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10 years to the Sewol Ferry Tragedy - How BTS' 'Spring Day' continues to offer solace and honour memories

The disaster saw the government attempt to silence entertainers who spoke out against it, but BTS, known for speaking out against injustice, released this emotional ballad.

Last Updated: 09.00 PM, Apr 16, 2024


One of the most significant instances of government neglect occurred with the sinking of the South Korean ferry MV Sewol on April 16, 2014, resulting in the loss of 304 lives out of the 443 passengers and 33 crew members on board. Among the victims were 250 students from Danwon High School in Ansan, who were on their second-year field trip to Jeju Island.

The incident, which shocked the nation, was attributed to mistakes made by the South Korean president at that time, Park Geun Hye, the government, the captain, and the crew, yet remains largely unresolved. The disaster incited widespread anger, and according to some reports, the government attempted to silence entertainers who spoke out against it. However, the global phenomenon BTS, known for speaking out against injustice, released the emotional ballad 'Spring Day' in 2017.

Now, 10 years later, the nation still harbours resentment towards the government's handling of the situation, particularly given that fishermen and nearby boats rescued most survivors.

What is 'Spring Day'?

The song was released three years after the Sewol ferry tragedy, a disaster marked by an improperly inspected, overloaded, and unbalanced ferry that capsized during an overnight journey. BTS 'Spring Day,' with its nostalgic and longing tone, subtly helped keep the memory of the disaster alive in the minds of young Koreans and the media in the years following the tragedy.

As described by RM, also known as Kim Namjoon, the leader of BTS in one of his live sessions, the song employs the metaphor of Spring Day to express the longing and grief of separation from loved ones akin to the chilly, unyielding winter, with the ultimate meeting symbolizing the feeling of contentment.

Since its release, the song has maintained its presence on the Korean charts, demonstrating how the seven men have provided a source of comfort to South Koreans coping with this loss.


Where is BTS?

All seven members of BTS - Kim Namjoon, Kim Seokjin, Min Yoongi, Jung Hoseok, Park Jimin, Kim Taehyung, and Jeon Jung-kook - are currently fulfilling their mandatory military service obligations. 

Jin and J-Hope serve as drill instructors at military camp bases, while Suga serves as a social service agent following his surgery. RM is completing his service at the 15th Infantry Division, and V has been deployed to the ROK II Corps. 

Meanwhile, Jimin and Jungkook are reportedly serving in the 5th Infantry Division. The group is expected to reunite by June 2025, with Jin and J-Hope set to be relieved of their duties this year.

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