K-pop superstar Jin from popular band BTS earned the ire of several Japanese internet users for including the phrase “East Sea” in the lyrics of his new song, “Super Tuna.”
The catchy song, written by the singer himself and uploaded on BTS’ official YouTube channel on December 4 as part of his 29th birthday celebration, became an instant hit online. It currently has 27,308,367 views as of this writing.
Some Japanese netizens took offense at the line, “Where did my fish go? East Sea or West Sea?” South Korea and Japan had been disputing the international name for the particular body of water at the border of Japan and North and South Korea. The Koreans call it the East Sea, while the Japanese call the area the “Sea of Japan.”
The Japanese internet users expressed their disappointments on Twitter. One of them claimed that Jin should have used the Sea of Japan instead East Sea since it was the internationally used term.
Another user also blamed BTS’ agency Hybe for allowing him to use the term in his song’s lyrics. They even called for protests against the company to change the lyrics.
Meanwhile, Korean netizens defended Jin, saying that it should not be an issue since he is from South Korea where the East Sea is widely used. Others claimed that the idol used the term because it rhymes perfectly with “West Sea.”
Because of the controversy, activist and professor Seo Kyung-duk expressed his opinion on why the Japanese did not like Jin’s lyrics. “(This behavior) shows that Japanese netizens are afraid of BTS’ global impact and the increasing number of ‘East Sea’ flags than in the past,” the Sungshin Women’s University professor posted on his social media account.
Hybe remains mum about the issue and has yet to release any statement.