Jimin of BTS has been a subject of controversy, primarily in Japan to this point, over wearing a nationalistic t-shirt by the brand ‘ourhistory‘ that has the text “patriotism ourhistory liberation Korea” repeated on the back along with a picture of an atomic bomb that detonated over a Japanese city on the back.
【すごいファン・サービスだね（棒】防弾少年団が日本のファンのことをどう思っているのかが、よく分かる行為だよね。https://t.co/8tLKYA2O1t 韓国アイドル・防弾少年団メンバーが8月15日に着ていた「原爆のきのこ雲Tシャツ」が物議 ネット「わざわざ８月１５日に着てるからな・・」
— 遠子先輩 (@murrhauser) October 16, 2018
The photo of Jimin was reportedly from last year on August 15, which is National Liberation Day in Korea. It would be completely appropriate for Koreans to celebrate such an event as freedom from Japanese imperialism following World War 2 with a shirt and stuff of the like, but the problem most seem to have with it is the glorifying of an atomic bomb being dropped.
While the bombs killed tens of thousands of Japanese soldiers, it also obviously killed a significant amount of civilians, perhaps as many as 250,000. Civilian deaths in war is obviously shitty on its own, but it’s rather bizarre for Koreans to be so celebratory about this (1/2) when tens of thousands of Koreans perished in the bombings as well.
Of course, none of this means that one can’t understand the reaction of Koreans in terms of associating the atomic bombs with the end of the war (and the debate on that is certainly one for another time), but one would like to believe the mass Korean casualties would at least give pause to glorifying the justification of mass civilian death as essentially collateral damage without considering the ramifications that outlook has. And I feel like if the people co-signing on this worldview would just take a step back from things and look at the logic they’re employing here, they’d realize it basically amounts to a world where the ends justify the means, and there are lot (and I mean A LOT) of problems with this type of attitude towards civilian casualties in war and foreign policy in general.
So I understand the history and the context and all that stuff, and obviously Koreans deserve a ton of leeway when it comes to resentful feelings towards Japan, both historically and in modern times. However, I find it difficult to justify the attitudes and thought processes that would lead one to wear such a shirt, much less celebrate or justify it, as the moral/ethical consequences of going down that rabbit hole are likely to be surprisingly ugly.