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Tokyo 2020 chiefs fire opening ceremony director over Holocaust joke | DW | 22.07.2021

Olympic organizers on Thursday dismissed the opening ceremony director, Kentaro Kobayashi, following reports of his past remarks about the Holocaust. 

Kobayashi, a former comedian, had reportedly made a joke about the Holocaust in a 1998 comedy show.

“It came to light that during a past performance, [he] used language that mocked a tragic fact of history,” Tokyo 2020 Olympic chief Seiko Hashimoto told reporters.

“The organizing committee has decided to relieve Kobayashi of his post,” she added.

Another blow to Tokyo Olympics 

The months leading up to the Tokyo Games have been mired in scandals.

The ceremony was already set to go ahead without its planned opening music after composer Keigo Oyamada was forced to quit. Oyamada had bragged in interviews about bullying his disabled classmates in the past. 

In March, the opening ceremony creative director Hiroshi Sasaki also resigned after his plans to have a plus-size model float into the stadium as an “Olympig” sparked anger. 

Hashimoto herself was named the Tokyo Olympics chief after the previous president stepped down over derogatory remarks he had made about women.

Olympic organizers have also faced a backlash in Japan as critics oppose holding the event during the coronavirus pandemic. 

More to follow…


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