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

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.


‘Hamilton’ makes a successful transition to the big screen

Updated 04 July 2020

‘Hamilton’ makes a successful transition to the big screen

CHENNAI: Cinema sometimes looks to go back to its roots. Some years ago, European auteurs like Lars Von Trier, Thomas Vinterberg and others introduced “Dogme 95” as a new form of moviemaking, which meant using no props, no artificial lighting and no makeup. It did not last long. However, Thomas Kail’s “Hamilton” — released to coincide with the Fourth of July and streaming on Disney Plus — is another experiment that reminded me of the very early days of motion pictures when some directors in India captured a stage play with a static camera and then screened it in remote regions, where it was not feasible to cart the entire cast.

Kail used six cameras to shoot what was originally a theatrical production. Over two nights in 2016, he filmed the play with most of the actors, including Tony Award winners, who were in the stage version. Every attempt has been made to make it look cinematic, with impeccable camerawork and editing. There is a bonus here. The movie enables you to be a front-bencher at Richard Rogers’ stage production. This closeness that allows you to see clearly the expressions of the actors establishes an intimacy between the audience and the cast.

Inspired by Ron Chernow’s 2004 biography of Alexander Hamilton, the 160-minute show makes a fabulous musical. The release of the film with its intentionally diverse cast comes at a critical time when race relations in the USA have hit the rock bottom. When Aaron Burr (Leslie Odom Jr) sings that he wants to be in “the room where it happens”, the lyrics are sung by a black man.

Alexander Hamilton (played by Lin-Manuel Miranda, also the creator of the piece) is the least well known of the American founding fathers. An immigrant and orphan, he was George Washington’s right-hand man. Credited as being responsible for setting up the country’s banking system, Hamilton was killed in a duel by Burr.

The musical is inspired by Ron Chernow’s 2004 biography of Alexander Hamilton. Courtesy of Disney

The story is narrated through hip-hop beats. Thomas Jefferson (Daveed Diggs) sings his speech to Congression, and the debates he has with Alexander Hamilton are verbalized through lyrics. Hamilton also has a lot to say about America’s immigrant past. In one scene French aristocrat Marquis de Lafayette tells Alexander, “Immigrants, we get the job done!”

Performances are top notch. Miranda is superb, and evokes an immediate connection between the film and the viewer. King George III is brilliantly portrayed by Jonathan Groff, and Hamilton’s wife, Eliza (Philippa Soo), is an endearing presence who has a calming effect on her often ruffled and troubled husband.

“Hamilton” is a great, if subjective, account of early American political history for those not familiar with that period. It must be said, however, the musical makes a long movie, which might be a trifle tiring for those not used to this format.