A Japanese television network has cancelled BTS’ upcoming appearance after band member Jimin was pictured wearing a T-shirt that appeared to celebrate the atomic bombing of Hiroshima.
It’s unclear when Jimin wore the shirt, which bared the slogan “Patriotism Our History Liberation Korea”, but the images started doing the rounds online last month. Some have said the pictures were taken as far back as 2013.
The hugely successful K-pop group were due to appear on TV Asahi’s Music Station show on Friday evening.
TV Asahi said in a statement published online, according to the BBC: “A T-shirt design worn by one of the members caused controversy… we had been discussing it with the record label. However, we decided to postpone their appearance this time.”
BTS apologized for the cancellation, but failed to mention the T-shirt.
They shared, according to The Guardian: “We apologize 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 shirt in question appears to commemorate the liberation of Korea from Japan in 1945, with it featuring a photo of a mushroom cloud. Many have accused it of celebrating the bombing of Japan during World War II.
WWII saw two atomic bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagaski, marking the first and only time atomic bombs were used in a war.
Hundreds of thousands of people were killed instantly, while many more died years later as a result of radiation sickness.