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I'm afraid you can't. JIRA hides empty fields on the issue view to avoid (even more) clutter on screen.
To change it, you have to hack JIRA's core code.
you are right. Its hardcoded and you are not able to change this by some strange setting. But you should checkout IssueLayout https://marketplace.atlassian.com/apps/1221618/issuelayout?hosting=server&tab=overview
You can add a alternative Details panel, which allows you to configure to display empty custom fields. Also you can remove status, resultion etc. And it displays all fields such as User Picker.