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BTS’ agency breaks silence on controversial Japanese lyricist

By Yim Hyun-su

  • Published : Sept 16, 2018 - 18:49
  • Updated : Sept 16, 2018 - 18:49

BTS’ agency, Big Hit Entertainment, broke its silence Saturday on the controversy surrounding Japanese producer Yasushi Akimoto, who collaborated with the group on the single “Bird.”

In a statement issued Saturday, Big Hit Entertainment said, “We are aware of the fans’ worries over the new Japanese single scheduled for release in November.

“Discussions on the matter are taking place, so please wait a little bit longer,” the statement read.

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(Big Hit Entertainment)
The statement followed the news that the controversial producer behind the popular J-pop idol group AKB48 had written the lyrics for “Bird.”

Some BTS fans took issue with the collaboration, as Akimoto has been embroiled in a number of scandals back home, with many calling his lyrics sexist and accusing him of glorifying Nazi Germany -- an image that stands in stark contrast with the positive image of BTS, which has drawn attention to issues such as youth mental health.

AKB48’s sister group HKT48 landed in hot water over its single “Einstein yori Dianna Agron (Rather Einstein than Dianna Agron),” which contains the controversial lines “Girls better be cute. It’s better to be dumb while a student.”

Many in Japan called the lyrics sexist, including the president of a women’s university there.

In November 2016, the producer had to apologize alongside Sony Music after one of his groups, Keyakizaka46, performed in outfits that looked similar to Nazi uniforms.

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(Keyakizaka46's social media)
The apology came after Simon Wiesenthal Center, a US-based human rights group with a focus on anti-Semitism, called on the label and the producer to apologize.

Against this backdrop, a poster circulating among BTS’ online fan base is urging Big Hit Entertainment to cancel the collaboration, warning that working with the controversial producer could hurt BTS’ public image.

According to Japanese media reports, it was BTS producer Bang Si-hyuk who approached Akimoto about the possibility of collaboration.

By Yim Hyun-su (hyunsu@heraldcorp.com)