South Korea has entered a period of mourning for the victims of Saturday’s mass gathering in Seoul’s Itaewon district.
On the night of October 29, over 100,000 partygoers reportedly gathered in the popular nightlife district of Itaewon to take part in the district’s annual Halloween celebrations. Corresponding Yonhap News AgencyA wave occurred in a narrow alley later that night, leaving many in the crowd unable to move or breathe, known as a crowd.
As of October 31, the incident has killed 154 people and injured 149 others, per Reuters. Many of the victims were young people in their 20s. At least two dozen victims were foreign nationals, as Itaewon is a popular nightlife spot among foreigners and tourists in Seoul.
South Korean actor and former Produce 101 Contestant Lee Ji-han was among those who died in the crowd, his agencies 935 Entertainment and 9ato Entertainment confirmed on October 30. Lee was 24 years old.
The South Korean government has declared a period of national mourning until midnight on November 5, as announced by Prime Minister Han Duck-soo on October 30 per The Korea Herald. During the national period of mourning, all non-essential public events have been canceled or postponed. The country’s entertainment industry has therefore canceled events and planned publications out of respect for the deceased.
Several South Korean artists and celebrities have also taken to social media to offer their condolences to the families and loved ones of those affected by the tragic incident. “We pray for the well-being of the deceased and extend our condolences to the bereaved and friends who have lost loved ones.” tweeted Boy band ENHYPEN.
Meanwhile, ‘Gangnam Style’ singer and CEO of P Nation, Psy shared a message on Instagram, writing: “Our thoughts and prayers are with everyone affected by the tragic accident in Itaewon.”
Tottenham Hotspur footballer Son Heung-min shared his grief on Instagram after playing a Premier League game that took place as the tragedy was unfolding in Itaewon. “I am heartbroken to read this message… I want you all to know that I am thinking of you and sending all my strength from here,” he wrote.
K-pop groups ATEEZ and Dreamcatcher, who performed concerts on October 30, also paid their respects during their shows with a minute’s silence accompanied by expressions of condolences. The latter group also dropped the word “Halloween” from the name of their concert, per Yonhap News Agency. Fans who attended the ATEEZ concert also reported that the The members wore black ribbons in memory of the victims during their show.
As South Korea mourns the tragedy, the music industry has canceled and postponed several upcoming events and releases. The Busan One Asia Festival and SM Entertainment’s annual Halloween party, both originally scheduled for October 30, have been cancelled. Lotte World theme park has also canceled its upcoming Halloween celebrations.
Girl group TWICE announced today (October 31) that their seventh anniversary Halloween fan reunion scheduled for November 5 has been cancelled. “We seriously considered changing the concept, but due to time constraints and various aspects, we decided to officially cancel the event,” wrote JYP Entertainment, noting that “both artists and executives are deeply saddened by the tragic accident “.
Several K-pop acts including APINK’s Eunji, Chen from EXO and DROPS have postponed their releases originally scheduled for this week. New release dates will be announced by the respective agencies at a later date. Artist BI and Xdinary heroes have also temporarily suspended the introduction of promotions for their upcoming releases.