August 4, 2021

overtaken by his past, one of the composers of the opening ceremony resigns

The controversies surrounding the Olympic Games are not limited to Covid-19. Keigo Oyamada, who composed one of the themes for the opening ceremonies of the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics, resigned Monday, July 19, after revelations about the mistreatment he allegedly inflicted on classmates, some of whom disabled, when he was in high school.

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On Twitter, Mr. Oyamada, 52, explained that he had “Offered his resignation to the organizing committee”. “I painfully realized that I had disrespected many people by accepting the offer to make my musical contribution to the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games”, he explained. The organizers have specified that his compositions will not be performed during the ceremony. Another option is under consideration.

Rediscovering interviews

The controversy erupted in mid-July, with the rediscovery of interviews in which the musician, star of the Japanese music scene of the 1990s and known by the stage name Cornelius, casually details the mistreatment inflicted. “Yes, I did inhumane things. I stripped a guy naked, tied him up with ropes and made him masturbate. I made him eat shit ”, he explained in the January 1994 edition of the magazine Rockin’On Japan. In the August 1995 issue of the magazine Quick Japan, he said he had brutalized disabled classmates “Without any regret”.

The organizers initially refused his resignation.

Very attacked on social networks, Keigo Oyamada had apologized on July 15 and said he wanted to contact his victims, speaking of behavior « immature ». The organizers initially refused his resignation, considering the apology sufficient and hoping that he would attend the opening ceremonies.

The controversy did not calm down, on the contrary, and the composer finally had to leave his post. “The Tokyo Organizing Committee 2020 believes Mr. Oyamada are absolutely unacceptable. In view of his sincere apologies, we expressed our willingness to let Mr. Oyamada continue his work on the preparations for the remaining few days until the opening ceremony. Nevertheless, we were led to believe that this decision was a mistake and we decided to accept his resignation ”, acknowledged Tokyo 2020 in a statement issued shortly after the announcement of his departure.

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Serial controversies

According to the Nihon TV channel, the organizing committee would have yielded to pressure from the government, worried about the scale of a crisis – marked by calls to boycott the magazines in question and accusations of similar facts targeting other personalities such as Nobumi, a children’s book designer whose youth was said to have been punctuated by delinquency – and confronted with the hostility of a majority of Japanese towards the Games.

“The acts are so serious. This goes against the Olympic Charter, which emphasizes diversity and respect for human rights. We can’t let this go ”, explained to the channel an executive of Kantei, the office of the prime minister, before adding that the head of government, Yoshihide Suga, and his entourage had “Strongly rejected the idea of ​​seeing Mr. Oyamada participate in the ceremonies. The organizing committee has relinquished. »

This controversy recalls that in February the president of the organizing committee, the former Prime Minister Yoshiro Mori, had left office for sexist remarks which had provoked a global outcry.

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The following month, the artistic director of the opening and closing ceremonies, Hiroshi Sasaki, also had to leave his post. He had suggested internally to appear, during the opening ceremony, the popular Japanese starlet known for her curves, Naomi Watanabe, in a pink costume and with pig ears. His idea, immediately rejected, was to play on the words “Olympics” and “Olympigs” (pig means “pig” in English).