Wednesday, August 4, 2021

Holocaust: Tokyo Olympics opening ceremony creative director sacked

The creative director of the Tokyo Olympics opening ceremony has been sacked a day ahead of the event.

• July 22, 2021
Kentaro Kobayashi has been dismissed as the director of the Olympics opening ceremony over a 1998 joke about the Holocaust.
Kentaro Kobayashi and the Holocaust.

The creative director of the Tokyo Olympics opening ceremony has been sacked a day ahead of the event.

Olympics organisers announced the decision at a press conference on Thursday and cited an incident years ago in which Kentaro Kobayashi is said to have made fun of the Holocaust.

The Holocaust refers to the killing by the Nazis of millions of Jews during World War II.

The entire opening programme will be closely scrutinised again, organising committee chief executive Toshiro Muto said.

Japanese news agency Kyodo reported the jokes had come to light in a recently surfaced video of Mr Kobayashi, a former comedian.

Mr Kobayashi’s dismissal is the latest blow to organisers of the Olympics, which are being held without spectators because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The composer for the opening ceremony, Keigo Oyamada, recently resigned after reports surfaced online that he had bullied disabled children during his school days.

On Monday, the 52-year-old announced he was quitting the creative team in charge of the ceremony, scheduled to take place at the National Stadium in the Japanese capital.

Mr Oyamada, who is also known as Cornelius, has apologised.

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