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Tokyo Olympics: Director Fired Over Old Holocaust Skit in Opening Ceremony

By Ruchi Upadhyay 
Updated Date
Tokyo Olympics: Director Fired Over Old Holocaust Skit in Opening Ceremony

Organisers said on Thursday, “Tokyo Olympic opening ceremony show director Kentaro Kobayashi has been fired over a decades-old comedy skit referencing the Holocaust.”

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The show director for the Tokyo Olympics opening ceremony has been fired over a decades-old comedy skit referencing the Holocaust, organisers said Thursday, in the latest blow for the pandemic-delayed Games.

Kentaro Kobayashi made the comment in a video of the sketch dating from 1998 that emerged online on the eve of Friday’s ceremony. “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 organising committee has decided to relieve Kobayashi of his post,” she added. In the sketch, Kobayashi and a comedy partner pretend to be a pair of famous children’s TV entertainers.

As they brainstorm an activity involving paper, Kobayashi refers to some paper doll cutouts, describing them as “the ones from that time you said ‘let’s play the Holocaust”, sparking laughter from the audience.

“It’s inevitable that they’ll face a fireball of criticism,” wrote one online viewer, though others questioned the reaction to a sketch over two decades old.

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In a statement Kobayashi apologized
“In a video that was released in 1998 to introduce young comedians a skit that I wrote contained lines that were extremely inappropriate,”
“It was from a time when I was not able to get laughs the way I wanted, and I believe I was trying to grab people’s attention in a shallow-minded way.”

Kobayashi, a well-known figure in theater in Japan, is the latest member of the opening ceremony team to depart in disgrace.
On Monday, a composer for the ceremony stepped down following an outcry over old interviews in which he described abusing disabled schoolmates.
Hiroshi Sasaki(The creative director for the opening and closing ceremonies), also resigned in March after suggesting a plus-size female comedian appear as a pig.

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