Scandals overshadow the Tokyo Games until the eve of its opening

07/22/2021 at 2:02 PM CEST


The Tokyo Olympics are being overshadowed by a succession of scandals that dot your organization, the latter of which has forced the departure of one of those responsible for the ceremony inaugural on the eve of its celebration. And if that was not enough deal with the pandemic and all the discontent generated in Japan For celebrating the Games in the midst of a health crisis, the Tokyo 2020 organizing committee has permanently lived in the eye of the hurricane due to its own mistakes or a lack of sensitivity towards issues that could arouse public outrage.

From macho statements to jokes about the Holocaust and humorous comments about bullying of the disabled, to accusations of plagiarism and corruption scandals, those responsible for organizing the Games have been involved in all kinds of controversies.


The last and most inopportune of the storms affecting the Games broke the opening ceremony a few days later, and the carried ahead to two key figures for the organization of the event: its creative director and one of the musical composers, who are also two well-known artistic figures in Japan.

Keigo oyamada, a Japanese musician, has ceased to be part of the creative team after some interviews he gave in the mid-nineties re-emerged in which he commented, laughing, that during his childhood he had subjected colleagues with disabilities to humiliating treatment. The appearance of these old statements on social networks unleashed a wave of criticism among the Japanese who ended their resignation and public apology “for his extremely immature actions.”

The same process was repeated with the stage manager of the opening and closing ceremonies, Kentaro Kobayashi, who has been forced to resign after circulating on the network some old recordings of a performance of this comedian, actor and theater director.

In the humorous “sketch” dated 1998, Kobayashi and his duo partner they joke about filling a stadium with paper figures representing people and playing “make a holocaust”, before adding that perhaps such jokes are not suitable for broadcast on television.

The US-based Jewish human rights organization Simon Wiesenthal Center issued a statement the day before calling the old joke “anti-Semitic” and stating that “any (Kobayashi’s) relationship with the Tokyo Games would insult six million Jews and make a cruel mockery of the Paralympics“.


The curious thing about both cases is that it involves events that occurred more than two decades ago, which have come to light again shortly before the Games and in the midst of the widespread rejection of the sporting event among the Japanese. More recently, last February, it was the resignation of the former president of the organizing committee, Yoshiro Mori, after the controversy generated by his comments in a meeting where he gave understand that women talk too much.

Soon after, another Tokyo 2020 artistic director, Hiroshi Sasaki, He also left his post after airing his proposal for the popular Japanese actress and comedian Naomi Watanabe to appear featured as a pig at the opening ceremony.

Some analysts believe that these scandals reveal some problems of Japanese societysuch as prejudice against the disabled, discrimination against women or bullying at school. Others consider that it is only the result of intense scrutiny to which everything related to the Games is being subjected after its one-year delay due to the pandemic was decided in March 2020.

What is clear is that A succession of scandals has put organizers on the ropes and worsened the reputation of Tokyo 2020, in addition to forcing them to make last minute adjustments in the opening ceremony, which except for a new unpleasant surprise, will be held this Friday at the Olympic Stadium in Tokyo. “It’s something that should never have happened. These incidents have had a tremendous impact, so this time we decided to have a quick reaction“, said today the president of the organizing committee, Seiko Hashimoto, after the last of the scandals.

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