With one day left before the Tokyo Olympics begin, the director of the opening ceremony has been fired, making him the latest of at least four men (and the second one this week) to be unceremoniously ousted from the organizing team of the Games as a result of, in polite terms, problematic behavior.
Let’s break down these figures, because we’re all “numbers people” here:
There is now one (1) day left before the Tokyo Olympics. Yes, the Games are scheduled to officially open this Friday, although there’s still a chance they could be canceled due to rising COVID-19 cases.
One (1) opening ceremony director has been newly fired. That would be Kentaro Kobayashi, a director, writer, actor, manga artist, and one half of the former comedy duo Rahmens. He was dismissed after videos emerged of a 1998 Rahmens comedy act in which Kobayashi joked about the Holocaust by pretending to cut up human figures made of paper and saying, “Let’s play Holocaust.” One can tell why he made the switch from cabaret performance to event organizing.
Kobayashi is one (1) of two (2) people working on the ceremony who lost their jobs this week. The other one is composer Keigo Oyamada, whose music was going to be used during the opening. He was forced to resign on July 19 amid fallout over statements he made in magazine interviews in the 1990s, in which he bragged about bullying and assaulting classmates with disabilities “without any regrets,” which he is probably regretting right now.
Kobayashi and Oyamada are among four (4) total men recently ousted from the Olympics for being (alleged) shitbags. Yoshiro Mori, president of the Tokyo Olympics organizing committee and one-time Japanese prime minister, resigned from the committee in February after complaining that women be talking during meetings. (A month later he was criticized again for calling a female political staffer “too old to call a woman.”) In March, the Games’ creative director Hiroshi Sasaki — who was in charge of the opening and closing ceremonies — resigned after calling comedian Naomi Watanabe an “Olympig.” This is a fairly unoriginal portmanteau of the words “Olympic” and “pig”; frankly, not very creative for a so-called creative director.
Bonus: There is one (1) Olympics minister on the verge of a breakdown. Seiko Hashimoto, who replaced Mori as president of the organizing committee, sounded “beleaguered” at a Thursday press briefing, the New York Times reports. “Toward the very end now there are so many incidents that give a negative image toward Tokyo 2020,” she said. “We are going to have the opening ceremony tomorrow and, yes, I am sure there are a lot of people who are not feeling easy about the opening of the Games. But we are going to open the Games tomorrow under this difficult situation.” The show must go on. Why? Well, to put it in more numerical terms, a shitton of money.