Why Its Hard To Overlook Korea-Japan Strained Relationship As The Reason For BTS’s Cancelled Japanese TV Appearance


[This is an article of the research I did, it discusses the possibility of Jimin’s T-Shirt becoming a Scapegoat for the cancelled tv appearance.

I am discussing how the history of Japan-Korea influences the hallyu wave]

For the past two days, news outlets have been discussing news of BTS’s abruptly postponed scheduled performance on TV Asashi’s “Music Station.”

Big Hit Entertainment and “Music Station” explained that the entire performance has been postponed.

What was shocking had to be “Music Station” website statement which revealed the reason behind the postponed appearance and it turned out to be Jimin’s shirt.

“Music Station” said,

“The t-shirt worn by a BTS member caused a controversy.”

They also explained that they discussed with the agency and found that it was only intended as a piece of clothing, they added,

“It’s unfortunate that it happened but we have to decide that this appearance will be postponed.”

Back in summer 2017, Jimin wore a shirt during an episode of BTS’s variety show dedicated to fans.

At the time, no one reacted or mentioned it, however, this changed when a couple of weeks ago fans began discussing the shirt once again and found issues with it.

The shirt was commemorating the day that Korea was liberated from Japanese colonial rule in 1945 which happened when the atomic bomb detonated in Japan causing the loss of thousands of lives.

The bomb picture didn’t settle well with the general Japanese public but fans; especially international; didn’t know it was going to be this big of a deal since many say ‘its just a shirt.’

I don’t personally support that narrative since the picture of the bomb can be interpreted as if its mocking the victims, so I do see why Japanese fans find an issue with the shirt.

The news became such a big deal that the designer of the shirt stepped up and spoke about the meaning to Korean news outlets, he said,

“It wasn’t to mock Japan. I did it to express the historical truth and the timing after the bomb detonated and how it contributed to the surrender of Japan which led to independence.”

The designer even added that he feels sorry towards BTS.

What “Music Station” said didn’t settle well with the fandom who knew there was more to this than what “Music Station” was letting on, especially after fans read about the two countries history.

In case you didn’t know, late last month (October 30 to be exact), South Korea’s Supreme Court ordered a Japanese company to compensate four Koreans for wartime labor during the Japanese colonial rule of Korea.

The Supreme Court ordered the company to pay 100 million won ($87,700) to each of the four plaintiffs.

Japan, on the other hand, maintains that the matters of compensation have been settled back in 1965 with a treaty, for now political tension between the two countries is high.

[According to Reuters] the Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono said that the South Korean court’s order was “unthinkable.”

Also, according to The StraitsTimes, Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary Kotaro Nogami said Japan would consider a number of options if South Korea wouldn’t respond promptly, including going to an international court.

To get to the bottom of the issue fueled by BTS’s sudden postponed appearance one must refer to history books, Korea was occupied by Japan for a lengthy period of time, 35 years to be exact. Many war atrocities were committed during that period including the use of comfort women which remains an issue between both countries to this day.

Immediately after the war ended, South Korea enacted the Law For Punishing Anti-National Deeds (반민족행위처벌법), the laws restricted the broadcast and distribution of records, videos, CDs, and games from outside the country.

While the laws did not specify any specific country, the intent of the laws was primarily aimed at Japanese media. Koreans had no legal access until the 90s.

In the early 2000s, BoA was the first Korean pop start who crossed successfully to Japan. TVXQ, Kara, BIGBANG, SNSD and more soon followed they paved the way to future Kpop artists such as BTS, TWICE, iKON and many others.

The tense political atmosphere between the two countries has affected Kpop and the hallyu wave in the past as well, this isn’t the first time.

In 2011, the hallyu wave in Japan took a blow when Japanese actor Sousuke Takaoka criticized the Fuji TV network on Twitter for airing so many Korean programs that he felt “brainwashed.” (He was fired for his remarks)

As a result, about 6000 people gathered outside Fuji TV’s headquarters carrying Japanese flags and shouting “No more Korean wave.”

For the years to follow, Kpop artists began promoting less and less in Japan, but with the help of the new wave of Kpop groups, the industry was able to rise again. Kpop acts such as TWICE, BTS, iKON and many others began breaking into the Japanese market and were successful.

In 2018 alone, TVXQ, SHINee, BTS, TWICE, EXO and iKON hit No. 1 on Japan’s main Oricon Albums Chart, which also happens to be the highest amount of Korean chart-toppers since 2011.

According to a report published by Japanese magazine Nikkei Entertainment on November 5, TVXQ topped the list of acts that attracted the most concert goers in 2018.

They beat many Japanese artists in their own game; TVXQ had more than 1.28 million fans show up to 48 concerts in 2018 alone.

2018 has been a generous year for Kpop groups in Japan, but there could be a second wave of suppression of the hallyu wave because of current tension between South Korea and Japan which dates back to settlements over war-crimes.

Many label the shirt Jimin wore as the scapegoat for the abrupt announcement from “Music Station.” We can never know for sure whether “Music Station” did cancel the appearance of BTS because of the shirt or not, but its difficult to think the shirt was the only reason.

Judging from the Japanese community on twitter, they are not happy with the shirt and I saw a lot of comments of Japanese people demanding an apology from Big Hit Entertainment and an explanation of what will happen to BTS’s upcoming Dome Tour in Japan.

Rumors have also been flying around stating that many Japanese end year shows are now withdrawing their attention away from BTS, TWICE and others. They will not be invited into these events after having been positively considered as guests of various events.


  1. All BTS fans should know about the truth of Japanese cruel history. It is the real history of Japanese war crimes during the world war II, so please do not try to treat it as just political issues between two nations, Korea and Japan. Japanese government MUST apologize directly to the victims for their evil acts such as killing Korean civilians, raping young Korean women, slaving young Korean men, chemical testing on civilians, and stealing Korean national treasure. The apology should be stopped when the victims say “enough”.

    • All is fair in war and balabal why are koreans acting like Japan is still invading them lol i m algerian and we ve been under french colonialism for like 130 yrs and french did all what it could do to make us surrender killed us burned us they even planted bombs under our feet that they have some remaining for the time being and it’s not rare that you d hear that a person died because of that… ect
      After all japan is still acting civilised and taking korea and that drama queen atitude not for granted errr… more like they re tolerant and playing along so korea counting bitch-ing about it but the sad thing is that they drag normal people to the play poor korea may be one day it would wake up with it’s brain back

  2. I really loved reading about the Korean – Japan history although i already knew about it, but this added a bit more info. And yeah war is shitty in anyways. I’m a BTS fan myself, but i don’t know what to say, since i’m neither Japanesse nor Korean.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.