Top K-pop Groups BTS and TWICE Angers J-netizens with T-shirt Choices

It’s unfortunate what was a super successful year for top K-pop groups BTS and TWICE reaching year end with a controversy, and one that appears not to be going away quickly. Both groups are on the outs with Japanese media and fans with a member’s choice of t-shirt attire that touch upon very sensitive Japanese topics. A BTS member wore a atomic bomb message t-shirt and a TWICE member was seen in a t-shirt showing a message about Korean comfort women. Both issues relate to World War 2 and Japan’s behavior and consequences during the war and is a sensitive topic especially between the two nations Japan and South Korea. I think pop stars should really avoid conveying a political message unless its a universally agreed upon on, otherwise it’s bad for business and at the end of the day the pop stars are there to make money rather than espouse a political position. Reportedly Japan is so pissed that BTS is not being invited to the year end music show Kohaku Uta Gassen and TWICE’s invitation may be rescinded.


Top K-pop Groups BTS and TWICE Angers J-netizens with T-shirt Choices — 29 Comments

  1. Either way, BTS already had prior commitments in their schedule and never even promised to be on the show. BTS also has apologized to the atomic bomb victims in Japan and Korea

    • I don’t get the Kohaku invitation thing, the performers were announced weeks ago and BTS is not of them. More so, NHK have stopped inviting non-Japanese performers since 2012 (I know bc I watched it every year and KARA, GG, DBSK last performance was in 2011) and the only reason they invited TWICE last year was because they have Japanese in their line-up. (except for Idina Menzel who sang from New York back in 2015 and that’s only bc of Frozen fever in Japan.)

      • agree with you. Non-Japanese does not understand the practice of Kohaku. BTS will never be invited (nor if they will expect to), their focus is not in Japan. Ms Koala is not into kpop, not sure why she reports this with so many errors in this article. Better stick with drama/movie reporting in this blog.

  2. Meanwhile, in the golden horse awards some director has annoyed C-netz with Taiwan independence speech. Entertainers love to be political and yes, they should highlight politics to generation z.

  3. With so many political issue , I was surprised they chose this issue, but still made their Korean songs a Japanese version of the song, and if they really care about this issue they can use money or profit from all shows in Japan or their Japanese songs to support and help victims and the Korean government to ensure their victims get their rights, and they can talk with their government what has been done to this issue and what they can help with this Issue.

    • Well, they have apologized to the victims and also have donated money to the victim association. I think this shows they care. Plus, they use these top groups as scapegoat, masking the real issue. In BTS, the member wore is few years ago but why is it publicised just now? Again, some people intend to push kpop especially the popular ones away from certain country. so, yeah.

      • I think the victims what i mean is not only from bom atom Issue, but also from comfort women victims issue too. Because this article not only talk about bts.

  4. You should check your source first.
    Bts is not confirming to perform in the first place, they did not agree.
    They just use bts as scapegoat for the right wing who hates korean.
    The shirt happen 2 years ago and they use this now?
    Either way, you should not add more if you don’t have real evidence of what really happening.
    As an army myself, we try to come with facts of what’s really happened and what’s the tru intentions.
    Please don’t spread it more when we trying to not make this blow up anymore because its been handle and the truth of why this happened already been settled.

    • This post was written in bad taste and terrible timing. As far as BTS is concerned, the controversy from a shirt worn 2 years ago has already been settled. Big Hit released a sincere apology with a detailed explanation. They sent a representative to personally apologize to the atomic bomb victims. Those victims released their own letter accepting the apology. BTS fans worldwide are actively raising money to donate to comfort women. They’re doing a lot of damage control in all the right ways, so spreading old news is really unnecessary.

      • I totally agree. And what comfort women went through was beyond cruel. It should be talked about, and I think it is very powerful rather than cowardly to actually speak about it. Japanese never apologized for it!!!! Stealing young women and encarcerating them to be raped many times a day, making money on such beastly behavior!!!

  5. If we told everyone who made money that they shouldn’t hold a political opinion where would we be? I think it’s important for pop stars to have a voice and confront issues. They have just as much right as anyone else to make a stand. Look at the whole history of protest songs. This teaches their fans that’s it’s okay to express an opinion. Even if they get it wrong sometimes I’d rather they had a voice than were silenced. I don’t have to agree with the message to want to hear it.

  6. Sorry I have to agree with most the posters here. Everyone is allow to express an opinion despite their work. occupation. Free speech doesn’t mean no consequence though. But yes even kpop singers should be slow to express what and who they support even if we disagree with them. Look at the famous international singers swift and Beyoncé who expressed their support for certain politicians in the recent U. S midterm elections.

  7. I too agree with everyone to be allowed to express their opinion. A pop star can be politic its her/his prerogative.

    Also I agree with the lady who wore the comfort women t-shirt. Not a Korean but I think what these women were forced to do is despicable and should not be forgotten and constantly reminded.

    And Japanese people have suffered due to atomic bombs (another atrocity that should never be forgotten) but that doesn’t mean that they are blameless. They have committed heinous war crimes themselves and need to learn to accept and apologise for them (it is surprising how many of them are not willing to do so).

    • I agree with most of what you said except the last paragraph the atomic bomb was something inhuman whatever japan government did in the past it doesn’t justify the atomic bombing that caused many innocent people to die and it’s still going to affect the next generations children born are gonna have deformities and medical conditions because of the radiation in the area that won’t disappear for decades no one deserves this it is worse than war itself to have generation after generation to suffer but you can’t put a stop to their suffering this is something no one in his right mind and who considers himself a human can celebrate this ugly disgusting act

      • Jana I think we are on the same page regarding Atomic Bomb as well. I feel the same as you. Sorry I did not express myself very well.

    • I don’t agree with the atomic bomb comment. Just like the comfort women issue, innocent lives (from kids to women) were sacrificed because of the atomic bomb and its after effects since radiation goes on and on even after a decade that the atomic bombing have happened. True, the Japanese aren’t blameless for their war atrocities, but that doesn’t mean that they deserved to be nuked. Just as the comfort didn’t deserve to act as their sex slaves. See here,there are no winners in war only VICTIMS. So stop with who should be blame and who should not or who deserved it more or so, innocent lives were paid for the war, from the losers to the winners in that war, they both have paid for it.

  8. I am all for freedom of speech BUT the moment a person especially a celebrity decided to goes political, he/she should expects a backlash. When he/she receives a backlash, what make he/she feels the need to issue an apology??? You made the bed, you sleep on it….By issuing an apology it means he/she isn’t serious in defending what he/she believes. Don’t go half way in what you consider freedom of speech, believe in what is right…yadaa yaddaa yadaaa…blah blah blah…

    • You make it sound so easy. It’s not. It’s called oppression. There’s many forces at work, maybe their agency gave them an ultimatum or whatever. Greed silenced the voices of many, sadly.

      • My point is, think before you do something and being responsible….If someone really serious in campaigning certain believe do you think by simply wearing a tee will help the cause??? It’s called looking for problem or calling for attention/publicity….you can donate to the cause directly quietly no need to blows the horn with a tee….

        If I am a victim of atomic bomb or one of the comfort women, I would be feel more hurts and pain by the people who claimed to support me but when they received backlash they back off by issuing a public apology….because it’s meant their supports aren’t real but only for their personal gains….

  9. Well I agree that celebrities should have political opinions and absolutely should have the freedom to express them but when your opinion is actually wrong you should expect a backlash and this is not only for celebrities this goes to any one who supports things that is inhuman and caused and is still causing many to suffer and as I said in my comment above whatever the Japanese government did in the past it really doesn’t justify celebrating the atomic bomb or saying they deserved this the atomic bomb is such an inhuman act that it didn’t only cause people to die at the time it happened but its effects will actually still be in the next several generations to come where a lot of children who are innocent and didn’t harm anyone will be born with deformities and medical conditions because of the radiation that will need decades to disappear imagine celebrating and being happy about something that is still continuing to make people suffer so bad it’s just disgusting

  10. I believe the stylists/Managers/Agency/PR have a huge responsibility and are implicit in the above members wearing those t shirts chosen for the day. And for the two called out over it are they proficient in English as the slogans from what I can tell are in English- did they understand the message printed? These idols are young and Im not dismissing them as being ‘non the wiser’ but when you make a statement regardless if it is political or not and you’re famous and recognisable then what you’re doing is speaking your truth and with that front you can’t back down by all means because like @Jansa said …you are taking on a cause; proclaiming to the victims of that cause that you believe in their fight for justice and all that grand standing that the media has capitalised on is undone in a flash when your agency dismisses it and apologies for your wrong doing. It doesn’t matter if it happened 2 years ago or today be steadfast and firm and stand by your beliefs because it lacks sincerity and credibility when you’re having to apologise. Seriously why bother in the first place? And for the record the atomic bomb reference to Korea’s liberation worn by a BTS member is just mind boggling! Who does that? Thousands of innocent people died in Hiroshima and Nagasaki and he wears a tshirt celebrating those deaths? Oh that’s right he didn’t mean to cos Big Hit apologised profusely in his defence. And just a reminder, Korean women weren’t the only comfort women exploited by the Japanese; Chinese; Indonesian; Malaysian; Filipino; Dutch; Taiwanese were too. It’s just (from what Ive read) that Koreans have more media presence then the others.

    • I don’t think the tshirt guy is fluent in English at all but there were several thousand Koreans who died/were affected in the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings too, and POWs.

      So in a way, it is directly a part of Korean history too, just not one that’s well known outside. I only found out through this incident that there’s actually a Korean association for victims of the bombings on their side, to which the apology was delivered.

      • @Gina thank you for the update. All K pop idols; actors and celebrities should have mandatory world history lessons to avoid this type of media show because their fame is not just confined to Korea they’re globally renowned now and they need to be informed and educated more then what there getting; which is most likely zilch. That task rests solely with their agency. I’m happy that BTS finished their world tour before this dropped imagine being in England and this hit? Gosh the media there would have had a field day! And the more I look at that tshirt slogan the more I’m incensed at the insensitivity and ignorance of the damn stylist that made him wear it! Instead of making a political statement stick to your day job and focus on fashion. The stylist is a complete knob!

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