One of the artistic directors of the opening ceremony of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, scheduled for next Thursday, has resigned this Thursday after criticism received for joking about the Holocaust years ago.
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Kentaro Kobayashi, a comedian and Japanese theater director, has resigned from his position as director of the opening and closing ceremonies of the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games as a result of the protests generated by his “inappropriate” comments, as announced on Thursday the organizing committee at a press conference.
The umpteenth scandal that sparks the Games comes a day before its inauguration, and takes place two days after the composer also resigned from part of the music that was to be used in the ceremony, after another controversy over an old interview in which He admitted to having harassed disabled people at school.
Kobayashi resigned after several Jewish organizations issued protests in recent days over a performance by the Japanese artist in 1998, in which he said “we are going to play the holocaust.”
The 48-year-old comedian, known above all for a comedy duo that he was part of until 2009, apologized this Thursday for “his extremely inappropriate expressions” that he made “when he was very young,” through a statement distributed by the organization. Tokyo 2020.
Kobayashi regretted “not being able to make people smile” and “disrespecting and causing discomfort”, and assumed that the best option was to “stop working” for the Tokyo Games.
The president of the organizing committee, Seiko Hashimoto, said that Tokyo 2020 has accepted the resignation of the artistic director just one day before the opening ceremony because all the personnel involved in the preparation of the Olympic appointment “must be immaculate.”
Organizers “are now discussing how to manage the opening ceremony” and hope “to reach a conclusion soon,” Hashimoto said.
Kobayashi was in charge of the general supervision of the three sections that will have the opening ceremony of the Games this Friday and was in charge of “giving coherence” to all parties, according to the organizers.
In addition to the musical composer known in Japan as Cornelius, who resigned on Monday, in previous months the former chairman of the organizing committee, Yoshiro Mori, also resigned after some controversial sexist comments, as well as another creative director who suggested characterizing as a pig to a popular Japanese actress at the opening ceremony.
“It is something that should never have happened. These incidents have had a tremendous impact, so this time we have decided to have a quick reaction,” Hashimoto said when asked about the incessant list of problems for the organizers.