Opening ceremony artistic director resigned over Holocaust jokes

One of the artistic directors of the opening ceremony of the Tokyo Olympics resigned -which will take place this Friday- after receiving complaints for having done jokes about the holocaust years ago. In recent months, other members of the organizing committee had to resign, including the president for having made sexist comments.

Kentaro Kobayashi, a Japanese comedian and theater director, tendered his resignation as director of the opening and closing ceremonies of the Olympic and Paralympic Games after Jewish organizations will file complaints about a performance by the Japanese artist dating from 1998, in which he said “let’s play the Holocaust”.

The 48-year-old Japanese comedian known above all for a comedy duo that he was part of until 2009, apologized for “your extremely inappropriate expressions” which he did “when he was very young”, through a statement distributed by the Tokyo 2020 organization.

Kobayashi regretted “not being able to make people smile” and “having disrespected and caused discomfort”, and stated that the best option was to “stop working” for the sporting event.

The opening ceremony

The humorist and theater director was in charge of the general supervision of the three sections that will make up the opening ceremony and to “give coherence” to the parties.

The president of the organizing committee, Seiko Hashimoto stated that “They are now discussing how to manage the opening ceremony” and they hope to “reach a conclusion soon”

Hashimoto, reported that Kobayashi’s resignation was accepted one day of the opening ceremony because all personnel involved in the holding of the Games “must be immaculate”.

Other disclaimers

Last Monday, the musical composer Cornelius also resigned after an old interview circulated in which he admitted that he had harassed people with disabilities at school.

In February of this year the president of the organizing committee, Yoshiro Mori, resigned after making sexist comments. “I recognize that the comments during the meeting of the Olympic Committee of Japan (COJ) were contrary to the Olympic spirit. I regret it,” apologized Mori, who was replaced by Hashimoto.

Also a creative director had to resign who proposed to characterize a popular Japanese actress as a pig at the opening ceremony.

“It is something that should never have happened. These incidents have had a tremendous impact, so this time we have decided to have a quick reaction,” Hashimoto said.


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