The Japanese news media outlet, Zakzak, has reported that Korean artists may not be able to appear on Japanese broadcasting stations after the Korean Supreme Court’s verdict that sparked tension between Korea and Japan.
Last month, the Supreme Court of South Korea ruled that four South Korean workers who were forced to work during World War Two must be properly compensated by Japan’s Nippon Steel & Sumitomo Metal Corp. The Japanese government has been resisting the binding court verdict, claiming that the 1965 treaty had resolved the issue, and the conflict has been straining ties between the two countries.
It has also been announced that President Moon Jae In and Prime Minister Abe Shinzo will be attending the ASEAN Summit and APEC Summit, which will be held in mid-November, but a summit between Korea and Japan will not be held.
As a result of increasing tensions, Zakzak stated that the Japanese broadcasting organization, NHK, may exclude TWICE and BTS from appearing on Japan’s Kohaku, an annual New Year’s Eve television program.
“If the verdict was given at the beginning of the year, that would be a different story but because the timing of the verdict is so close [to the program date] it’s causing a big issue. It looks like it will be difficult for Korean artists to appear [on the program].” ㅡ NHK
This is not the first time political relations had an influence on K-Pop artists’ appearance on Japanese television. After KARA, TVXQ and Girls’ Generation appeared on Kohaku in 2011, former President Lee Myung Bak had visited the disputed island of Dokdo/Takeshima and the rising Hallyu craze in Japan rapidly died down. No Korean artists appeared on the program for the next 6 years since TWICE’s appearance in last year’s Kohaku. NHK explained that the phenomenon was a result of the influence these situations had on NHK’s license fees.
“There were zero Korean artists [on the show] since 2012 until TWICE’s appearance last year. These incidents are very sensitive because it has an immediate effect on (NHK’s) license fees.” ㅡ NHK
A staff member working in the J-Pop industry also mentioned the controversy over the atomic bomb T-shirt worn by BTS’ Jimin and the reaction of the Japanese public towards the issue.
“Recently, the atomic bomb T-shirt worn by a BTS member has been the center of criticism online (in Japan) and when it was unofficially announced that BTS would be appearing on Kohaku, complaints were addressed to NHK. If the appearance of Korean artists were to be confirmed, it may give rise to even heavier criticism.” ㅡ J-Pop industry staff
As a national public broadcasting organization, NHK’s each move must reflect the public sentiment and if the political flow of the Korea-Japan relations is taken into consideration, Korean artists may not be able to appear on the Japanese broadcasting station. Moreover, it may lead to another staggering period for the K-Pop industry in Japan.