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Here's why military service is compulsory for every man in South Korea

In South Korea, serving in the military is seen as a rite of passage.

South Korean Special Army soldiers perform martial arts during a rehearsal [AFP/South Korean Defence Ministry]

No matter how cool, rich or popular these young men are, they have to go through this. If you have ever wondered why this is so, here is your answer.

Firstly, it is important to understand South Korea is geographically located close to North Korea, a country that poses a constant military threat. Because of this, South Korea has had to adopt a robust defence strategy. This means South Korea has to always be on guard with a sizable and well-trained military force.

Compulsory military service for the men ensures a steady supply of personnel to bolster the nation's defence capabilities and respond swiftly to any security challenges.

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Besides needing the men for the country's defence, South Korea's mandatory military service also plays a significant role in shaping the civic consciousness of its citizens.

Serving in the military is seen as a rite of passage that fosters discipline, teamwork, and a sense of duty towards the nation. The men who go for military service get a feeling of contributing to a strong sense of civic responsibility. Their time serving the country also leaves them with a heightened sense of duty to contribute positively to society.

Over the years, South Korea's mandatory conscription system has been faced with some criticism. Some say this practice places an undue burden on young men, disrupting their educational and career trajectories. Others have an issue with why women are exempt from this mandatory service.

While there may be some people who are not happy with this practice, the compulsory military service in South Korea is still thriving till date and it is serving the purpose of fostering a sense of duty and commitment within the citizens who undertake it.

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