Tokyo 2020: Olympic Games opening ceremony director sacked for historic Holocaust jokes

The director of the opening ceremony for the Tokyo Olympics has been sacked after historic images of Kentaro Kobayashi were released making Holocaust jokes during the latest Games scandal.

A clip was circulated widely on Japanese social media on Wednesday showing comedian Kobayashi in a 1998 television skit that included the phrase “Let’s play the Holocaust,” and there have been numerous calls for his dismissal.

The Jewish human rights organization Simon Wiesenthal Center issued a statement condemning the jokes, saying: “Anyone, no matter how creative, has no right to make fun of the victims of the Nazi genocide … Olympic Games would insult the memory of six million Jews. “

Kobayashi’s sacking comes a day before the opening ceremony begins, which earlier this week lost his musical composer Keigo Oyamada, who resigned after it emerged he had bullied his classmates and s ‘was boasted about it in a magazine interview.

Olympics Minister Seiko Hashimoto said: “We are currently considering how to organize the Opening Ceremony tomorrow.”

There have been many similar scandals among senior officials. In March, Olympic Games creative chef Hiroshi Sasaki was forced to resign after calling comedian Naomi Watanabe an “Olympic pig” and suggesting she could wear pig ears at the opening ceremony.

In February, the president of the Games Organizing Committee, Yoshiro Mori, resigned after making sexist comments. The 83-year-old reportedly said women talk too much and meetings with several female directors “would take a long time.” About 400 people withdrew from the Olympic volunteering program after the comments.

The Games will officially begin with the Opening Ceremony at the Tokyo National Stadium on Friday. The event will not host any fans after spectators are banned due to the Covid-19 pandemic, with the city in a state of emergency.

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