TOKYO (BLOOMBERG) - A Japanese television network abruptly cancelled 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" on Friday night (Nov 9) 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 apologised 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 Friday morning. "Music Station" is one of Japan's most prominent music programmes and one of TV Asahi's main shows.
"I'm from Hiroshima. I can't accept BTS appearing on Music Station," said Twitter user ayum_mi. "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 labour claims roiling relations.