SEOUL – South Korean pop icon Rain will appear before a disciplinary committee after it emerged he may have flouted military service rules while dating a top actress, the defense ministry said Thursday.
Ministry spokesman Kim Min-Seok told reporters that the hearing would be held next week.
“However, he is not expected to land in jail,” Kim said.
Rain is a little over halfway through the two-year military service that is mandatory for all able-bodied South Korean men.
He has been serving as an “entertainment soldier” who appears in military-run TV and radio programmes aimed at boosting morale.
South Korea’s well-oiled celebrity gossip machine went into overdrive this week when it was confirmed that Rain had begun dating Kim Tae-Hee, a major TV drama star with a massive following in Japan.
Fan excitement over the match-up between two of the country’s most high-profile celebrities was tempered by questions over how the couple had managed numerous dates over the past four weeks.
During their military service, South Korean men are largely confined to their barracks and given little free time.
Tabloid pictures of the couple showed Rain, 30, driving a private car in military uniform, contrary to service guidelines, and not wearing his army beret.
As a result, the ministry’s website was bombarded with messages calling for Rain to be disciplined, with thousands of people signing an online petition urging an investigation.
The singer, whose real name is Jung Ji-Hoon, is one of the biggest names in the world of K-pop, which commands a huge following in South Korea, across much of Asia and beyond.