A member of the K-pop group BTS is under fire after wearing a shirt depicting the bombing of Nagasaki. Band member Park Jimin was seen wearing the shirt months ago on the anniversary of Korean liberation.
The incident comes at a time of tension between South Korea and Japan. As a result of the incident, many of BTS’s end of the year Japanese appearances and performances were cancelled.
While the spread of K-pop contributed to some healing in the historic rift between the two nations, recent conflicts augmented the tension again. The Diplomat reported that relations between Japan and South Korea worsened because of a forced labor court decision involving compensation to victims of World War II-era forced labor.
BTS and their parent company Big Hit are providing very limited commentary on the situation. Despite BTS’s apology for the cancelled appearances — not for the offensive shirt — fans in both countries are becoming increasingly angry about the cancellations.
This news comes days after BTS received seven awards at the annual MGA Music Awards in South Korea. The band snagged awards in several categories, most notably, artist of the year and top selling digital album. At the award ceremony, the band performed twice — including a collaboration between American artist Charlie Puth and BTS member Jeon Jungkook.
BTS is currently one of the most popular boy bands in the world. They expanded the popularity of K-pop to western audiences, and even earned the chance to address the UN General Assembly.
Watch BTS and Charlie Puth perform at the MGAs below:
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