Rising popular Japanese idol group Keyakizaka46, a sister group of Nogizaka 46, recently caused a stir online when the outfits they chose to wear at the Perfect Halloween 2016 performance were likened to those of Nazi soldiers. After media attention and pressure from the Simon Wiesenthal Center, Sony Music and the idol unit's producer Yasushi Akimoto have issued an apology.

(Note: These Tweets are not from an official group account, but Twitter users comparing the uniforms.)

It's important to note that the outfits are not explicitly Nazi uniforms or even referred to as such (a television broadcast referred to them as black uniforms similar to those a witch would wear), and that the similarity is something being suggested by observers on social media, as you can see below.

Many others in Japan, however, see the suggested similarities as a stretch. Sensibility about such imagery can be a bit different in Japan, where military uniforms are often seen in a fashionable light among musical groups and other popular media. Without any specific Nazi markings, it's likely the uniforms would come across to many in Japan as a vague steampunk military type of uniform.

Regardless, Sony Music released an apology on their site, saying (via AP) "We express our heartfelt apology for causing offense ... because of our lack of understanding. We take the incident seriously and will make efforts to prevent a recurrence of a similar incident in the future."

The group's producer, Yasushi Akimoto, also added his own apology stating that he was not aware of the outfits before the performance took place, and that while he doesn't believe the staff intentionally made something reminiscent of Nazis, they were unable to check beforehand and will do so in the future.

By - grape Japan editorial staff.