A broadcaster in Japan has reportedly cancelled an appearance of the hugely popular South Korean boy band BTS over a controversial T-shirt worn by one of the band members.

The T-shirt which depicts an image of the US atomic bombing of Japan and some Korean independence slogans was worn by Jimin in a performance and has gone viral on social media, stirring anger among some Japanese BTS fans, who called it an “insult”.

The shirt appears to celebrate the atomic bombing of Hiroshima, which killed hundreds of thousands of people, but some fans defended that wasn’t disrespectful to the Japanese people, and was simply a celebration of the defeat of the Japanese empire and the resulting independence of Korea.

It is unclear when exactly Jimin wore the shirt in question, some said it was worn last year while others said that he wore it on 15th August this year to mark Korea’s Liberation Day, but pictures of him in it started circulating online in October.

BTS was scheduled to perform on 9th November on popular Japanese music program “Music Station”, but Universal Music has confirmed that their appearance on the live music show was canceled.

BTS apologised for the cancellation but made no reference to the T-shirt. “We apologise for disappointing fans who were looking forward to this. BTS will continue their efforts to connect with fans on stage and also through music,” the group said as quoted.

Source: BTS’ Twitter

After BTS cancelled their flights to Japan, the designer behind the t-shirt Lee Kwang Jae issued an apology. “I did not include that part to mock Japan. I did it to express the historic truth and timing that after the atomic bomb was detonated, Japan’s unconditional surrender led to independence.”

“After I found out, I was very flustered and apologetic. I had no intention to promote anti-Japanese sentiment, and so I’m very sorry towards BTS,” he added.

Sources: The Guardian, Metro UK

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