Opening Ceremony Creative Director Resigns Holocaust Joke

Tokyo — Just the day before the late opening ceremony of the Tokyo Summer Olympics, the organizers of the Games dismissed Kentaro Kobayashi, the creative director of the ceremony, after a video footage of the Holocaust teasing in a comedy act in the 1990s.

Seiko Hashimoto said at a press conference Thursday that she had learned about the scandals that plagued the Games, especially the creative staff at the opening ceremony, and Kobayashi’s joking routine on Wednesday. “Slaughter the Jews” with skits, imitating the act of chopping a person made of paper. She said the Organizing Committee decided to dismiss him “immediately”.

“We have begun to aim for a comedy that doesn’t hurt others,” Kobayashi said in a statement.

“I understand that my choice of words was wrong and I regret it,” his statement said. “We apologize to those who feel uncomfortable.”

In an official statement, the Organizing Committee said Kobayashi “ridiculed the tragic historical facts of the past” and apologized “causing trouble and concern to many stakeholders and residents of Tokyo and Japan.”

The swift decision to dismiss Mr. Kobayashi was made this week by composer Keigo Oyamada, who wrote music for the opening ceremony after an excerpt from an interview in which he confessed serious bullying and abuse of the disabled in the 1990s. In contrast to his initial resignation, his classmates have appeared on social media.

Mr Oyamada initially apologized, and he seemed to continue working before extensive social media campaigns prompted him to resign. “I should have fired Mr. Oyamada sooner,” says Hashimoto.

Mr. Kobayashi resigned as the second creative director of the opening ceremony. In March, Hiroshi Sasaki resigned after a magazine revealed that a popular comedian and plus-size fashion designer had offered to attend the ceremony by comparing it to pigs. Sasaki’s resignation happened weeks after Yoshiro Mori, the former chairman of the Tokyo Organizing Committee, also resigned after making sexist comments about women.

On Twitter, some wondered why Mr. Kobayashi was fired in an old routine, but others said that firing alone wasn’t enough. “The dismissal of Kentaro Kobayashi after the discovery of Holocaust skits in the past is a quick step,” wrote one. Poster.. “But are they going to do what this guy instructed at tomorrow’s opening ceremony? Did the problem go away just because he was fired?”

Hashimoto was asked if he regretted having advanced the tournament amid the growing scandal in the Olympic Village and the rise in coronavirus, and the Tokyo organizer said, “We are facing all possible problems.” recognized. But she said, “Remember Tokyo, which has overcome many problems and succeeded.”

Hikari Hida and Makiko Inoue contribute to the report

Opening Ceremony Creative Director Resigns Holocaust Joke

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