Japanese TV show axes BTS performance over atomic bomb T-shirt

South Korean pop group BTS performs during a Korean cultural event in Paris

"BTS will continue their efforts to connect with fans on stage and also through music", the group said.

The designs include a photo of Koreans celebrating liberation and a photo of an atomic bomb detonating in Japan, which contributed to Japan's surrender to the Allied forces and thereby Korea's liberation.

Japan, meanwhile, became the only nation to have experienced a nuclear attack when the USA dropped atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagaski killing an estimated 200,000-plus people at the end of WWII.

TV Asahi said the Billboard-topping band wouldn't be appearing on its show "Music Station" on Friday night (Nov 9) after reaching out to BTS' record label about the T-shirt, which had caused controversy on social media ahead of the band's tour of Japan beginning next week.

Back on November 8, TV Asahi's 'Music Station', abruptly "postponed" BTS's scheduled appearance on the popular music program, forcing Big Hit Entertainment to cancel BTS's flight to Japan on the same day and disappointing a huge crowd of fans who gathered at the airport to see the boys.

The shirt, which is still available for sale online, bears the slogan "Patriotism Our History Liberation Korea" and features an iconic photo of the atomic bomb dropped on a Japanese city.

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Hundreds of thousands of people were killed instantly and many more died in the years to come as a result of radiation sickness. It was not clear when the photo of Jimin allegedly wearing the shirt was taken, but local news outlets reported the image was from 2013.

Ties between Japan and South Korea continue to be soured by bitter disputes over history and territory stemming from Japan's brutal 1910-45 colonial rule over the peninsula.

It wasn't long before the Japanese words for #Unforgiveable and #AtomicBomb started trending on Twitter - and some Japanese social media users were furious.

But other fans rallied around BTS.

Last month, Tokyo reacted furiously after South Korea's top court ordered a Japanese steel giant to compensate victims of wartime forced labour programmes. 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.

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