BTS’ South Korean label Big Hit Entertainment has removed the single “Bird” from the Korean group’s ninth Japanese CD single, Bird/ FAKE LOVE/ Airplane Pt.2.
Set to be released on Nov. 7, South Korean fans of the group protested the song on the basis of its songwriter, resulting in it being pulled from the album.
“Due to reasons concerning the production, the track list for the Japanese album scheduled for release in November will be changed. We apologize for any inconvenience,” reads a statement posted by Big Hit Entertainment on BTS’ official fan community website. The updated track list revealed that remixed, Japanese versions of “Idol” and “Fake Love” will replace “Bird,” joining Japanese remakes of “Airplane pt. 2” and the original “Fake Love.” “Fake Love” was originally released in May and peaked at No. 10 on the Hot 100, while “Idol” was released in August and debuted at No. 11 on the same chart.
“Bird” is an original Japanese song featuring lyrics written by Yasushi Akimoto, one of Japan’s most prominent songwriters and the mastermind behind the popular J-pop girl group franchise AKB48. His accused misogyny and alleged political views regarding Japan’s imperialist history led to South Korean fans of the group to protest online and ultimately led to the decision, as Yonhap reports. Korea was colonized by Japan from 1910 to 1945, and geopolitical relations regularly impact cultural exchanges between the two countries.
It is unknown whether “Bird” will be released at a later point featuring lyrics written by another lyricist. Billboard has reached out to Universal Japan, BTS’ local distributor, for a statement.
The November release will be BTS’ first Japanese music since April’s Face Yourself, which peaked at No. 1 on the World Albums chart upon its release.