Tokyo Olympics opening ceremony director sacked for anti-Semitic jokes

Kentaro Kobayashi dismissed on eve of event for jokes made in 1998

Friday’s opening ceremony of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics has been plunged into further chaos following the dismissal of its show director. Video: Reuters

 

Friday’s opening ceremony of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics has been plunged into further chaos following the dismissal of its show director.

Tokyo 2020 president Seiko Hashimoto confirmed to media that Kentaro Kobayashi has been sacked on the eve of the event due to alleged anti-Semitic jokes he made during a comedy routine in 1998.

The show’s composer Keigo Oyamada was forced to resign earlier this week after footage emerged of interviews in which he admitted bullying disabled children during his schooldays.

And its executive creative director Hiroshi Sasaki stepped down in March following criticism of his suggestion that plus-size model Naomi Watanabe dress up as a pig during the ceremony.

No fans and fewer than 1,000 VIPs will be present in the 68,000 capacity Tokyo Olympic Stadium, with a string of heads of major corporations such as Toyota and Panasonic announcing publicly that they would withdraw, citing concerns over the public’s perception of the Games.

Japanese media have reported that Emperor Naruhito will be present at the ceremony, but will pointedly refrain from using the word “celebrate”.

Meanwhile some of the larger teams such as Britain, USA, Canada and Australia will send just a fraction of their athletes to the opening ceremony - for example, just 50 of Australia’s 470-plus delegation will march on Friday.

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
GO BACK
Error Image
The account details entered are not currently associated with an Irish Times subscription. Please subscribe to sign in to comment.
Comment Sign In

Forgot password?
The Irish Times Logo
Thank you
You should receive instructions for resetting your password. When you have reset your password, you can Sign In.
The Irish Times Logo
Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.
Screen Name Selection

Hello

Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
Forgot Password
Please enter your email address so we can send you a link to reset your password.

Sign In

Your Comments
We reserve the right to remove any content at any time from this Community, including without limitation if it violates the Community Standards. We ask that you report content that you in good faith believe violates the above rules by clicking the Flag link next to the offending comment or by filling out this form. New comments are only accepted for 3 days from the date of publication.