Monsta X’s Shownu enlists in the military; tells fans ‘I’ll be back’

Published July 22, 2021, 2:42 PM

by Jonathan Hicap

Monsta X’s Shownu (Twitter, Monsta X’s fan cafe)

K-pop boy band Monsta X’s leader Shownu, 29, enlisted in the military on July 22 to fulfill his duty as a Korean citizen.

Shownu entered the Korea Army Training Center in Nonsan at about 2 p.m. sporting short hair and wearing a face mask due to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) situation in South Korea.

He will undergo three weeks of basic military training before beginning his duty as a social service worker. According to his agency, Starship Entertainment, Shownu was diagnosed with retinal detachment in his left eye in July 2020 and was adjudged to be ineligible for active duty service due to surgery.

On Monsta X’s fan cafe on July 21, Shownu posted a selfie with his shirt off and a photo of rubber shoes with the message “I’ll be back.”. The rubber shoes represent a metaphor in Korea about a person who is waiting for a lover who went to the military. This means that Shownu is asking fans to wait for him.

Shownu’s enlistment came amid the increasing number of COVID-19 cases in South Korea. The Korea Army Training Center said it has 115 confirmed cases as of July 19.

Retinal detachment, according to the US National Eye Institute, “is an eye problem that happens when your retina (a light-sensitive layer of tissue in the back of your eye) is pulled away from its normal position at the back of your eye.”

It is one of the 411 medical and physical conditions and diseases used by Korea’s Military Manpower Administration in evaluating conscripts.

Shownu took a break from his activities last May after suffering complications from his eye surgery. His agency said, “Shownu felt discomfort in the eye due to excessive exposure to strong lighting while preparing for Monstax X’s upcoming album. He immediately visited the hospital for an examination and received appropriate medical treatment.”

He earlier posted a letter on the group’s fan café and announced that “I’m taking a short hiatus starting on July 22 to fulfill my duty for national defense. It seems like it’s only been yesterday since I debuted, but the time has come to go to the military.”