TAIPEI (Taiwan News) -- A performance by BTS, the world's biggest K-pop band, was canceled on Japanese TV last week, after images of one of its members wearing an inflammatory T-shirt seeming to glorify the dropping of the atomic bomb on Nagasaki surfaced on social media.
An appearance of BTS on the TV Asahi show "Music Station" scheduled for last Friday (Nov. 9) was canceled at the last minute after images surfaced of one of its members wearing a T-shirt celebrating the liberation of Korea from Japanese rule and America's dropping of the atomic bomb on Nagasaki in 1945, which killed 70,000 people. Japanese fans of the band were deeply insulted and TV Asahi issued the following statement, "We deeply apologize the viewers who were looking forward their performance," reported CNN.
The controversial T-shirt was worn by 23-year-old group member Park Ji-min, better known as Jimin, during an episode of BTS's reality TV show "Bon Voyage" last year on Aug. 15, when Koreans celebrate the end of Japanese occupation in 1945. The shirt, which repeats the words "Patriotism our history liberation Korea," appears to celebrate the liberation of Korea from Japan at the end of World War II and shows a black and white photo of the atomic bomb exploding over Nagasaki.
Japanese netizens recently discovered the significance of the T-shirt and started posting images of it on social media. A huge backlash among Japanese fans soon ensued and TV Asahi decided to pull the plug on the band's performance.
(Photo from ourhistory.co.kr)
The Simon Wiesenthal Center denounced BTS on Nov. 11, with Rabbi Abraham Cooper Associate Dean and Director of Global Social Action at the center saying, "Wearing a T-shirt in Japan mocking the victims of the Nagasaki A-bomb, is just the latest incident of this band mocking the past." Teh center also criticized the band for previously posing for a photo shoot wearing hats with the Nazi SS Death Head logo on them and called on the band to issue the people of Japan and victims of Nazism an apology.
BTS band member wearing hat with Nazi SS Death Head logo. (Reddit image)
Cooper added that an apology by the band member is not enough and that management should also issue a public apology:
"But that is not enough. It is clear that those designing and promoting this group’s career are too comfortable with denigrating the memory of the past. The result is that on young generations in Korea and around the world are more likely to identify bigotry and intolerance as being ‘cool’ and help erase the lessons of history. The management of this group, not only the front performers, should publicly apologize."