Yoo Ah In Exempt From Military Service After 5th Physical Examination

I can totally see Yoo An In getting lifelong flack for this and ultimately South Korean netizens have very strong opinions about military service and it’s really beyond me to chime in. The 31 year old actor was planning to enlist this year, the tail end of a South Korean male’s enlistment period but one can’t fault a star for delaying enlistment to get as many projects under his belt as possible while his career is hot. After wrapping tvN drama Chicago Typewriter, Yoo Ah In got a final and 5th physical examination to prepare for enlistment after failing the first four in prior months, and this time was no exception. He has been officially exempt from military service due to complications from osteocarcoma in his shoulder area. I can’t say there are other men who enlist suffering from same or worst physical ailments but if the military exempted him then who am I to offer an armchair medical diagnosis.

Serving in the military as a South Korean male is one of those rites of passage that sometimes perception is way more important than fact for the public. If possible serving may be best especially if one has a career that requires public commentary and feedback. I can’t say Yoo Ah In won’t be fine in the long term but this exemption will certainly be on his CV for the rest of his life as an asterisk.


Yoo Ah In Exempt From Military Service After 5th Physical Examination — 32 Comments

  1. Is there an alternative possible for him like desk duty without undergoing the rigors of the one month active training? Something like what JIW and LMH are doing? Otherwise both he and SIG are going to catch serious flak for this even when they have been legitimately excused by the army.

    • @Adal, I’m with you. I don’t understand why he can’t do volunteer service like Jung Il – Woo? Jung Il – Woo enlisted with a cerebral aneurysm and is serving by doing community service. If a Korean male receives a medical discharge, can he determine on his own whether he serves in a different capacity or not at all? How common are medical discharges for non-celebrities? (I’m not insinuating anything just asking)

      • All the final decisions should be made by Military Man Power Administration. As you can see, Yoo Ah In has been trying to get in the MS five times, but MMA kept rejecting him and finally closed the door for him, not even gave him a chance for social service.

  2. It’s a troubling situation when it comes to the Military in SK. Hundreds of innocent men are tossed into prison for years simply because their of their religious standing regarding going to war, the army, carrying weapons, etc. It’s called Conscientious Objection. And the authorities trying these cases are sometimes brought to tears knowing they have to throw those young men in with hardened criminals. The SK Government have yet to offer civil service options even though public opinion has shifted into wanting alternative service.

    “In his editorial, “Dilemma Surrounding Conscientious Objection to Military Service,” Han In-seop, a professor at the Seoul National University, School of Law, stated: “There is hardly a judge that would categorize these objectors with committing an ethical or social offense. A detention order is not even issued to conscientious objectors as there is no worry that they will flee. With each guilty verdict that is decided, the judges are left feeling uneasy and apologetic.”

    I don’t think that’s ever happened to a celeb, even the ones who dodged it without a medical excuse or exemption.

    • There is a pragmatic reason why South Korea cannot take a relaxed stance on people who do not want to serve the military in its full capacity, or refuse to carry arms. They have a real threat and ticking time bomb next to them in the form of North Korea.

      Allowing people to opt out due to religious or social reasons will open Pandora’s box and give the impression that they condone people not serving the military. Can they afford to take such a stance? South Korea doesnt have a population big enough like eg the USA to have purely voluntary conscription. (Also, USA doesn’t have North Korea sitting on their border shooting off missiles every few months.)

      And it’s crystal clear that military service is compulsory in South Korea. These “innocent men” as you call them, certainly know this. Thus by refusing, they are breaking the law. (You can argue against the law but that’s not the point here, it still exists, for reasons including those I mentioned above- namely North Korea)
      And if laws are broken, there must be repercussions. So I disagree with you calling them “innocent”.

      Most people don’t like violence or want to shoot and kill people anyway. Who wouldn’t prefer a desk job? But people make the sacrifice to serve the military because of a greater good which is to protect the nation and keep peace. South Korea especially has to uphold this ideal.
      Just my 2 cents on the issue, because I felt you were painting a very biased point of view.

      • No I wasn’t being biased. I was giving an alternative point of view, one that’s rarely considered, since so many people support the army. I understand that and the reasons why. When I say Innocent, i meant they have not committed some heinous crime that they deserve to be left rotting in jail for years. More years than than they would serve in the Military.

    • This was actually quite an interesting discussion. I absolutely believe there should be an out for objectors, but I also realize that it could be abused and stir resentment. This is an area that I think compromise can come into play…either 1. For those that are fine with the military but won’t fight (think Hacksaw Ridge), then put them in an area they can serve (peeling potatoes isn’t fun but someone has got to feed all those guys) but because this could also be abused, they have to serve 3 years instead of two. 2. If opposed to military service in any way/shape/form, serve a stint (again probably longer) in some type local organization that serves the community and you would be sent somewhere so wouldn’t get to stay in own backyard. These organizations would have to be vetted by the government to stop abuses but I’m sure there are plenty such as literacy organizations/Habitat for Humanity type organization etc.

      It isn’t perfect but if this is a true moral or religious belief, it sure beats sitting in jail.

  3. If he failed five physicals, how could any reasonable person hold this against him? I wish him well. I think he’s quite the talented actor.

  4. He’ll still not work for two years…. that’s what they do in case of exemption to avoid backlash. I understand the stigma against celebrities in this case. Most regular​ people don’t get the luxury they have of going when they want or what service they want. Some celebrities have even tried to avoid by cheating yet received a light slap on the shoulder. So, it feels unfair to the regular people. I won’t get into the debate of right and wrong. I am an outsider and law is law.

  5. Osteosarcoma is a bone cancer. The last time I checked, his agency said he suffered from benign bone tumor. Has the tumor become benign/cancerous? That’s so sad.

      • Korean articles made the mistake of writing “osteosarcoma” as “bone cancer”. But his agency has said many times that his bone tumor is benign. Doesn’t mean that it doesn’t cause so much pain though.

  6. For what it’s worth, my cousin has been fighting osteocarcoma for the past three years. The cancer originated in her kneecap, which has now been shaved down to the thinnest sliver of bone, and she will wear a leg brace for the rest of her life. If Yoo Ah In had something similar happen with his shoulder, it’s unlikely that he would be well-suited for ANY basic training, even the minimal amount required for a desk job.

      • said negative people. Geez, just GTH. Saying “he should retire” or “he should quit whatever he does” because someone is fighting bone cancer/tumor is a discrimination to the ALL the cancer/tumor patients. I have aunt and friend who are fighting the cancer and they still have the huge spirit of life. They do their activities like normal people do while doing treatment, they do what they love with passion because that what makes them ALIVE.

  7. Man he is doomed.It doesnt help that he is one of the most vocal celebrities on patriotism, politics and stuff.But its not his fault that things turned out this way.But the netizens are already swallowing him alive.He most definitely wont be getting the same treatment as Yoo Seung Ho, Hyun Bin, YunHo and Song Joong Ki who served in active duty.

    But again he could be lucky because he is extremely talented.His situation could turn out like MC Mong(just look up his name and military) who still has number one music hits and is still doing fine.Or like Choi Jin Hyuk who bounced back just fine after two year hiatus.

    But still YAI’s case is sad because you can tell he really wanted to go and serve.Guy even shaved his hair.He didnt run away or do tricks to avoid the army.

    • He’ll be fine. He has talent and it’s not his fault that he got sick. I hope he recovers and gets kind of role which can earn him public favour or he does something which can make his country proud. The actors who actually tried to avoid military like Song Seung Heon and Jang Hyuk made successful comeback then why can’t he.

    • We have to be reminded again that the online backlash doesn’t reflect the nation’s sentiment. He’ll be okay as long as he’s back with a very good project.

  8. It would be really unfair if his and SIG career suffered because of this. But they still will have to lay low for the next two years, which doesn’t even make sense, to avoid more wrath from the netizens. Which itself is ridiculous.

    • Im ju hwan had a heart ailment and had to be treated during ms. He was exempt because of his medical condition but he decided to serve after his treatment. Yai and sig should still serve at least do a desk job like lmh and jiw

      • People can say whatever they say, whine whatever they whine, but the fact is that Military Man Power Administration has already made up their mind and decision to exempt them both, what can you do? Stop whining, or go mad at MMA and Korean military constitution then.

  9. i heard many people in sk still must have joined to military service with so many healthy problems,and the other side there so many celebrities fake they healthy body with so many reasons.
    And yoo an in alone,he just reveals his healthy problems to public,when he supposed to be join with military service long time ago. so no wonder still there people have no sympathy to him.
    but yeah, that must be hurt so bad.

  10. Not sure what else the public wants him to have in order to have a ‘worse ailment’ than bloody cancer to be exempt from military service without being attacked.

    If you reckon that complications from cancer isn’t an excuse for exemption, I would suggest you get off behind the keyboard or screen how ever you like to be called, keyboard warriors or whatever, go into a hospital’s oncology department and take a look at those who are suffering from this seemingly not so serious thing called cancer. Or, speak to medically trained and not google trained health care staff members (no, your 3 hour google is not enough, or your 7 month of google) if they think cancer should or should not be a reason to go into the military.

    As a person who unfortunately has a degree in the medical field and has worked in it for 7 years, I reckon that if you have had this bloody thing called cancer, even if you are in remission, they should be exempt from military service. They have battled enough for their life to warrant an exemption.

    – end rant-

  11. Hell…he’s getting backlash for this when it’s the military that exempted him. Compared to SIG, i didn’t recall seeing any negative comments on his exemption.

    • There was some backlash too when Kim Woo Bin’s Illness was announced.He is also at the age for enlisting.They said he is creating illness to avoid service.But seriously why the hell would you fake cancer.Is cancer something to joke about just in exchange for less than two years of army service.Like seriously I know some of these celebrities have done ridiculous things to escape army duty but they are directing their anger at the wrong people.

      • Wow, that is truly horrible. KWB is 27ish so while at an age to enlist, he’s younger than most that go in and hasn’t been called yet so I just don’t understand hating on a guy when he gets a cancer diagnosis. They could at least wait and see what happens when he gets his enlistment papers.

    • I think YAI got more backlash than the others because he’s very vocal and speaks his mind and talks a lot about politics & social issues in his SNS, which is very rare to find among celebrities in Korea. So, people put higher expectation on him as an upright citizen who holds high principles. Poor guy it’s not his fault to get exempted due to illness.

    • I don’t know, my Korean isn’t that good, but from what I saw the netizen comments about SIG’s exemption were very negative. They both had multiple exams and wanted to serve, so I hope they can lay low for two years and come back okay.

  12. That Xray doesn’t look good. Koreans need to realize the impact an injury has on someone. If he failed the physicals by physicians it means he won’t be able to serve. Simple as that. Why blow up the situation. Its not like was was trying to work his way out of it. A person who has tried 5 times to pass a physical exam is a person who wants to go and not give up. I”m sure he’s not happy either but its bullshit for getting grilled for not being able to go because you can’t. The military is a touchy subject in korean society but i think anything to do with health is more important for anyone.

  13. There was an article not long ago about a Korean politician wanting to do away with mandatory military service because it was inherently inefficient. I believe this is probably true re: the inefficiency. By the time you get these guys trained, they are getting ready to get out. I think a professional volunteer service is the long term answer, but they are gonna have to pony up some $$ because these guys get almost no salary at all. In the meantime, it is what it is.

  14. Please leave Yoo Ah-In alone. Whether his illness is true or fake, whether he’s sincere or not about serving his country, we as outsiders and his fans must continue to love, trust and support him. Each of us has a life called ours, we have choices we made that only we know at that moment to be right… that’s our right…leave YAI alone…and for those who enjoy his various works like I do, cheer for him. Yoo Ah-In, hwaiting!

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