You are currently viewing Because of "Holocaust-Sketch": Artistic director fired from Olympic opening ceremony in Tokyo

The Olympic Games starting on Friday have their next scandal. Just one day before the opening ceremony, its artistic director Kentaro Kobayashi was fired. He is said to have made fun of the Holocaust in a 1998 sketch.

A series of scandals among Japan’s Olympic makers overshadows the opening ceremony of the Olympic Games. Just one day before the ceremony at the Tokyo Olympic Stadium, the organizers released Kentaro Kobayashi, artistic director of the celebration, from his duties on Thursday. The occasion was the appearance of a video of an appearance by the former comedian in 1998, in which he made fun of the Holocaust. According to Japanese media reports, Kobayashi should propose in the sketch: “Let’s play the Holocaust!”

“Any connection of this person with the Tokyo Olympics would insult the memory of six million Jews and cruelly mock the Paralympics,” commented Rabbi Abraham Cooper of the Simon Wiesenthal Center in Los Angeles, USA. Japan’s head of organization Seiko Hashimoto apologized for the recent scandal. Just four days earlier, the composer for the opening ceremony, the Japanese Keigo Oyamada – also known in the West under the name Cornelius – had resigned for bullying disabled children during his own school days. Hashimoto regretted on Thursday that it had taken too long to part with Oyamada.

Because of derogatory remarks about women: Japan's chief Olympic organizer confirms resignation

The entire current program of the opening should now be carefully checked again, said the managing director of the Japanese Olympic Committee Toshirō Mutō. One will now advise quickly how the ceremony should be held and come to the result “as soon as possible”, said Hashimoto. In March, the then creative director for the Tokyo Summer Games, Hiroshi Sasaki, resigned from his post because of humiliating remarks about a well-known Japanese entertainer. He had admitted to telling staff the idea that corpulent comedian Naomi Watanabe might appear dressed as a pig at the opening ceremony of the Games. In a pink costume, she would appear as an “Olym-Pig”, the Japanese joked.

Before him, the then Olympic organizer Yoshirō Mori had also resigned because of sexist comments. His successor Hashimoto took responsibility for the latest scandals on Thursday, but does not want to resign. It is their job to make the games a “great success”. She will work for this until the end. Meanwhile, several leading Japanese business figures, including the head of the automotive giant and top Olympic sponsor Toyota, have already announced that they will not be attending the opening ceremony for the Olympic Games.

The Japanese television broadcaster NHK reported on Thursday that the former Prime Minister Shinzō Abe also wanted to stay away from her. Abe was instrumental in ensuring that Tokyo was awarded the Games in 2013 despite the worsening problems in the Fukushima nuclear ruin by assuring the IOC that “everything was under control” there.

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