Appearance on TV show was still being promoted up to one day before scheduled performance.

DVRs and online streaming have been skyrocketing in popularity in Japan over the past few years, but TV Asahi’s Music Station remains appointment television for many. Since 1986, the Friday-night program has broadcast live performances and interviews from chart-topping musicians, and with K-pop having made inroads into Japanese popular culture, on November 9 Music Station was scheduled to host Korean boy band BTS (also known as Bangtan Boys).

BTS would be coming on the show to chat with the show’s hosts and sing the Japanese version of their song “Fake Love,” as well as “Idol,” as promised by a promo Music Station aired at the end of its November 2 episode. However, just one day before BTS was supposed to be on the show, Music Station announced that they’d been bumped from the lineup, via a written statement on the program’s official website which reads:

“We have decided to cancel BTS’ November 9 appearance, which was previously previewed on November 2. There have been reports of discomfort caused by a T-shirt one of the band’s members previously wore. We, as a program, wanted to ask him his mentality in wearing it. We were engaged in such discussions with BTS’ record company, but in the end have come to the decision to cancel their appearance on the program. We deeply apologize to those viewers who were looking forward to it.”

The T-shirt in question is one worn by BTS member Jimin, which started a commotion on the Japanese Internet last month. In the widely circulated photos, Jimin can be seen wearing a long-sleeved white T-shirt with “Patriotism our history liberation Korea” printed multiple times across the back, along with a photograph of the mushroom cloud that occurred directly after the atomic bombing of Hiroshima in World War II. It’s said that the photos were taken on National Liberation Day of Korea in 2017, which marks the end of World War II, and by extension Japan’s occupation of Korea.

▼ Jimin, wearing the controversial shirt

The vague wording of Music Station’s statement that “as a program, wanted to ask him his mentality in wearing it” leaves it unclear as to whether producers merely wanted a behind-closed-doors discussion before agreeing to have BTS on the show, or whether they were demanding to be allowed to ask Jimin, live on air, about his wardrobe choice. Either way, BTS has been bumped from the guest list, and considering that Music Station has made the unusual (for the Japanese entertainment industry) move of specifically citing the T-shirt, as opposed to using one of the platitudes such as “due to various circumstances” that are often used by Japanese media organizations, BTS might be out of the program’s good graces for some time to come.

Source: Music Station via Huffington Post Japan
Featured image: Twitter/@murrhauser