Japan TV station cancels K-Pop stars BTS over nuclear bomb shirt

The K-Pop group BTS has become one of South Korea’s best-known and most lucrative musical exports. (AFP)
Updated 09 November 2018
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Japan TV station cancels K-Pop stars BTS over nuclear bomb shirt

  • ‘The T-shirt that one of the members wore made headlines and became controversial’
  • BTS has become one of South Korea’s best-known and most lucrative musical exports

TOKYO: A Japanese television station has canceled a performance by the wildly popular Korean boyband BTS, after controversy erupted over a shirt worn by a member appearing to show the mushroom cloud created by an atomic bomb.
The international superstars were due to perform on TV Asahi on Friday, but the station abruptly canceled the show after a photo of member Jimin wearing the shirt went viral.
“BTS’s appearance scheduled for the 9th has been canceled,” TV Asahi said in a statement.
“The T-shirt that one of the members wore made headlines and became controversial,” the station added, saying it had discussed the “intention” behind the shirt with the band’s record label and ultimately decided to “cancel their appearance.”
BTS issued their own statement on the row, but gave no details on why the show had been postponed.
“We apologize for disappointing fans who were looking forward to this. BTS will continue their efforts to connect with fans on stage and also through music,” the group said on their website.
The offending shirt featured the phrase “PATRIOTISM OURHISTORY LIBERATION KOREA” repeated multiple times alongside an image of an atomic bomb explosion and another of Koreans celebrating liberation.
BTS member Jimin reportedly wore the shirt last year, on August 15, when Koreans celebrate the end of Japanese occupation in 1945.
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.
Last month, Tokyo reacted furiously after South Korea’s top court ordered a Japanese steel giant to compensate victims of wartime forced labor programs.
BTS are the leading lights of the K-Pop phenomenon and made history earlier this year by becoming the first K-Pop band to top the US album charts, a sign of the genre’s growing global appeal.
Known for their boyish good looks, floppy haircuts and meticulously choreographed dance moves, the septet has become one of South Korea’s best-known and most lucrative musical exports.


Manganiyar musical experience connects Saudi Arabia with ancient India

Ithra takes visitors to the magical world of Manganiyar, an Indian folk music, in Dhahran on Wednesday. (Photo/Supplied)
Updated 17 November 2018
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Manganiyar musical experience connects Saudi Arabia with ancient India

  • There were challenges, Abel said. “As an ‘intruder’ going to the Manganiyar not knowing fully what this kind of art is, in the beginning I had to learn so many things and try to understand the musicians and help them to understand me”

DHAHRAN: The King Abdul Aziz Center for World Culture (Ithra) in Dhahran has been transporting its visitors to the magical world of the Manganiyar from Nov. 14-17. The Manganiyar is a timeless Indian orchestra originally born in the region of Rajasthan in north India, which has continued over many generations.
The basic song on which the show is based comes from a poem by the 17th-century Sufi poet, Bulleh Shah. The resulting folk music is an audio-visual feast that mixes light and voice and features more than 40 musicians in one performance.
The first Manganiyar show in Ithra was sold out.
“It was the first time in my life that inspiration dawned on me; it was like a heavenly gift,” Roysten Abel, the director of the musical show, told Arab News when he was asked how the band started their touring and performance journey.
“I was in Spain working as a street performer. One day I was resting and I heard wonderful music, which I thought was a dream. Then I realized that there were two musicians outside my room singing to wake me up. I then proposed the idea of forming this Manganiyar band,” Abel said.
Abel went to the Manganiyar’s hometown to create the band.
“I went to Rajasthan, auditioned almost 200 musicians and finally selected 50 to have our first show in 2006. Since then, if I ever listen to an old Manganiyar musician or a new one, I still weep because they haunt me with their singing.”
There were challenges, Abel said. “As an ‘intruder’ going to the Manganiyar not knowing fully what this kind of art is, in the beginning I had to learn so many things and try to understand the musicians and help them to understand me.”
Creating the performance and the harmony between the band members and the director took time.
“The musicians needed to know what this guy who is coming from outside wants? What is he going to make us do? Building the relationship took around a year and a half, and so it took us year and a half to build up the show.”
“I always say the Manganiyar selection was God’s gift to us because it was actually given to us and it runs on its own.”
Abel said that the Manganiyar show always sells out anywhere it goes due the experience it offers. “There has not been one show where we have not received a standing ovation.”
“We even performed in Hyde Park, Sydney, where nobody knew what to expect,” Abel said. “There were a good 10,000 people in the park, and when the show was over these 10,000 started clapping and even stayed for the second performance!”
Abel shared the band’s insights about their first visit to Saudi Arabia: “We were very curious to see how it was going to be received, but it turned out to be one of the best performances and the audience was thrilled. So, there’s always a lot of surprises and I tend to never expect. I just love to see what happens.”
Abel urged everyone to turn up and have their own experience of the Manganiyar. “People should all come and tell their friends to come, and live the show, because at the end of the day the show is not like any other music concert; it’s an experience of its own.”
Abel said that people’s responses to the show varied; some left in tears while others “jumped with joy.”
What matters to him, he said, is that people get the essence behind the show, which is love.