July 23, 2021


The Tokyo 2020 Olympics Opening Ceremony occurred on Friday. However, the director of the event got fired on Thursday. The director, Kentaro Kobayashi, planned the entire event for years. Unfortunately, they fired him because of Holocaust jokes that he made in the nineties. Some experts claim this is among the biggest Olympic scandals ever.

Footage recently circulated of his jokes from the nineties. Japan’s Olympic Chief Seiko Hashimoto had no choice but to remove Kobayashi from his position.

Other Olympic Scandals

Kobayashi’s removal is an addition to the list of scandals in the Olympics over the past year. Since the beginning of 2021, three organizers had to step down.

Earlier in the week, a composer resigned who was planning the music for the event because it was revealed that he was bullying kids with disabilities when he was a student. In March, creative chief Hiroshi Sasaki stepped down. Why? Because of stating that a plus-sized comedian could be part of the games as an Olympig.

In February, Yoshiro Mori was asked to remove himself from the Olympic planning committee for inappropriate remarks towards women. He later apologized, but this was not good enough to keep his job. It has been quite the year for the committee, and Kobayashi’s firing is just another scandal.

Former Comedic Skit

It’s important to note that Kobayashi is a former comedian, and a video surfaced this week of him making Holocaust jokes. Comedians make jokes to get a reaction, so some people feel this removal was unwarranted. Some don’t even think it should be in the same basket with other Olympic scandals.

In the comedic sketch from the nineties, Kobayashi referred to paper dolls to a person in the sketch as “the ones from that time you said ‘let’s play the Holocaust”.

The Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga, who is hoping the games run smoothly, commented on the situation. He called it “outrageous and unacceptable.”

The Simon Wiesenthal Center, a US-based Holocaust research group, claimed that the firing was warranted because nobody has the right to mock Nazi genocide. However, not everyone feels this way, including Kobayashi.

Kobayashi issued a statement apologizing, but he acknowledged that he was attempting to entertain. He said, “Entertainment should not make people feel uncomfortable. I understand that my stupid choice of words at that time was wrong, and I regret it.”

Kobayashi got many laughs, and it was over 20 years ago. These are some of the remarks that have been given in support of the former Opening Ceremony director.

Changes to the Ceremony

The Opening Ceremony occurred on Friday. But, there were discussions about canceling the event because of a potential COVID-19 outbreak. However, the committee decided to move forward. But, only 950 people were allowed to attend.

These 950 were athletes and team members. No spectators were able to see the ceremony. This will be the case throughout the games. Why? Because Tokyo is still dealing with COVID-19 issues and the horrid Delta variant.

Over half of Japanese citizens opposed holding the games because of the risk of an outbreak. There have been dozens of positive tests already, so this is a possibility. The committee must move on from Kobayashi because the hard work is just beginning.

What do you think? Is this one of the bigest Olympic scandals ever?

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