Tensions between Japan and South Korea have reached pop culture when a Japanese satellite television broadcaster announced that it will pull a South Korean drama from TV a week ahead of its planned airing, The Nikkei reports.

South Korean actor, Song Il Guk, along with pop singer, Kim Jang Hoon and 40 swimmers, joined a relay swim to the disputed islands known as Dokdo in South Korea and Takeshima in Japan. BS Nippon Corp. decided to postpone the airing of the drama called “A Man Called God,” in which Song is the lead actor.

The 220-km relay swim marks the anniversary of Korea’s independence from Japanese colonial rule. The islands symbolize sovereign rights for both countries but are also said to be the ideal point to mine rare earths.

South Korean president Lee Myung-bak said the islands are “worthy of sacrificing our lives” for while Japan says the islands belong to the country “historically and by international law”. The territorial dispute has thrown both countries in a battle of redemption from each of their historical past.