On the eve of the opening ceremony of the 2021 Tokyo Olympics, the director of the ceremony, Kantaro Kobayashi has been sacked.
The reason behind the Olympics dismissing the director this close to the ceremony is because of his involvement in a 1998 skit that made jokes on the Nazi genocide. He also mentioned the line ‘let’s play genocide’ in the skit, which only brought further criticisms to his past and his attitude regarding the horrific incident.
Here is what Kobayashi had to say regarding the issue, and the accusations placed upon him:
‘It was from a time when I was not able to get laughs the way I wanted, and I believe I was trying to grab people’s attention in a shallow-minded way.’
Rabbi Abraham Cooper of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, a human rights group based in Los Angeles, said: ‘Any person, no matter how creative, does not have the right to mock the victims of the Nazi genocide.
‘Any association of this person to the Tokyo Olympics would insult the memory of 6 million Jews and make a cruel mockery of the Paralympics.’
While there were rumours for the Olympics board to review the opening ceremony, it now appears that they will go ahead with the ceremony as it has been planned so far.
On Monday, composer Keigo Oyamada, whose music was expected to be used at the ceremony, was forced to resign because of past bullying of his classmates, which he boasted about in magazine interviews.
A four-minute musical piece he composed was removed from the ceremony, but organisers left it unclear Thursday how Kobayashi’s firing might affect the event.