The director for the opening ceremony at the Tokyo Olympics, comedian Kentaro Kobayashi, was terminated just a day before the match began, after a 1998 comedy sketch appeared in which he joked. about the Holocaust.
Olympic Organizing Committee President Seiko Hashimoto announced the move during a press conference on Thursday, saying that Kobayashi had been fired and that officials would do it at the last minute. “review” of the opening and closing ceremonies, both directed by the comedian.
“We noticed that Mr. Kobayashi used comments mocking a tragic historical fact in his previous performance,” Hashimoto said, but added that she would not resign because of the scandal.
The controversial joke that dropped Kobayashi into hot water appeared in a sketch done with his comedy duo, the Ramens, where he allegedly made a one-sided comment about playing a ‘ Holocaust’ game, although some netizens fluent in Japanese have disputed the exact context of the gag.
(TW) There was a scene where the director of the Tokyo Olympics Opening Ceremony, comedian Kentaro Kobayashi, appeared to be mocking the Holocaust in a skit from the 1990s. Here he is seen referring to a “” Game of Holocaust” https://t.co/lPINidfzmp
– Hiroko Tabuchi (@HirokoTabuchi) July 21, 2021
I watched a little bit longer clip, I think the scene was him taking out a box of (imaginary) dolls and saying “ah, they’re from when we did that Holocaust reenactment! Producer Our producer was mad at us for that.” The taste was poor and I don’t understand why it was amusing.
– Phil Knall (@philknall) July 22, 2021
The Simon Wiesenthal Center, a Jewish rights group, condemn Kobayashi for the saying two decades old, say “Any association by this person with the Tokyo Olympics would insult the memory of six million Jews and cruelly mock the Paralympic Games.”
Any person, no matter how creative, has no right to mock the victims of the Nazi genocide.
The comedian is not the first Olympic staff member to participate in the hack-and-slash competition. In March, the game’s creative director Hiroshi Sasaki resigned after suggest a full-size entertainer set to perform at the opening can appear in pig ears, call her “Olympic.” Earlier this week, Japanese composer Keigo Oyamada, who was tapped to write music for the opening ceremony, also resigned after interviews from the 1990s resurfaced in which he spoke about merciless bullying. I miss my high school friends, including a student with a disability.
The Tokyo Olympics have run into a long series of troubles, having been postponed for an entire year due to concerns surrounding the Covid-19 pandemic. Even if the opening ceremony will begin in less than a day, “Cursed“ the game could still face disaster, with organizers warning late on Tuesday that they have not yet ruled out canceling the event entirely, citing lingering coronavirus concerns.
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