Keyakizaka46's controversial Nazi-esque costume
Keyakizaka46's controversial Nazi-esque costume Twitter/Screenshot

A Japanese teeny-bop girl band has triggered outrage after wearing military-style costumes which have been compared to Nazi uniforms at a pre-Halloween concert.

The group, Keyakizaka46, sparked an online storm with their black one-piece dresses and
capes, complete with peaked caps bearing a golden bird symbol resembling the Nazi eagle above a swastika.

Social media has lit up since the troupe took to the stage in Yokohama on October 22.

In a Twitter backlash, several users slammed their choice of costume as "unforgivable" and "unacceptable" while Berlin-based Japanese writer Ichika Rokuso posted: "Seventy-one years have passed since the war ended but there are many people who lost loved ones. Please remember that."

Other angry tweeters posted pictures of Nazis next to images of band members, who posed for photos in their controversial garb before the show.

"It is shock marketing," fumed one Twitter user, clearly feeling it was a publicity stunt by the band, who have yet to comment on the row.

Keyakizaka46 have shot to stardom since being formed in 2015 by producer and lyricist Yasushi Akimoto, reaching number one in Japan with their debut single "Silent Majority."

The helium-voiced pop queens are not the first Japanese band to cause offense.

Retro-rock band Kishidan angered the Simon Wiesenthal Center in 2011 when they wore a costume the Jewish organization claimed resembled a Nazi uniform.

In South Korea, girl band Pritz provoked protests two years ago after wearing bright red armbands strikingly similar to the ones Nazi officers wore.

AFP contributed to this report

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