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K-Pop Boy Band BTS Booted Off Japan TV Show Over Atomic Bomb Shirt

K-Pop Boy Band BTS Booted Off Japan TV Show Over Atomic Bomb Shirt

  • K-Pop band member’s t-shirt seemed to celebrate WWII bombings
  • TV Asahi cancels appearance after talks with record label

Members of the South Korean boy band 'BTS' take a selfie.

Photographer: Santiago Felipe/Getty Images
Photographer: Santiago Felipe/Getty Images

A Japanese television network abruptly canceled the appearance of the mega-hit K-Pop band BTS over a controversial T-shirt worn by one of its members, which was seen by some to celebrate the use of atomic weapons against Japan during WWII.

TV Asahi said the Billboard-topping band wouldn’t be appearing on its show "Music Station" tonight after reaching out to BTS’ record label about the T-shirt, which had caused controversy on social media ahead of the band’s tour of Japan beginning next week.

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

The t-shirt, which depicted slogans in support of Korean liberation as well as a mushroom cloud on the back, had stirred controversy in Japan, where the band has a large fanbase.

"A-bomb t-shirt" was one of the top trending topics on Twitter this morning. "Music Station" is one of Japan’s most prominent music programs and one of TV Asahi’s main shows.

"I’m from Hiroshima. I can’t accept BTS appearing on Music Station," said one Twitter user. "This group is making fun of the atomic bombings."

The incident comes as ties between Japan and South Korea are once again strained over historical issues, with a court ruling holding Japanese firms liable for wartime forced labor claims roiling relations.

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