There are a lot of keywords that come to mind when ARMYs think of BTS, and one of them is the color purple.
Of course, the color purple has become synonymous with BTS after V coined the phrase “Borahae” or “I Purple You.” Back in 2022, an island called Banwol-do became a hot topic for basically being the true epitome of purple.
Although it was earlier in the month, many news outlets are still promoting BTS’s tenth anniversary, and Korean news outlet MBC News shared an article they’d written about the special island and how the elders on the island wanted to celebrate the special occasion.
섬마을 어르신들은 BTS 데뷔 10주년을 축하하며 올해는 BTS가 퍼플섬을 꼭 방문해주기를 바라고 있습니다. https://t.co/DLRsqri7nk
— MBC News (MBC뉴스) (@mbcnews) June 18, 2023
Amidst the article, ARMYs have turned to social media to reveal the island’s dark past to dissuade fans from visiting for the purposes of tourism and BTS. According to fans, the island should not be promoted alongside BTS due to the dark history regarding slavery, and ARMYs weren’t afraid to warn other fans.
There’s an island village in SK where the entire neighborhood is decorated in purple. Houses, fences, gardens, etc. They’ve been wanting our boys and the fandom to visit them just because they are painted purple, but this is where the salt farm slavery happened.+ https://t.co/WteOzqfrso
— Eternal Euphoria (@KKMJPKJBTSOT7) June 21, 2023
This has nothing to do with BTS at all. This island has a dark history that is involved with Salt Farm Slavery. Every few years, people promote this place as something related to bangtan and army, just cause it has some purple. They make these kind of visiting sites to lure ARMY. https://t.co/hjLrVfDVWn pic.twitter.com/XH3HnFzd8Q
— Jeb⁷ #TakeTwo 아포방포🫂💜 (@jebhyyh) June 21, 2023
According to various sources, Banwol is known as part of the Sinan Islands in Korea. While the locations are known for their aesthetics, commonly seen in K-Dramas and online, it has also gained attention for their dark past with slavery.
Kim Seong Baek shared that he was offered somewhere to stay, along with food and a good job when he was homeless, but found himself at a salt farm. He explained that he was repeatedly punished by the farm owner, who would punch and beat him with a wooden plank.
Each time I tried to ask him something, his punch came first. He told me to use my mouth only for eating and smoking. He said I shouldn’t question things and should be thankful because he fed me and gave me lodging and work.
— Kim Seong Baek in an interview with The Alternative Press (also known as AP).
Yet, it’s not the first time the dark past of the island has been raised amongst netizens. An article posted and continuously updated since the rise of popularity shared the darker part of the island’s history that many people were unaware of.
Even on Reddit, in a post promoting the island as being a “Photographer’s dream,” a comment from a Korean netizen shared the dark past and the links to slavery.
by u/causingabreak from discussion South Korea’s all-purple Banwol Island is a photographer’s dream
While it is a story that appears and brings back the dark past of the unknown, ARMYs shared their anger that such a huge Korean news outlet was promoting the island. It has no official links to BTS except the fact it invited BTS and ARMYs after their “Borahaefication.”
You can read more about the island’s dark history below.