Sony apology over Japan boy band Kishidan's Nazi gaffe

By Roland Buerk
BBC News, Tokyo

image captionKishidan is a popular boy band in Japan

The management of a popular Japanese boy band has apologised after they appeared on national television dressed in uniforms resembling Nazis.

The Simon Wiesenthal Center, a Jewish human rights organisation based in Los Angeles, said it was shocked and dismayed by the broadcast.

The band, Kishidan, wore the uniforms - complete with iron crosses and red armbands - for an interview on MTV.

Sony Music Artists said there was no ideological meaning to the outfits.

The six male members of the band are famous for dressing up as school boys. But their choice of clothing on MTV Japan's Megavector programme proved far more controversial.

The black uniforms resembled those worn by the Nazi SS.

The broadcast on 23 February prompted a complaint from the Simon Wiesenthal Center.

The Jewish human rights group said it highlighted the ignorance of many young Japanese of German war-time atrocities, as well as those committed by Imperial Japanese forces.

Sony Music Artists, a unit of Sony's entertainment subsidiary which manages Kishidan, issued an online apology.

"Although it was not meant to carry any ideological meaning whatsoever, we deeply regret and apologise for the distress it has caused Simon Wiesenthal Center and all concerned," it said.

People in Asia tend to be less sensitive to the use of Nazi themes than those in the West.

In December, a complaint from the Simon Wiisenthal Center caused a major Japanese retailer to stop sales of a Nazi uniform party outfit.

In 2007, a school in Thailand apologised after a Nazi-themed parade at its sports day, complete with students performing Hitler salutes.

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