What is the meaning of White paper Project?
In 2018, a picture of BTS Jimin wearing a t-shirt with an image of Koreans celebrating Korea’s independence and liberation from Japan, which also had a photograph of a nuclear bombing during World War 2 on it started circulating the internet. The pictures were taken from the BTS’ YouTube series Burn The Stage. The image caused controversy and started debates among netizens about the T-shirt’s message and the impact of an idol wearing it. Extreme conservatives of the Japanese media and some international media accused BTS.
Around the same time, BTS was scheduled to appear on a Japanese Asahi music station program. Following the controversy, an announcement was made on TV Asahi’s official website on November 8 postponing BTS’ ‘Music Station’ appearance.
“BTS’ appearance scheduled for the 9th has been postponed. The t-shirt that one of the members wore made headlines and became controversial. The producers asked the intention behind the t-shirt and we were in the process of coming to a settlement with the record label, however, unfortunately, we ultimately decided to postpone their appearance. We sincerely apologize to the viewers who were looking forward to their appearance.“TV Asahi’s official website
Amidst the controversy, BTS received backlash and “BTS are Nazis” propaganda was promoted by Japanese Right-Wing Extremists (JRWE) and some media and netizens started spreading misinformation on the matter. They also digged up old incidents such as BTS RM wearing a hat with a German SS symbol for a Korean magazine photoshoot and the flags used in the BTS performance for Seo Taiji’s 25th anniversary concert in 2017.
While some netizen and media accused of BTS of culture insensitivity, BTS ARMYs were all dissatisfied with how worldwide media misled, twisted, and left some facts unsaid. BTS’s fandom, called BTS ARMY comes from many parts of the world, ranging from kids to elders over the 80s of all genders. Most fans didn’t know the full history or political events related to Korea or Japan. International ARMYs needed to understand the reasoning behind the issue.
So a group of 20+ BTS ARMYs from an incredible variety of cultural and academic backgrounds, all nationalities and all walks of life came together to work on a research paper detailing BTS’s latest scuffle with national and international media, without any involvement from the band or their management —the T-shirt controversy and its aftermath. They deep-dived into this incident by researching the history of Korea and Japan and referred to details about the second world war, compulsory imprisonment, atomic bombing, and slavery.
They published a 150+ page paper called “White Paper Project –The Impact of a T-shirt: BTS Meets Politics in A Digital World” in both English and Korean, which pointed out misleading and incorrect information spreading through media and provided facts to prove their arguments and why BTS was not to blame.
Read the White Paper Project paper here https://whitepaperproject.com/en.html
After the BTS’ schedule cancellation by TV Asahi, the designer of the controversial shirt, CEO Lee Kwang Jae of LJ Company issued an statement.
“I was very startled and apologetic after learning this fact. We did not intend to encourage anti-Japan sentiments and we are very apologetic to BTS. That part was not included to mock Japan. It was simply added to show the truth and the process of how the liberation of Korea came about when Japan surrendered after the atomic bombs.”CEO Lee Kwang Jae of LJ Company
BTS is a global superstar who touched millions of hearts all over the world. But they are also often subjected to hate, bullying, xenophobia by people with different mindsets and agendas. BTS ARMY rightly so, ready to defend their septet at all cost. The loyal fandom is known to raise their voice defending and protecting their idols against cyberbullying and hate towards the septet. The White Paper Project is only one of many such showcase of standing by what is right.
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