At the official press conference for Mnet‘s Produce 48, representatives addressed the controversies currently surrounding the show.
Many netizens have been scrutinizing Produce 48 for making adult women wear school uniforms to participate on the show, accusing Mnet of utilizing a “lolita” concept. Main PD Ahn Joon Young revealed their stance on the matter.
“We don’t call the outfits school uniforms, we just call them uniforms. Many of the trainees are young contestants. The uniform has the ability to show their girlish and student-like features. We understand the concern, but we will do our best so that there are no problems.” — Ahn Joon Young
Another rumor that had been spreading was that the Japanese trainees had a right-wing political stance. Many netizens were against Produce 48 because they believed that some of the Japanese contestants had participated in performances in the past that seemed anti-Korean.
During an AKB48 performance, some of the members were seen wearing an outfit with the “Rising Sun” flag (which was used as the war flag for the Imperial Japanese army). In addition, a screen showing “1945” was displayed, (1945 is the year that Japanese rule over Korea ended) while some of the girls rode a tank on stage.
Mnet Director Kim Yong Bum personally addressed the issue, clarifying that the rumors were false.
“We have confirmed that there are no political tendencies. Although it is only a program, I hope it [Produce 48] becomes a new cultural exchange that overcomes politics and ideology through the collaboration of the Korean and Japanese trainees.” — Kim Yong Bum
A representative of AKB48 also expressed their stance on the matter, clarifying the rumors.
“As a comprehensive entertainment cultural company, we have no political agenda.” — AKB48 Representative
Produce 48 will premiere in both Korea and Japan on June 15, 2018. Entertainer Lee Seung Gi will be the host, while singers Lee Hongki and Soyou will be vocal trainers. Rapper Cheetah will be the rap trainer, and dancers Choi Young Joon, Bae Yoon Jeong, and May J Lee will participate as dance trainers.