Uniqlo T-shirts promoted by K-pop megastar BTS

Did BTS collaborate with Uniqlo?

In late June this year, a T-shirt collection related to K-pop superstar BTS and Japanese apparel maker Uniqlo came to town to attract great popularity across the world.

At the time, the clothing retailer came up with a line of T-shirts, named BT21 that featured a range of 12 unisex shirts.

Watchers wonder whether the seven-member boy band will continue to collaborate with the Japanese brand, which has become one of the major targets of Koreans’ boycott campaign.

In consideration of BTS members’ patriotic attitude, many observers point out that the band will not join hands with Uniqlo for the time being.

Several years ago, BTS leader RM urged people to thank the independent fighters who sacrificed their lives for Korea during the Japanese rule (1910-45). Back then, the tweeted “There is no future for a nation that has forgotten its history.”

The ongoing boycott of Japanese consumer products here is all about history as Koreans started the movement due to Tokyo’s export restriction of key high-tech materials to Seoul.

The general understanding is that the export curbs are related to Japan’s use of forced labor during World War II.

The row over forced labor erupted last year when a Korean court ordered Japanese firms to pay hundreds of dollars to Korean victims of forced labor in the early 1940s.

Tokyo has insisted that the issue was fully settled in 1965 when the two neighbors restored diplomatic ties.

Against this backdrop, Koreans started to boycott made-in-Japan products and Uniqlo became one of the primary targets after its CFO Takeshi Okazaki said that the boycott “will not last long.”

Uniqlo came up with apology twice but failed to appease enraged Korean consumers. Some even urge the company to leave the country.

Line Friends, not BTS, worked with Uniqlo

In fact, people may not need to ask about the future partnership between BTS and Uniqlo at all.

A source familiar with the issue said that BTS was not involved in the cooperation with Uniqlo.

The source said that BTS did not take part in the T-shirt collection as it was partnership between Line Friends, a fast-growing global character brand, and Uniqlo.

BTS actively participated in the process of creating the BT21 characters together with Line Friends since its launch in 2017, but the T-shirt collection did not involve the boy band, according to the anonymous source.

Comments from Line Friends or Uniqlo were not available.


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Kevin Chung studied literature in Seoul. He is interested in various areas. He can be reached at or 82-2-6956-6698.