A Japanese TV show has cancelled an appearance by hugely popular K-pop group BTS, amid controversy over a shirt worn by one of the band members.

A picture of Jimin wearing a T-shirt depicting the US atomic bombing of Japan, which killed hundreds of thousands of people, started being shared online.

It stirred anger among some Japanese BTS fans, who called it an “insult”.

BTS later apologised to its fans for not being able to make an appearance.

The “atomic bomb” T-shirt also featured Korean independence slogans.

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It was seen by some in Japan as celebrating the bomb which eventually led to the independence of the Korean peninsula from Japanese colonial rule.

Japan and Korea’s shared wartime history remains an extremely sensitive topic in both countries.

The shirt and the A-bomb

BTS, a seven-member Korean pop group, was originally scheduled to perform on TV Asahi’s Music Station show on 9 November.

“A t-shirt design worn by one of the members caused controversy… we had been discussing it with the record label. However, we decided to postpone their appearance this time,” said TV Asahi in a statement published online.

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It is unclear when exactly Jimin wore the shirt in question, but pictures of him in it started circulating online in October.

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.

The shirt worn by Jimin
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A Japanese TV show has cancelled an appearance by hugely popular K-pop group BTS, amid controversy over a shirt worn by one of the band members. A picture of Jimin wearing a T-shirt depicting the US atomic bombing of Japan, which killed hundreds of thousands of people, started being shared...