BTS has been under some criticism lately over wardrobe choices and stage props that had imagery that may have offended some people. The Simon Wiesenthal Center in Los Angeles brought up the allegations towards the Korean pop music group saying that they were “mocking the past”.
The controversy started when Park Jimin in August when he was wearing a shirt depicting the United States dropping a bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki with lettering celebrating the Korean liberation from Japan in 1945. The images of Jimin wearing the shirt of the 2017 Liberation Day started showing up on the internet over the past couple of weeks which to the band cancelling a tv performance on Asahi’s Music Station.
Member Jimin addressed the fans at the band Tokyo Dome stop on the Love Yourself Tour about the controversy, “We had our first showcase in a small concert hall in Tokyo,” Jimin reflected, according to BTS’ label Big Hit Entertainment, recalling the group’s first 2014 show in Japan. “I was surprised at how our [fanbase] ARMY who were in Japan at the time knew us and had come to see us. We’ve come a long way to be here at the Tokyo Dome.”
Jimin added, “It saddens me to think that not only you ARMY, but many people around the world must’ve been surprised recently because of the many circumstances,” he added. “I believe there will be many more opportunities for us to meet each other. I won’t be able to forget my first Tokyo Dome performance with you today. I’m so happy to be with you guys, ARMY. I hope you feel happy seeing us too.”
In addition the controversy also reaches out to RM who wore a hat on stage with Nazi imagery during a photo shoot for the band. BTS is “Airplane Pt. 2” is currently number 2 on the Japan Oricon daily singles chart.
You can read the full english version of the press release below:
Big Hit Entertainment’s Position on Issues Recently Raised Involving BTS
Recently, a number of issues have been raised involving BTS, the artist group of Big Hit Entertainment (hereby referred to as “Big Hit”). We would like to express our positions on these issues as follows.
1. Among the issues recently raised involving BTS, Big Hit has reviewed the following issues:
-that a Big Hit artist has worn an outfit depicting an image of an atomic bomb,
– that a Big Hit artist was shown with headwear displaying a National Socialist (Nazi) symbol as part of a magazine photo shoot in the past,
– and that Big Hit artists took part in a performance during which flags depicting motifs reminiscent of Nazi symbols were featured and wielded.
2. Big Hit’s position on the issues outlined above are as follows.
– In all activities involving BTS and any other artists associated with our company, Big Hit does not condone any activities of war or the use of atomic weapons, is adamantly against them, had no intention of causing distress or pain to anyone affected by the dropping of atomic weapons, and we will continue to adhere to these principles.
– In all activities involving BTS and any other artists associated with our company, Big Hit does not support any organizations or groups oriented towards political extremism and totalitarian beliefs including Nazism, is against all such entities and activities, had no intention of causing distress or pain to anyone affected by historical events and incidents by being inadvertently associated with such organizations or groups, and we will continue to adhere to these principles.
3. Regarding the issues recently raised, we would like to offer the following apologies.
– Regarding the wearing of the outfit containing image of atomic bombing, as previously explained the incident was in no way intentional, and although it has been verified that the outfit had not been designed originally to injure or make light of those affected by the use of atomic weapons, we would like to offer our sincere apologies not only for failing to take the precautions that could have prevented the wearing of such clothing by our artist that inadvertently inflicted pain on anyone affected by the use of atomic weapons, but to anyone who may have experienced distress and discomfort by witnessing the association of our artists with imagery related to atomic bombings.
– Regarding the wearing of a hat displaying a logo reminiscent of Nazi symbolism, again as previously explained the incident was in no way intentional, and although all apparel and accessories used during the photoshoot had been provided by the publication conducting the shoot, we would like to offer our sincere apologies for inadvertently inflicting pain and distress to anyone affected by totalitarian regimes in the past by failing to strictly review the clothing and accessories that our members were made to wear, as well as to anyone who may have experienced distress and discomfort by witnessing an association of our artists with imagery reminiscent of political extremism.
– Nevertheless, Big Hit bears all responsibilities for not providing the necessary and careful support to our artist that may have prevented these issues, and we would like to make clear that our artists, especially due to their extensive schedules and the complexities of on-site conditions, are in no way responsible for any of the issues outlined above.
4. Regarding the issue of the performance of which concerns have been raised, we would like to provide the following explanation.
– The images being cited in recent discussions are part of a performance commemorating the legendary Korean artist Seo Taiji in 2017 in which Big Hit artists took part, and specifically from the part of the performance of “Gyosil Idea” (classroom ideology) that levies social criticism against rigidly standardized education.
– The flags and images were creative elements completely unrelated to national socialism, and the core message of the performance itself was criticism against restrictively uniform and authoritarian educational systems.
– The performance is in no way associated with National Socialism as some observers have alleged, and in fact it should be noted that the performance includes creative elements that are designed to direct criticism against these very elements of totalitarianism.
5. Big Hit will do our utmost to address the issues recently raised.
– “To heal and inspire all the people of the world through our music and artists” is the core reason for the existence of Big Hit Entertainment. It is our challenge as well as responsibility to carefully take all the necessary considerations that reflect our increasingly diverse and inclusive world, and we are doing our utmost to do our part in ensuring that this diversity and tolerance takes firm root in our community and among everyone around us.
– We will carefully examine and review not only these issues but all activities involving Big Hit and our artists based on a firm understanding of diverse social, historical and cultural considerations to ensure that we never cause any injury, pain or distress to anyone.
– We would like to again offer our sincerest apologies to anyone who has suffered pain, distress and discomfort due to our shortcomings and oversight in ensuring that these matters receive our most careful attention.
6. Big Hit is taking the following steps to ensure that these issues are properly addressed.
– Big Hit has contacted associations in Japan and Korea representing those affected by the atomic bombings to provide explanations and apologies to anyone who may have been distressed or in any way affected.
– Big Hit has delivered a letter to the Simon Wiesenthal Center, an organization that has brought some of these issues to attention, in order to offer explanations and apologies to anyone who may have been distressed or in any way affected.