Japanese TV cancels BTS over band members A-bomb shirt

Japanese TV cancels BTS over band member\s A-bomb shirt
TV Asahi cancels performance of K-pop group BTS over members Hiroshima A-bombing T-shirt
Tokyo (CNN)One of Japans biggest television stations has canceled a performance of the massively popular K-pop group BTS amid allegations that one of the band members wore a shirt that appears to show the atomic bombing of Nagaski.

TV Asahi Corp. said Thursday it had canceled a live performance by K-pop group BTS amid a furor over a member having worn a controversial T-shirt, said by some to celebrate the use of atomic weapons against Japan during WWII.

The incident tapped into the deep well of resentment that still roils relations between the two countries, more than seven decades after Imperial Japans defeat in World War II liberated the Korean Peninsula from Japanese colonial rule (it was subsequently divided into North and South Korea). Aug. 15 is still commemorated annually by both North and South Korea as Victory Over Japan Day.

The controversy erupted over photos of BTS member Jimin wearing the T-shirt, which commemorates the day the Korean Peninsula was liberated from Japanese colonial rule in 1945. But the design, which has drawn flak from many Japanese, also includes a photo of an atomic bomb exploding over Japan.

The article of clothing in question was said to have been worn by Jimin, 23, one of the bands seven members, in a 2017 episode of the groups reality television show, BTS: Bon Voyage. The T-shirt shows the mushroom cloud over Nagasaki just moments after the United States dropped an atomic bomb on the Japanese city on Aug. 9, 1945, instantly killing more than 70,000 civilians.

@BTS_twt This is an atomic bomb t shirt dropped in Japan. It is a group that also works in Japan, so please have a little more consciousness. I am sorry just because I like Jimin and I am supporting bts. pic.twitter.com/xRm4tADLBs

Known for creating the popular Japanese girl band AKB48, Mr. Akimoto had angered Korean fans in the past by featuring the rising sun flag — seen by many as a painful symbol of Japanese imperialism — in some of AKB48s costumes. As a result of the backlash, BTS removed the single, titled Bird, from its latest Japanese album, which was released on Wednesday.

Tokyo-based TV Asahi said it decided to call off BTS’s Friday night performance on its “Music Station” program, and has asked the band’s agency to explain the member’s intention in wearing the shirt. The broadcaster’s statement also apologized to viewers over the cancellation. Company spokesman Shinya Matsuki declined further comment.

The T-shirt incident was a small but embarrassing setback for BTS, which has seen overwhelming success in recent years with its ever-changing rotation of hair colors and musical influences. This year, the band was not only the first K-pop band to reach the top spot on the Billboard Artist 100 Chart, it did so twice in the span of a few months.

For its part, BTS apologized in a statement to its Japanese fans for not being able to make the appearance, without elaborating.

But back home, relations between their native country and Japan have been something of a political minefield. In September, Korean fans lashed out at the bands management agency, Big Hit Entertainment, after reports emerged about BTSs plans to release a Japanese-language single written by the prominent Japanese producer Yasushi Akimoto.

Universal Music said it will continue to support BTS and confirmed that their appearance scheduled for Friday was canceled.

In August, BTS broke Taylor Swifts record for biggest YouTube video debut, racking up 45 million views for their video Idol in just 24 hours. In October, they finished off the North American leg of their Love Yourself world tour with a sold-out performance to a crowd of about 40,000 at Citi Field in New York City.

The A-bomb T-shirt was one of the top trending topics on Twitter Friday morning. ‘Music Station’ is one of Japan’s most prominent music programs, and one of TV Asahi’s main shows.

Despite the outcry in Japan, the groups many die-hard fans, who are known as the Army, seemed undeterred. On Friday, the bands newly released single Fake Love/Airplane Pt. 2 remained at the top of the Japanese music singles chart, according to Oricon, a Japanese music statistics website.

Some Japanese fans of the band expressed disgust on Twitter that their show was canceled over a T-shirt, while other users of the social network described the group as making light of the atomic bombings.

The incident comes as ties between Tokyo and Seoul are once again strained over historical issues. The latest controversy follows a recent decision handed down by South Korea’s Supreme Court that said Japanese firms can be held liable for forced labor that occurred before and during World War II.

But proving that even world-famous pop groups are not immune to political tensions, a Japanese television station abruptly canceled a live performance by the chart-topping South Korean band, BTS, on Thursday amid an uproar over a T-shirt once worn by one of the bands members.

Work by seven-member boy band BTS, also known as the Bangtan Boys, has reached No. 1 on the Billboard chart. The group has also collaborated with Japanese American DJ and musical artist Steve Aoki.


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