Insider

The opening ceremony for the Tokyo Games is in shambles, after its show director was dismissed for making antisemitic comments

Summary List PlacementThe opening ceremony of the Tokyo Games is turning into a train wreck after its show director was removed over antisemitic jokes he made on a 90s TV skit.  In a clip viewed by Insider, Kentaro Kobayashi, comedian and former director for the Games' opening and closing ceremonies,...

hiroshi sasaki

Summary List Placement

The opening ceremony of the Tokyo Games is turning into a train wreck after its show director was removed over antisemitic jokes he made on a 90s TV skit

In a clip viewed by Insider, Kentaro Kobayashi, comedian and former director for the Games’ opening and closing ceremonies, is seen mocking the Holocaust in a skit, referring to the event as a “let’s massacre Jewish people game.”

The Tokyo Organizing Committee for the Olympic and Paralympic Games dismissed Kobayashi on Thursday morning, local time, after this clip circulated on social media, per NHK news.

In a press conference on Thursday, Katagiri said that the planning committee would “review the entire program” before the opening ceremony on July 23, per New York Times Tokyo bureau chief Motoko Rich

According to Rich, Japan’s Olympic minister Seiko Hashimoto also said in the same press conference that she “regrets” that Tokyo 2020 organizers took “too long” to dismiss Keigo Oyamada, a composer for the Tokyo Games opening ceremony. 

Just this week, Oyamada apologized and resigned after an old interview of him confessing to horrific bullying of his disabled schoolmates came to light. Per the Guardian, Oyamada confessed in the 90s to forcing a boy with an intellectual disability to masturbate in front of other children and making the boy consume feces.

Oyamada, 52, gained minor success in the US under the name “Cornelius” in the late 90s and early 2000s. 

Kobayashi’s dismissal makes him the fourth member of Japan’s Tokyo Games planning team to be removed from his position over problematic behavior.

In March, Tokyo Olympics creative chief Hiroshi Sasaki resigned after it was revealed that he suggested that plus-sized Japanese entertainer Naomi Watanabe could dress up as an “Olympig” by descending from the ceiling in a pink outfit.

This February, Yoshiro Mori, the president of the Tokyo Olympics, was also forced to step down after he made sexist remarks that women “talk too much” during a meeting with the Japanese Olympic Committee.

Preparation for the Olympics proper is in shambles, too. According to a report by local Japanese daily Mainichi Shimbun, the Olympic village has reported 87 COVID cases. Members of Team USA — including an unnamed member of the US Women’s Gymnastics team, and tennis phenom Coco Gauff — have also tested positive for COVID in the run-up to the Games.

Outside the Olympic Village, COVID cases across Tokyo continue to surge. The Olympics host city remains under a quasi-state of emergency, and logged 1,832 COVID cases just 48 hours before the opening ceremony of the games — a six-month high.

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