British singer Anne Marie has hit out at ITV for the costume choices on this week's Ant and Dec's Saturday Night Takeaway End of the Show Show, during which she performed.
Throughout the episode, hosts Ant McPartlin and Declan Donnelly had referenced Anne Marie's karate skills, which they then incorporated into her performance.
Ant and Dec wore headbands which included imagery of the historical Japanese Rising Sun flag, which was used during World War II and afterwards by Japan's self-defence force.
Anne Marie has apologised for any hurt caused by it, saying that the costume choices had nothing to do with her.
She told her 678,000 Twitter followers: "I sincerely apologise to all those who were affected and hurt by my appearance last night on a UK TV.
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"I want you to know I had nothing to do with the costumes on this sketch.
"Unfortunately, education on this part of the history wasn't done and I am also hurt by the pain this signifies for so many people.
"I'm truly sorry and I promise you that this will not happen again.
"Our team is talking to the TV station, working on taking down the footage, so that it does not cause any more pain."
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The flag is still used on items such as clothing, product packaging and in the media, and to support the Japanese team at sporting events.
However it is offensive to those in East Asia – particularly in South Korea – due to it being used by the Imperial Japanese military and for what Japan did in World War II.
Since her apology, Anne Marie has received support from her fans who have thanked her for speaking out about it and learning.
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One said: "The biggest thing with a mistake, whether it was in your power or not, is learning from it and being aware. Not many people would have spoken up let alone apologised. Sending you all the love."
And another wrote: "Thank you for apologising for that, and I'm glad you mentioned it without condoning it. I hope this never happens again. From Korean fans cheering for Anne Marie."
Ant and Dec's Saturday Night Takeaway continues next Saturday at 7.30pm on ITV
- Ant Mcpartlin
- Declan Donnelly
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