A member of the famous K-Pop band “BTS” was internationally ridiculed for wearing an insensitive shirt that depicted the bombing of Nagasaki during WWII. The band’s promotion company has since issued an official apology on the matter.
In a scandal that is rocking the K-Pop world, the group Bangtan Boys – more popularly known as BTS – was recently pulled from a Japanese TV show for wearing a t-shirt that depicted the atomic bombing of Nagasaki. The band, which also has a history of using Nazi imagery, has been condemned by various groups for attempting to glorify the suffering of innocents during World War II. A Jewish Human Rights organization harshly criticized the group, stating:
“It goes without saying that this group, which was invited to speak at the UN, owes the people of Japan and the victims of the Nazism an apology.”
The Controversial History of Nagasaki
During the final stage of World War II, the United States dropped two atomic bombs on the Japan. Dropped from a bomber plane called the “Enola Gay,” the first atomic bomb was dropped on the city of Hiroshima, followed by the city of Nagasaki. The explosion decimated approximately 90% of the cities and killed tens of thousands of civilians. Those who survived later died from complications due to exposure to radiation.
Early 2015 promotional material showed a band member wearing a hat with the logo of the Death’s Head Unit which were SS organizations that ran Nazi concentration camps. During World War II, approximately 6 million Jews were killed by the Nazi party. The issue with the Nagasaki image on the shirt is just one in a long line of offensive campaigns by the boy band, who used flags with undeniable similarities to Nazi flags with Swaktikas in a 2017 show.
In response, the band’s promotional company “Big Hit” issued an apology to the Simon Weisenthal Center. In the past, several socioeconomic issues have divided Japan and South Korea politically, which have invariably spilled over to the entertainment sphere. It is without a doubt that the global rise of nationalism is of paramount concern to global citizens, and the South Korean normalization of these offensive symbols perpetuates the country’s seeming dissonance with the sensitive reality of a global shared history.