Why was Olympics Opening Ceremony director Kentaro Kobayashi sacked, and what did he say?


THE Tokyo Olympics has been thrown into further chaos after its Opening Ceremony director was sacked less then 24 hours before the games begin.

Already being held in an empty stadium, the ceremony will now have to be performed without director and Japanese comedian Kentaro Kobayashi.

Kentaro Kobayashi has been sacked as Opening Ceremony director

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Kentaro Kobayashi has been sacked as Opening Ceremony directorCredit: EPA

And this comes after the ceremony’s composer was dismissed over revelations he tortured and sexually abused disabled children as a schoolboy.

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Why was Kentaro Kobayashi sacked?

Kentaro Kobayashi was sacked over an offensive Holocaust joke he made in 1998.

As part of his comedy duo, the Rahmens, Kobayashi made a parody video of a children’s television program in which one of the characters talks about playing a game with a large number of paper cut-outs of human figures.

And his character says to his colleague: “Ah, from that time you said, ‘Let’s play the Jewish Holocaust game.’”

Seiko Hashimoto, president of the Tokyo 2020 organising committee, said: “We found out that Mr Kobayashi, in his own performance, has used a phrase ridiculing a historical tragedy.

 

“We deeply apologise for causing such a development the day before the opening ceremony and for causing troubles and concerns to many involved parties as well as the people in Tokyo and the rest of the country.”

There had been speculation that the ceremony could be scrapped as a result of the scandal, with only the athletes’ parade continuing as planned.

However, Hashimoto suggested the ceremony will go ahead, saying: “We have been preparing for the last year to send a positive message.

“Toward the very end now there are so many incidents that give a negative image toward Tokyo 2020.

“We are going to have the opening ceremony tomorrow and, yes, I am sure there are a lot of people who are not feeling easy about the opening of the Games.

“But we are going to open the Games tomorrow under this difficult situation.”





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