‘Music Station’ cites atomic bomb shirt in postponing BTS, but issues with Japan & nationalism run deep

BTS were scheduled to perform “Fake Love” and “IDOL” on TV Asahi‘s ‘Music Station‘ on November 9, but recently this was cancelled. Big Hit Entertainment released a vague statement about it, but TV Asahi was direct and cited the shirt Jimin was seen wearing with an atomic bomb on it in their reasoning.

On November 8, Big Hit Entertainment announced via BTS’s official Japanese website that the group’s scheduled appearance on “Music Station” has been postponed. “We apologize for conveying this unfortunate news to the fans who were looking forward to it,” the agency stated. “We will work hard so that BTS can continue to meet their fans with better music and performances.” A post on the “Music Station” website on November 8 also stated that BTS’s appearance has been postponed. “A t-shirt design worn by a [BTS] member caused a controversy,” it stated. “We asked about the intention behind wearing that piece of clothing and discussed with the agency, but although unfortunate, after an overall consideration of the situation, we have decided that this appearance will be postponed. We deeply apologize to the viewers who were looking forward to their appearance.”

One does get the impression, however, that this is another proxy war type of thing involving governmental issues as it’s set on the backdrop of a recent Korean Supreme Court ruling regarding Japanese companies using forced laborers during World War II.

Many have pointed out that while the controversy over the t-shirt design has been mentioned, another reason for the postponement may be the increasingly deteriorating relations between Japan and South Korea. Late last month, South Korea’s Supreme Court ordered a Japanese company to compensate four Koreans for wartime labor during Japan’s colonial rule of the Korean peninsula. With the Japanese government maintaining that all matters of compensation were settled through a treaty in 1965, political tension is high between the two countries.

For further background on that, this article does well.

Anyway, I talked about the shirt before, and I still think it’s fucked up. One can understand the sentiment of it while also thinking it failed in its execution by endorsing a disturbing type of attitude.

A thread on Twitter is basically all the time I have left for it.


Seriously feel like there’s a certain irony to seeing like American and British citizens discussing how regimes deemed evil deserve any level of punishment doled out against them.


Gonna be real and admit that one of the main issues I have with people justifying massive civilian death tolls using the fact that their government does evil shit is … uh, I mean that would also essentially justify one of the many victims of American foreign policy slaughtering Americans like me and my family. I’d rather this not happen.

Feels like sometimes Americans forget that to a significant part of the world by now we are the evil fucks. Do all of us agree with the neo-con foreign policy shit? No, but there’s an outspoken many who do and the American media is certainly complicit, so I’d rather humanity in general not go down this road of debating who deserves to be exterminated. Like I would understand the sentiment of America’s victims in terms of rage and anger, but again, I would rather they not nuke New York or Los Angeles or Chicago. Sorry, but it’s honestly genocidal rhetoric and I hate it.

Right, so let’s discuss that current nationalist underpinning in Japan.

To be clear, the stuff surrounding the cancellation of BTS on ‘Music Station’ is a big picture issue. So while I believe that the shirt was shitty and that the people justifying it wouldn’t like their own logic used against them by others, it is undoubtedly a bigger problem that so many mainstream media outlets in Japan are either complicit or beholden to the outrage of significant amounts of nationalists and ultra-nationalists.

Remember, this kind of bullshit has happened before with like Fuji TV protests and that kind of stuff played a significant role in why Hallyu needed to be revitalized by TWICE and BTS and the likes in Japan to begin with. So no matter what you feel about this decision by ‘Music Station’, it’s necessary to consider the forces behind it as well, because they are ugly as hell.

Obviously much of the international focus when it comes to Asian entertainment is on Korea nowadays, which has positive and negative effects when it bleeds over into people seeing societal/cultural issues as well. Thus, because of Japanese entertainment’s generally isolationist nature, international people may not be up to date on all the details of stuff like the nationalist sentiment there. But nevertheless, that doesn’t change the reality that it’s absolutely happening, and while many Japanese do love Korea, Korean people, and Korean entertainment and all that, the inevitable nationalistic backlash from Japan as Hallyu gains momentum is no coincidence and it deserves to be scrutinized harshly.


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