Controversy has arisen after BTS’ Jimin, 23, was seen wearing a t-shirt containing the repeating text “Patriotism our history liberation Korea” and an image of the atomic bomb that devastated Hiroshima at the end of World War II.
【すごいファン・サービスだね（棒】防弾少年団が日本のファンのことをどう思っているのかが、よく分かる行為だよね。https://t.co/8tLKYA2O1t 韓国アイドル・防弾少年団メンバーが8月15日に着ていた「原爆のきのこ雲Tシャツ」が物議 ネット「わざわざ８月１５日に着てるからな・・」
— 遠子先輩 (@murrhauser) October 16, 2018
According to SoraNews24, the photo was claimed to have been taken on August 15 of last year, commonly celebrated as National Liberation Day of Korea.
This coincided with Japan’s official surrender in World War II (known to many as V-J Day in the U.S.) which essentially brought Korea its independence as a colony from Japan. The shirt also contains an image of the bombing of Hiroshima on August 6, 1945 that killed at least 70,000 civilians with some estimates going up to 120,000.
The t-shirt appears to source from a brand called Ourhistory, a Korean brand that creates street fashion and sometimes incorporates imagery with nationalistic pride.
The story was taken on in this post on pann-choa.blogspot.com, wherein many Korean commenters seem to be celebrating the shirt, including the triggering imagery. “Bashing the Japanese= the right thing to do,” reads one comment.
On a discussion on onehallyu.com, a leading Asian entertainment message board, users had a variety of responses. “Truthfully…I don’t know how to feel about this,” commented one person.
Another popular comment reads: “yeah wearing the atomic bomb is not a good look. mostly japanese civilians were harmed by that action and even the US isn’t bragging about it constantly.”