Couplegate: ‘Brainless Couple’ Makes Appearance on Busan Subway

Couplegate train sleeping

There must be something in the water in Busan. Hot on the heels of horny bus couple’s amorous antics, the Busan public transport network has already spawned another “Couplegate” (in keeping with koreaBANG’s following of the “Ladygate” trend), after a netizen posted a photograph of a woman laying across several train seats with her head in a man’s lap. But don’t get ahead of yourselves: it’s not quite what it seems.

The emergence of a photograph showing the couple reclining on the seats in a subway carriage, as though they were at home and not, in fact, on a train, has roused much debate amongst Korean netizens. Furthermore, the couple were hardly love-sick teenagers; most netizens are estimating that the pair are long-time lovers in their mid-forties or early fifties. Perhaps they were looking for a way of spicing things up. After all, falling asleep on a train with your feet up on the seat is pretty risque.

According to a Kuki News article reposted on Nate, the story broke on May 19, when a netizen commented “I saw this brainless couple on the subway” along with a picture, on a portal site internet board:

When I rode the subway on the morning of the 18th, at Hadan station in Busan, there was a couple who I guess must have been in their early forties, sitting across from me. But the woman suddenly removed her shoes, curled up with her head on her husband’s lap, and began to sleep.

The unnamed netizen continued:

As more and more seats were occupied, everyone was staring at them but the couple didn’t care […] A group of about five foreigners got on the train, and as soon as they saw the scene they started laughing and pointing. The Koreans were so embarrassed.

The woman stayed in that position for some time, much to the chagrin of fellow passengers who tried to sit down, though she was eventually woken up by the man. The netizen who originally uploaded the photograph expressed shock at seeing the couple, despite the fact that they were not doing anything particularly racy:

You usually see things like ‘Subway xx girl’ come up in the real-time search rankings on portal sites, but I had no idea that I’d directly witness this kind of scene.

And the impact of the man and his reclining muse did not end there. A Segye Ilbo headline followed netizens in referring to the couple as “an embarrassment to Korea,” and indeed most netizens have been critical of the couple’s purportedly public display of affection. Some netizen reactions cited in the article were:

Shame of the nation

Seems like the subway is increasingly turning into a space for weirdos

They really acted brainlessly in the subway where there are lots of people.

Netizen comments range from those who are outraged at the decline of public morality to those who really don’t see what the fuss is about. Seeing as May 21 is ‘Married Couples’ Day’ in South Korea, maybe they should go easy on the pair.

From Nate:


That’s another one of those where they say ‘human rights’ and blur out their faces, isn’t it… tut tut Next time, let’s not hide their faces to make them know some shame.


Wretched beggar couple.


Are they senile?


Please don’t take secret photographs — say something there and then! Total losers.


These bold people are going to do their damnedest to make another witch-hunt. On the weekend when you have no appointments, you’re about to do some typing but you have a weak moment, right? My aunt really suffers with her hips and if she has to sit down for a long time it’s difficult for her. She will leave hospital soon, but she’s still not really right, and now she’s having a difficult time because of the rehabilitation treatment. Is it such a crime that my aunt’s husband might say to my aunt that the poor thing should lie down for a bit just because there are no people on the subway? Foreigners were laughing, so you’re embarrassed? You who put the photo up and then wrote those bad things are more shameful. And you who look at the comments which are imagined by a single person and from a single photograph, and who kill a person with your keyboard when you’re eating dinner in the middle of the night inside your house, you are also shameful. Please don’t live like that, seriously.


They’re not a couple…aren’t they mother and son?


No, while you take a photo like that and snigger, I guess you have to put it up on a portal site, right~Wonder what would happen if you make an article directly out of whatever you’re thinking..? Is it a special feature of Koreans that they talk about you behind your back? Although they can’t exert any influence to your face, they go behind your back, upload articles on portal sites, slyly, and though I’d never do it myself, there are certain people who do, it seems. Having said that, if you look at them raising hell, it’s not particularly pleasant to see.


Some are saying that we should find out who they are on the internet, seems like bullshit to me. Look at the bitch’s body. Is that thing a man or a woman ㅡㅡ ???????????????????????????


Honestly, I wonder why there are so many people in this country who are attention-seekers?


Anyway, women are the problem everywhere. They say that when the hen cries the household is ruined, and seems like at some point Korea will be ruined because of women. Must be why our ancestors used to say that women and pollacks should be beaten every three days.. I can’t help but express respect for this lofty wisdom and insight.


Please act your age.


There is that woman for that man, right?


Isn’t that a mother and son? The woman looks like she’s in her fifties…


ㅡ,ㅡ;;;; Goodness me….I’m at such a loss for words.. No matter how ill-educated you are, would you do that???


Sure they’re Koreans?


What are they doing at their age?


I mean…it’s true that those people are brainless, but it’s not something that should be publicly criticised, is it…it’s not like it’s the people’s court…I really think it would be best to stop doing this…


What the hell is real, what should we netizens believe? When you write these things, Mr. Journalist, could you please confirm the original source? I mean, if it’s not something that the journalist is writing themselves. We don’t know whether netizens said these things or not, we don’t even know whether the original said that or not, do we? When I look at the article comments below, I’m extremely confused.


What the hell…those people…they have brains, don’t they…Whether you’re in your forties or in your teens, you don’t do that kind of thing…Those we call elders are like this so…because of several people like that, the fact is that our country is being recognised by foreigners as a strange country…do those people realise that?


If you want to do that kind of thing, go to a neighbourhood motel, what kind of national embarrassment is this, it’s a topic of discussion overseas…seriously.


Fuck, look at their sagging bellies….Move a bit, you’re like pigs.

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