discharged from their military service.
As for other K-Pop stars, Zico is the latest artist to announce that he will fulfil his alternative military service this month, aiming to enter boot camp on July 30 for four weeks of basic military training before serving as a social worker, his management agency KOZ Entertainment reportedly said last week.
According to the country’s new military service law, all able-bodied South Korean men are required to fulfil their mandatory duties. Those deemed unfit for active-duty service are assigned to serve alternative military ones, much like Zico who reportedly has health issues.