HONG KONG — They’ve been referred to as the world’s greatest boy band, they usually have been even just lately enlisted to communicate on the United Nations — the primary Ok-pop group ever given such an honor.
However proving that even world-famous pop teams will not be resistant to political tensions, a Japanese tv station abruptly canceled a dwell efficiency by the chart-topping South Korean band, BTS, on Thursday amid an uproar over a T-shirt as soon as worn by one of many band’s members.
The T-shirt featured the well-known historic picture of a billowing mushroom cloud rising over the Japanese metropolis of Nagasaki, and a few stated it glorified the People’ use of atomic bombs in opposition to Japan on the finish of World Struggle II.
“After we talked to the band’s company concerning the member’s intention in sporting the T-shirt, we have now regrettably determined to name off their efficiency at the moment,” learn a assertion posted on the web site of Music Station, a program on the Japanese tv community TV Asahi.
In a assertion on its official web site, BTS, also called Bangtan Boys, apologized to followers for the cancellation, although they didn’t point out the T-shirt.
The article of clothes in query was stated to have been worn by Jimin, 23, one of many band’s seven members, in a 2017 episode of the group’s actuality tv present, “BTS: Bon Voyage.” The T-shirt exhibits the mushroom cloud over Nagasaki simply moments after america dropped an atomic bomb on the Japanese metropolis on Aug. 9, 1945, immediately killing greater than 70,000 civilians.
A block of repeating textual content printed on the T-shirt alongside the picture reads: “PATRIOTISM OUR HISTORY LIBERATION KOREA.”
The incident tapped into the deep properly of resentment that also roils relations between the 2 international locations, greater than seven a long time after Imperial Japan’s defeat in World Struggle II liberated the Korean Peninsula from Japanese colonial rule (it was subsequently divided into North and South Korea). Aug. 15 continues to be commemorated yearly by each North and South Korea as Victory Over Japan Day.
These historic tensions flared up final month when a South Korean court docket ordered a number one Japanese metal maker to compensate Korean males who have been slave laborers throughout World Struggle II.
Relations between the 2 international locations stay strained by different wartime legacies, just like the Korean “consolation girls” who have been compelled to work in Japanese army brothels. Many South Koreans say Japan’s apologies and reparations over that situation haven’t been ample.
The T-shirt incident was a small however embarrassing setback for BTS, which has seen overwhelming success lately with its ever-changing rotation of hair colours and musical influences. This yr, the band was not solely the primary Ok-pop band to succeed in the highest spot on the Billboard Artist 100 Chart, it did so twice within the span of some months.
In August, BTS broke Taylor Swift’s report for greatest YouTube video debut, racking up 45 million views for his or her video “Idol” in simply 24 hours. In October, they completed off the North American leg of their “Love Your self” world tour with a sold-out efficiency to a crowd of about 40,000 at Citi Area in New York Metropolis.
The band has waded into doubtlessly taboo subjects earlier than, and members have been notably outspoken about their assist for homosexual rights.
However again house, relations between their native nation and Japan have been one thing of a political minefield. In September, Korean followers lashed out on the band’s administration company, Large Hit Leisure, after stories emerged about BTS’s plans to launch a Japanese-language single written by the distinguished Japanese producer Yasushi Akimoto.
Recognized for creating the favored Japanese lady band AKB48, Mr. Akimoto had angered Korean followers previously by that includes the rising solar flag — seen by many as a painful image of Japanese imperialism — in a few of AKB48’s costumes. Because of the backlash, BTS eliminated the one, titled “Chook,” from its newest Japanese album, which was launched on Wednesday.
In line with South Korean media, the designer of the T-shirt for the Korean road vogue model Ourhistory has apologized, saying he didn’t intend for the design to be construed as anti-Japanese.
Regardless of the outcry in Japan, the group’s many die-hard followers, who’re generally known as the Military, appeared undeterred. On Friday, the band’s newly launched single “Pretend Love/Airplane Pt. 2” remained on the high of the Japanese music singles chart, in accordance with Oricon, a Japanese music statistics web site.