Photo: YOUTUBE
politics

Abe says he didn’t want to cosplay as Mario at 2016 Olympics

27 Comments
By Casey Baseel, SoraNews24

One of the biggest surprises of the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics didn’t come on the field, in the pool, or in an arena, but during the closing ceremony when Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe popped out of a pipe dressed as video game legend Super Mario, as part of the baton being passed to the Summer Games next host nation. But as memorable as the moment was, it almost didn’t happen.

Screen Shot 2020-10-23 at 10.25.09.png

Abe resigned in August due to health issues, and with the extra free time in his schedule he recently sat down for an interview with Nikkan Sports, who asked him about the experience of cosplaying while being one of the most powerful politicians on the planet, to which he responded:

“To be honest, when [Tokyo Olympic Organizing Committee head Yoshiro] Mori first came to me with the idea [of appearing at the closing ceremony dressed as Super Mario], I didn’t like it [laughs]. ‘Is it really OK for a prime minister to dress up like Mario?’ I asked. As much as possible, I wanted to avoid any politicizing of the Olympics, and it’s a 20-hour flight to Rio.

But during Mori’s term as prime minister, I was his deputy chief cabinet secretary, so he was something of a mentor to me. ‘You’re the only one who can do this, since you’ve been serving as prime minister so long and are recognized internationally,’ he said, so I ended up doing it.”

In addition to the 20-hour flight, Abe also recalls that the closing ceremony itself ran behind schedule, and so he spent an entire 10 minutes just standing around at the bottom of the Super Mario pipe he was hiding in, waiting for his cue to pop out.

“I was worried that dressing up like Mario would lead to people cracking jokes about me again,” he added with a chuckle, perhaps remembering the time when mentioning a fondness for Metallica didn’t go over too well. In the end, though, Abe sounds happy to have been talked into his foray into Nintendo cosplay. “But the plan was well made and well done. When I appeared in the stadium, the applause was tremendous, and after that at international conferences world leaders would tell me ‘I saw you dressed as Mario!’” He even ended up getting asked to sign an autograph by the head of the World Bank for his daughter, who’d been impressed by Abe Mario.

With Abe now resigned from politics, it’s unknown what, if any, capacity he’ll be appearing at the Tokyo Olympics in 2021. The cosplay ball is now in current prime minister Yoshihide Suga’s court, though given his slenderer build in comparison to Abe, perhaps Luigi would be the more fitting choice of attire.

Source: Nikkan Sports via Hachima Kiko

Read more stories from SoraNews24.

-- Pikachu and Super Mario left out of lineup of official spokescharacters for Tokyo Olympics

-- Japanese PM Shinzo Abe says he pays his Facebook and Twitter fees just like everyone else

-- Japanese Twitter users surprised that the Foreign Minister did something cool

© SoraNews24

©2020 GPlusMedia Inc.

27 Comments
Login to comment

In addition to the 20-hour flight, Abe also recalls that the closing ceremony itself ran behind schedule, and so he spent an entire 10 minutes just standing around at the bottom of the Super Mario pipe he was hiding in, waiting for his cue to pop out.

The mental imagery that is going through my head at this. I can't but laugh to myself.....

9 ( +10 / -1 )

I'm surprised Nintendo ever let their mascot character be politicized in such a way.

Wario would have been a better fit given his legacy of corruption.

12 ( +15 / -3 )

while being one of the most powerful politicians on the planet?

Really?, so powerful he does what other people want? Cosplay as one of the "most powerful politicians on the planet" seems not that powerful at all. Just easily manipulated.

10 ( +12 / -2 )

In addition to the 20-hour flight, Abe also recalls that the closing ceremony itself ran behind schedule, and so he spent an entire 10 minutes just standing around at the bottom of the Super Mario pipe he was hiding in, waiting for his cue to pop out.

Ahh....poor Shinzo, 10 whole minutes. Dude really was/is totally out of touch with reality!

12 ( +14 / -2 )

Nikkan Sports, who asked him about the experience of cosplaying while being one of the most powerful politicians on the planet, to which he responded:

And just how was it determined that he was one of the "most powerful politicians on the planet?"

THIS is something to laugh about!

12 ( +15 / -3 )

With Abe now resigned from politics, it’s unknown what, if any, capacity he’ll be appearing at the Tokyo Olympics in 2021. The cosplay ball is now in current prime minister Yoshihide Suga’s court, though given his slenderer build in comparison to Abe, perhaps Luigi would be the more fitting choice of attire.

Given the nefarious cronyism of all the LDP clique perhaps Waluigi would be a better choice.

7 ( +8 / -1 )

Very nostalgic watching this. 7 Billion jaws dropped around the world when Abe-san popped up as Mario. "World leaders simply dont do that", they said. Well, Abe-san did, and provided life long memories!

Will Abe-san reprise his role next year for Tokyo 2021? Watch this space...

-9 ( +5 / -14 )

I enjoyed the story. Thank you.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Abe says he didn’t want to cosplay as prime minister.

But he did, anyway.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

If Abe San was reluctant to "cosplay as Mario at 2016 Olympics", then there is a clear political reason for Abe San change of mind, especially considering the length of the flight 20 hours.

Abe san the politician/diplomat, is a secretive, and at the same time sound judge of the political concept to startle, thus win over the electorate. Good eye for strategy formulation, contingency/alliance development, the agility/ability to surprise.

Whatever the reason Abe chose to "cosplay" , Abe is keeping shtum.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Now, if he’d popped up on stage as Mario at a Metallica concert, that would have been epic.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

What does the 20-hour flight have to do with Abe demeaning the role of 'one of the most powerful politicians on the planet'? Oh, right, this is SoraNews 24. No need for....

4 ( +4 / -0 )

20 hours on a flight with a full bed and first class service -count me in any day of the week!!!

6 ( +6 / -0 )

Didn't we already say Bye Felicia.

“I was worried that dressing up like Mario would lead to people cracking jokes about me again,”

It did. Oh, it did.

When I appeared in the stadium, the applause was tremendous

Like they say, they were only being polite. Probably most people didn't even know who the heck he was.

the experience of cosplaying while being one of the most powerful politicians on the plane

All those years in office and he's done nothing domestically, let alone on the global stage. Powerful people don't need to follow Trump around like a lost puppy. Looks like the interviewer was really trying to get his/her tongue dirty.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Plot twist: He wanted to be Pikachu

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Ordered by Dentsu, the power behind the Lords of the Rings in Japan,

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Abe was one of the most powerful leaders on the planet. I didn’t agree with his nationalism and a lot of his policies but he was powerful on the world stage. Everyone thinks Japan is a puppet to the US but it’s a lot more nuanced than that and Japanese prime ministers have enormous powers and influence

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

Japanese have had little to no power since 1945. They are America's geopolitical mistress.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

I think Abe coming as Super Mario in Rio was far the best he ever did...

1 ( +2 / -1 )

I do not read SoraNews except on JT, so I totally missed the Metallica comment in Abe's NYSE speech about Abenomics seven years ago. It probably came up in a Nikkan Sports interview because Abe heard Enter Sandman while viewing Yankees pitcher Mariano Rivera's retirement game three days earlier. That is an odd bit of Abe trivia in any case.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Mario Abe.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I liked his Mario cosplay better than his "effective Japanese prime minster" cosplay.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

 7 Billion jaws dropped around the world when Abe-san popped up as Mario.

7 billion people did not watch the closing games. In fact the IOC themselves estimate 3.5 billion in the world saw at least one minute of the games. One minute..so how do you come up with your 7 billion number?

0 ( +1 / -1 )

It is a good man that can laugh at himself and not take things too seriously. I think this was the highlight of his term as Prime Minister. Well done Mr. Abe.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

It was great, well done Abe !!..

Japanese have had little to no power since 1945. They are America's geopolitical mistress.

Tissue??..

0 ( +0 / -0 )

You know, some of you were talking to mental imagery regarding this. I think that’s actually a very appropriate thing to talk about, considering that this whole story is giving me a headache. I mean I don’t even know where to begin with this one, the fact that as a Prime Minister he didn’t refuse, or the fact that he cosplayed as Mario itself, or the fact that after a 20 hour flight, he complained about waiting for 10 minutes. Seriously, I don’t even know where to start with this one.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

@fighto!

7 billion jaws dropped? Haha.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Login to leave a comment

Facebook users

Use your Facebook account to login or register with JapanToday. By doing so, you will also receive an email inviting you to receive our news alerts.

Facebook Connect

Login with your JapanToday account

User registration

Articles, Offers & Useful Resources

A mix of what's trending on our other sites