Tokyo Olympics Holocaust
This undated photo released by Tokyo 2020 shows Kentaro Kobayashi, a key director of Tokyo Olympics’ opening ceremony. The Tokyo Olympic organizing committee dismissed the director of the opening ceremony on Thursday, July 22, 2021 because of a Holocaust joke he made during a comedy show in 1998. (©Tokyo 2020 via AP)
tokyo 2020 olympics

Olympic opening ceremony director fired for Holocaust joke in 1998

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The Tokyo Olympic organizing committee fired the director of the opening ceremony on Thursday because of a Holocaust joke he made during a comedy show in 1998.

Organizing committee president Seiko Hashimoto said a day ahead of the opening ceremony that director Kentaro Kobayashi has been dismissed. He was accused of using a joke about the Holocaust in his comedy act, including the phrase "Let's play Holocaust."

"We found out that Mr. Kobayashi, in his own performance, has used a phrase ridiculing a historical tragedy," Hashimoto said. "We deeply apologize for causing such a development the day before the opening ceremony and for causing troubles and concerns to many involved parties as well as the people in Tokyo and the rest of the country."

Tokyo has been plagued with scandals since being awarded the Games in 2013. French investigators are looking into alleged bribes paid to International Olympic Committee members to influence the vote for Tokyo. The fallout forced the resignation two years ago of Tsunekazu Takeda, who headed the Japanese Olympic Committee and was an IOC member.

The opening ceremony of the pandemic-delayed Games is scheduled for Friday. The ceremony will be held without spectators as a measure to prevent the spread of coronavirus infections, although some officials, guests and media will attend.

"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," Hashimoto said. "But we are going to open the Games tomorrow under this difficult situation."

Earlier this week, composer Keigo Oyamada, whose music was to be used at the ceremony, was forced to resign because of past bullying of his classmates, which he boasted about in magazine interviews. The segment of his music will not be used.

Soon after a video clip and script of Kobayashi's performance were revealed, criticism flooded social media.

"Any person, no matter how creative, does not have the right to mock the victims of the Nazi genocide," said Rabbi Abraham Cooper, associate dean and global social action director of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, a Los Angeles-based human rights group.

He also noted that the Nazis gassed Germans with disabilities.

"Any association of this person to the Tokyo Olympics would insult the memory of 6 million Jews and make a cruel mockery of the Paralympics," he said.

Kobayashi is a former member of a popular comedy duo Rahmens and known overseas for comedy series including "The Japanese Tradition."

Japan is pushing ahead with the Olympics against the advice of most of its medical experts. This is partially due to pressure from the IOC, which is estimated to face losses of $3 billion to $4 billion in television rights income if the Games were not held.

"We have been preparing for the last year to send a positive message," Hashimoto said. "Toward the very end now there are so many incidents that give a negative image toward Tokyo 2020."

Toshiro Muto, the CEO of the Tokyo organizing committee, also acknowledged the reputational damage.

"Maybe these negative incidents will impact the positive message we wanted to deliver to the world," he said.

The last-minute scandals come as Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga's government faces criticism for prioritizing the Olympics despite public health concerns amid a resurgence of coronavirus infections.

Kobayashi's Holocaust joke and Oyamada's resignation were the latest to plague the Games. Yoshiro Mori resigned as organizing committee president over sexist remarks. Hiroshi Sasaki also stepped down as creative director for the opening and closing ceremonies after suggesting a Japanese actress should dress as a pig.

Also this week, the chiropractor for the American women's wrestling team apologized after comparing Olympic COVID-19 protocols to Nazi Germany in a social media post. Rosie Gallegos-Main, the team's chiropractor since 2009, will be allowed to finish her planned stay at USA Wrestling's pre-Olympic camp in Nakatsugawa, Japan.

© Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.

©2021 GPlusMedia Inc.

123 Comments
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So who accused him? Any proof? Half of my family is Jewish and they think these kinds of firings and public shaming based on vague, proofless accusations of long-ago events are out of hand.

13 ( +44 / -31 )

And it took until the day before the Opening Ceremony to find this out .... smells fishy

52 ( +62 / -10 )

So who accused him? Any proof? Half of my family is Jewish and they think these kinds of firings and public shaming based on vague, proofless accusations of long-ago events are out of hand.

Well, there are videos of the performance on Youtube...

31 ( +41 / -10 )

If the accusations are accurate…you have to wonder if this isn’t some kind of subconscious self-sabotage of the games.

Covid cases in the village, chaos at the airport, the IOC people being subjected to a totally different set of standards to the people of Japan, one of the composers quitting, and now this?

This would sink any normal sporting event.

25 ( +32 / -7 )

What effect does the firing have? Hasn't the ceremony already been directed? Does it mean he won't get paid/credited?

16 ( +19 / -3 )

Idiots. I'm sure every single person in the world has said something racist, biggotted, or offensive in their lives.

25 ( +46 / -21 )

I agree with Sam. I am Jewish as well and find that things get blown out of proportion. We all say regrettable things at some points in our life. If it was perpetual racism like Mel Gibson has and continues to spew out then it is warranted but has this guy continuously said things to hurt people? That is the real question.

13 ( +27 / -14 )

Another day, another olympics meme.

That being said:

Not that I know any details, but typically making jokes tend to push boundaries and explore limits though... I mean, it was during a comedy show... geez.

23 years ago, and they act on it today...

(But perhaps my thinking is a bit off in my imagination?)

9 ( +17 / -8 )

So a comedian makes a joke and is admonished for it over 20 years later? Comedy is just an art form that jests at how ridiculous our existence is. A world in which we cannot joke about anything is a cold bitter place full of grey shadows.

16 ( +30 / -14 )

The comment was 「ユダヤ人大量虐殺ごっこをやろう」“let’s massacre Jewish people".

Not sure if that was something funny to say back in 1998. /s

Sad, as Ramens were pretty funny.

-7 ( +11 / -18 )

Shame on the protesters who are desperately searching up things and desperately trying to cancel the Olympics. Now the opening ceremony will be nothing as planned and the whole world will we watching us.

-19 ( +5 / -24 )

Compare the speed with which this decision was taken to the delays and reluctance behind the forced resignations of Mori for sexism and Oyamada for sadistic treatment of the less advantaged.

16 ( +20 / -4 )

The guy was a jerk, once, 23 years ago. But he hasn't gone around with a chip on his shoulder since then. Give him benefit of a doubt.

4 ( +17 / -13 )

Cancel culture is lame. Who cares what people did decades ago, we all make mistakes, stop crucifying everyone for being human

7 ( +24 / -17 )

Show me the evidence, innocent until proven guilty, no?

-27 ( +2 / -29 )

For those wondering on what's happening and or attempting to argue in his favor:

-the Simon Wiesenthal Center (look it up if you don't know) spoke out against him in the past day, and unlike other Japanese Olympic staff mired in their own controversy, he was not given the chance to "apologize" and "move forward.

Because when the SWC steps in, its best to disassociate from the controversy as fast as possible. Any argument with them is futile.

0 ( +14 / -14 )

irairaToday  01:09 pm JST

The comment was 「ユダヤ人大量虐殺ごっこをやろう」“let’s massacre Jewish people".

Not sure if that was something funny to say back in 1998. /s

Thank you for researching that.

divindaToday  01:21 pm JST

For those wondering on what's happening and or attempting to argue in his favor:

-the Simon Wiesenthal Center (look it up if you don't know) spoke out against him in the past day, and unlike other Japanese Olympic staff mired in their own controversy, he was not given the chance to "apologize" and "move forward.

Because when the SWC steps in, its best to disassociate from the controversy as fast as possible. Any argument with them is futile.

Exactly, as there is no argument with the SWC on this issue. The comment was broadcast. Whether the guy apologizes or not, moving forward without him.

-9 ( +7 / -16 )

got fired for a joke in 1998

Ha ha ha that’s an even better joke

nobody is safe from this trawling through people’s histories right on the cusp of them doing a job

-1 ( +14 / -15 )

Cancel culture is lame. It's never gonna fix anything.

1 ( +17 / -16 )

Not wishing to defend the guy or even to understand his joke, especially out of context, but in the interest of clarity ごっこ (-gokko) means a game of 'make believe', like play at keeping a shop, play doctors, etc. "Let's play mothers".

Pretty poor way of getting a laugh, if anyone did actually laugh. And who even digs this stuff up, as Sam said above?

Still, another one bites the dust.

10 ( +14 / -4 )

Good. Kobayashi is an old loser. If he really had anything to do with this ceremony, it will be a disaster - like everything else about the games.

Worst Olympics since '36.

-7 ( +11 / -18 )

Why was he even hired then?

2 ( +10 / -8 )

Why was he even hired then?

Because the Tokyo organizing committee didnt do their due diligence on this grub, or his fellow dropkick Oyamada, who subjected a disabled child to perverted sexual acts, abuse and bullying a for many years.

Complete failure of the organizers. But not a single person is surprised at that.

Just cancel the trainwreck and end the rolling disaster.

-2 ( +8 / -10 )

Taro Aso famously suggested that Hitler had the right motives

何百万人殺しちゃったヒトラーは、いくら動機が正しくてもだめなんです

but was allowed to retract it. I wonder why that's not happened here.

Mori was at that 40-person inner circle party for the IOC the other day. He's still involved with the Games.

16 ( +20 / -4 )

Shame on the protesters who are desperately searching up things and desperately trying to cancel the Olympics. Now the opening ceremony will be nothing as planned and the whole world will we watching us."

Look at the bright side , if the spotlight of the Olympics and the international media flushes out for all to see the under the surface racism, bigotry and discrimination that permeates the J- society and forces it to self reflect a little bit than it's a positive thing. There might be some realization here ( hopefully ) that attitudes which allow for racist jokes or bullying of disabled children are not values that other countries tolerate. Japan wants desperately to be included in the " advanced countries " club and it needs to realize there is more to that membership than just being able to make good cars.

3 ( +10 / -7 )

There are some things you don't joke about. The systematic slaughter of 6 million Jews is one of them. The bigger issue is How did the organizing committee not vet any of these people.

0 ( +12 / -12 )

This is what happens when democratic world standards are applied to Japan. Also the LDP selection process for such positions.

3 ( +8 / -5 )

If he did anything legal although it was a bad joke, why punish him ?

With this kind of "killer" treatment of people, anyone on Earth is meant to be unfairly punish among us.

There shall not be the law and the morale set as equivalent.

-5 ( +3 / -8 )

Man, I'm glad I grew up in the pre-internet age.

While I've never made jokes about the holocaust, I (like most people, probably) did things when young which would embarrass the living daylights out of me now if they were caught on camera or otherwise documented.

That's not to excuse this guy. If he actually did make such jokes, he deserves to be chucked out on his ear.

But nowadays it's like you have to be on the qui vive 24 hours a day...

-8 ( +4 / -12 )

Olympic opening ceremony director fired for Holocaust joke in 1998

That was one remark 23 years ago! Show me one person that did not say something stupid once in the last 23 years.

This ridiculous cancel culture is getting out of hand.

8 ( +20 / -12 )

Would he have been fired if he had made a joke about a Japanese war crime such as the Comfort Women or Nanking?

5 ( +13 / -8 )

irairaToday  01:09 pm JST

The comment was 「ユダヤ人大量虐殺ごっこをやろう」“let’s massacre Jewish people".

Not sure if that was something funny to say back in 1998. /s

Sad, as Ramens were pretty funny.

Do you know what Gokko ごっこ is? It's to play/pretend.

Nobody ever said "Let's massacre Jewish people" suggesting that people be killed.

The correct translation is "Let's play Holoaust (massacre of Jewish people)".

Back to Japaneses 101 for you.

-4 ( +10 / -14 )

letsberealisticToday  02:06 pm JST

Would he have been fired if he had made a joke about a Japanese war crime such as the Comfort Women or Nanking?

Right. What if Bach, or another IOC member had made a similar joke about people killed by the Doolittle Air Raids, or the dropping of the atomic bombs publicly at some point?

-6 ( +5 / -11 )

Sure. Metaphors, jokes, double-meanings and sarcasm are prohibited… Just in case if some square-headed dude didn’t get it and will make a campaign/movement on Twitter.

3 ( +9 / -6 )

How nice that they chose to publicize a 23 year old joke that the world would be best forgetting. Lot of people say stupid things when they are young. Holding them responsible for it when they are older and wiser is foolish.

0 ( +7 / -7 )

Man,the Olympics have become Japan's Pandora's Box.

Got to say that I am enjoying seeing Japan finally arriving in the 21st century.

Feel sorry for the honest to goodness rank and file but schadenfreude is the first thought that comes to mind when there is yet another scandal involving the IOC,JOC and LDP.

2 ( +7 / -5 )

I envy these dummies getting paid tons and tons of money to hire random people to work the Olympics without researching their past.

3 ( +9 / -6 )

SpitfireToday  02:22 pm JST

Man,the Olympics have become Japan's Pandora's Box.

Got to say that I am enjoying seeing Japan finally arriving in the 21st century.

Was just thinking the same thing. These kind of behaviors that are usually covered up are the same kinds that spawn sexual harassment, power harassment, and racism in this country. Time for the world to see the real Japan.

-5 ( +8 / -13 )

A negative, hate fueled mob of nerds spending their every waking hour trawling the history of the internet in order to find any out of context word or phrase that does not fit well with their 2021 agreed ethical standards of speech.

Time to cancel, cancel culture.

0 ( +12 / -12 )

.....ok if he is the director & is fired then clearly the opening ""ceremony"" is TOAST!!!

-2 ( +4 / -6 )

people are way to soft and sensitive these days. let him apologize and carry on

-7 ( +5 / -12 )

Ossian….the offense to some people is clear….game or not….

-9 ( +1 / -10 )

Boy, the JOC is just picking the winners, aren't they?

First the least popular ex-prime minister in J history; the bully of mentally challenged kids, and now Holocaust joke-man.

Do they even know how to vet people?

-2 ( +8 / -10 )

Yes, if you dig in anybody’s past you’ll find something reprehensible. But not everybody is employed to direct and represent the Olympics. No sympathy.

-8 ( +3 / -11 )

Be great so see this guy and that cornwholeius dude get their come uppance in public on stage in front of the world.

-8 ( +1 / -9 )

Media takes things out of context these days. Would be hard to gauge something, so far back. Political Correctness has made the world numb to reality.

-3 ( +4 / -7 )

What’s kind of weird is that they fired the guy so quickly. So clearly they talked to him about this beforehand and decided that they were not even going to give him a chance to make a public apology. So maybe he wouldn’t apologize, maybe he still thinks the joke is funny. As Kobayashi hasn’t made a statement, hard to know if he’s a Mel Gibson fan or not.

-5 ( +1 / -6 )

That was one remark 23 years ago! Show me one person that did not say something stupid once in the last 23 years.

It does nay matter. If the wokerati do not like the cut of your jib, you are out on your rrse. And for that matter, even if you have led a fairly anodyne lifestyle, they will confect something to impugn you with.

We live in the most morally self-righteous times this side of the Middle Ages.

-1 ( +7 / -8 )

It's mind boggling that they were not vetted before being chosen for this, and that all this dirty linen is being washed hours before the actual opening ceremony. I know Japan is often playing catch-up, but for something like this, when the world's eyes were going to be on Japan, I don't get that they would check someone is not going to damage their image.

And for the 'C'mon, it was a long time ago' brigade, if you want to leave 'stuff' behind you, better to come out, talk about it and say you have learnt better. . Except that's a bit of an alien concept here, seeing as stains here can be passed down the generations.

If you were a teenager when you did dumb stuff, the adult you can own it and move on. Disgusting and sadistic as what composer Keigo Oyamada did, it was his publicly bragging about it years later that made it even more gross.

And as for Kobayashi's 'I was only joking' excuse, that's what bullies always try to trot out when called out. Just don't joke about some things.

-5 ( +7 / -12 )

His comments were 23 years ago, does it really matter? he probably would not make them now in todays society, has it been done to make his look bad? how did this comment come to light? by sacking him just right now, has only put a spot light on him, and the commity that sacked him, is any one really bothered what a comedian said 23 years ago? i dought it.

1 ( +9 / -8 )

There is no freedom of speech anymore.

-4 ( +10 / -14 )

It is taboo to both joke about the Holocaust and discuss the actual root causes. So it is inevitable that events like that will happen over and over again.

-6 ( +4 / -10 )

23 years ago!

-2 ( +6 / -8 )

The woke-lympics strike again! This event is a money grabbing corrupt, virtue signaling circus. I LOVED the Olympics as a kid, but this has been hijacked by the globalist woke crowd. Cancel it.

-2 ( +5 / -7 )

Utterly stupid reasoning for an almost 25 year ago joke.Yes it was in bad taste,but no-one cared then.But it got dug up to create unnecessary drama.Society or bored people with Jack to do, are going to render comedy illegal if you can't tell a joke in bad taste.

-1 ( +7 / -8 )

@The Avenger,

"It is taboo to both joke about the Holocaust and discuss the actual root causes." 

LOL, it's not taboo to discuss the causes of the Holocaust. You are parroting Neo-Nazi propaganda.

2 ( +9 / -7 )

@Bjorn Tomention,

"that cornwholeius dude get their come uppance"

His behaviour was disgraceful.

-6 ( +2 / -8 )

There is no freedom of speech anymore.

He said it didn't he? He was free to do so.

-8 ( +3 / -11 )

They should cancel the opening ceremony now, only sensible thing to do.

-3 ( +4 / -7 )

I have the driest dark sense of humour, wizened, causing me all sorts of grief.

I would struggle to find a giggle out of holocaust humour.

."Let's play Holocaust." …...How does that work? It could never be mistaken for scrabble or monopoly.

The J IOC must have realized who or what they were hiring......

American Japanese Language School (Rahmens) – Subtitled.....

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PR7nVssKpl4

Here's a hint

-6 ( +3 / -9 )

There is no freedom of speech anymore.

Wrong. He was free to make these jokes and comments.

The Olympic organizing committee was free to fire him.

Simple.

-3 ( +7 / -10 )

There are some things you don't joke about. The systematic slaughter of 6 million Jews is one of them.

But was that not the point that the comedy sketch was making? i.e. only a completely stupid person would play a game based on the holocaust. In a way, the sketch did recognize its scale and horror.

-4 ( +3 / -7 )

I don't know the guy (nor care) but this happend this in 23 years ago... just watch a friends rerun to see how cringy the comedy was back then and everyone would be fired.

-4 ( +3 / -7 )

I can't help but wonder if some serial killer isn't going to come calling out the J organizing committee woodwork.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

It's taboo to joke about the holocaust, which is exactly what can make some jokes about it funny. Is the actual holocaust funny? No. But the shock factor that can come from the delivery of a joke about the holocaust can be funny. Of course, it's not going to be funny for some people. Most jokes are not going to be funny to some people. But this guy isn't an evil man because he made a joke about the holocaust. You'd have to show me more evidence that he is a bigot than what is outlined in this article.

Unfortunately, the other side of the coin is that the Olympics are bringing together people from almost every culture and country, and therefore cannot afford political bias in any direction. There was no result other than this guy quitting or getting fired, once this story came out. His fate was sealed.

3 ( +10 / -7 )

OLYMPICS is affecting people with Corona V, or even killing people, therefore why are u not dealing with bach or Prime-minister suga??!

0 ( +5 / -5 )

And they discovered suddenly now?

Truth is that the J-government is made by a vast majority of ultra conservative affiliated to certain groups that are revisionist and revanchist toward the last world conflict.

It is all sooo disgusting.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Good. Kobayashi is an old loser. If he really had anything to do with this ceremony, it will be a disaster - like everything else about the games.

Worst Olympics since '36.

Nah, try St. Louis, 1904. Was on a whole other level.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

It is a valid point the British have been rolling around splitting there side for years.

Monty Python, Fawlty Towers, even Dad's Army

However gallows humour, has to viewed in its context ........

“Will you stop talking about the war?” snapped one. “Me?” asked Fawlty. “You started it.” “We did not start it!” “Yes, you did – you invaded Poland.”

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Worst Olympics since '36.

Nope. That would be Munich 1972.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Context is very important in humor..... Some, well probably most jokes about the holocaust, would be wrong. "Edgy" comedy will offend some and amuse others.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Joking about the Holocaust or physically abusing the disabled. Sadly not uncommon. Being an Olympic representative is a privileged position that bears responsibility and scrutiny.

Cancel culture? Don’t be so small minded.

-3 ( +5 / -8 )

I’m not jewish but I don’t see anything amusing in making humour or jokes of over six million people died in atrocities due to the evilness of human kind.

Also Japanese “humour” is different from the one you refer.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Credit to The Guardian for that quote.......

Here ......

Freud, Dad's Army and 70 years of Nazi jokes

https://www.theguardian.com/culture/2016/feb/01/freud-dads-army-and-the-nazis-what-our-anti-german-jokes-say-about-the-british

Where is the balance between gallows homour and outright offensiveness

Let me offer you one of the most controversial British Comedians......Just as the comparison to Kentaro Kobayashi

Bernard Manning........

https://www.theguardian.com/news/2007/jun/18/guardianobituaries.obituaries1

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

Well, this looks like "cancel culture" to me. TBH, not sure what to make of it in general. It looks more like adding what is a problem to what was an initial (different) problem...2 wrongs don't make one right.

The main problem here, being why this guy, but also Mori and who is considered to have been one of the worst PMs ever(!) were put in charge to start with?

Me thinks that it was the Fukushin-no-tomo-byo (腹心の友病) or bossom-friend sickness which is so prevalent in political circles in Japan.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

The correct translation is "Let's play Holoaust (massacre of Jewish people)".

Back to Japaneses 101 for you.

And that version is fine with you?

Then again you most likely subscribe to the Japan went to liberate Asia in WW2 and did no wrong camp , ey?

-3 ( +4 / -7 )

asdfgtr

"that cornwholeius dude get their come uppance"

His behaviour was disgraceful.

Yes sure was and he needs to be taken to task over it, he cannot shrug it off, that's why he needs to get his come uppance ! He needs to feel how he made others feel !!

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Got to say that I am enjoying seeing Japan finally arriving in the 21st century.

Feel sorry for the honest to goodness rank and file but schadenfreude is the first thought that comes to mind when there is yet another scandal involving the IOC,JOC and LDP.

Agreed.... kicking and screaming Japan is being forced to adhere to some 20th if not 21st century moral standard....price to pay if you wanna be included in the " advanced nations" club...guess the oyajis didn't expect this when they bid for the Olympics.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

Why was it not criticized until now and suddenly surfaced? I think, disclosure was done by Japanese who were jealous about Oyamada and Kobayashi. By the way, translation "Let's massacre Jewish people" is not right as some pointed out.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

A financial black hole even before Covid hit. Corruption, sexist old dinosaurs, sickos getting off on abusing disabled kids and now this ( I must agree with the earlier post about the strange timing of this ).

Not a good look, Japan. Not good at all.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

Funny that “Let's play Holocaust” phrase is slightly aligned with what IOC is doing by locking up the athletes during the pandemic in the olympic village with paper houses where they can’t escape from, forced to compete with each other under the burning sun of Japanese summer…

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

This muckraking is going to have the opposite effect of what the Social Justice Warriors intend...

Japanese people are going to get sick of catering to foreigners and international attention. There will be an anti-international, anti-global attitude because it's 面倒くさい...

Be careful what you wish for

0 ( +3 / -3 )

These Games are daily descending into deeper farce.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

How many skeletons are in Hashimoto's closet? I bet it's more than Kobayashi's. She's a vicious, petty woman that likes to tear people down. KARMA's coming for her.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

I guess this would be on par with "playing Hiroshima bombing" in a comedy bit?

4 ( +4 / -0 )

The spotlight of the Olympics is opening up Japan's old mindset for the world to see

Don't invite the world if you're not ready for the spotlight

2 ( +2 / -0 )

So no jokes are allowed if they offend? I can assure you that SOMEONE will be offended by every joke.

So let's just cancel comedy.. Zzzzz

0 ( +3 / -3 )

While I find the timing weird, I find it it even weirder that people call this "cancel culture". Isn't that usually thought of as something connected with "woke" mobs harassing people online who expressed "unwoke" views, which then can result in loss of job opportunities or removal from social networking sites?

This looks more like the organizers of the Olympics are trying to disassociate themselves from people who might, through the exposure they are getting thanks to the games, go viral for all the wrong reasons. I'd argue nothing can make the games' reputation worse than actually holding them against the will of the majority of its host city's inhabitants in the middle of a pandemic, but that's just me.

It looks like he got fired because it was possible to fire him. A joke based on the premise of imitating genocide is surely in extremely poor taste. However, Japanese politicians occasionally say horrific things about their own and neighbouring countries' history, and not as a joke, and mostly get off consequence-free.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

How many skeletons are in Hashimoto's closet? I bet it's more than Kobayashi's. She's a vicious, petty woman that likes to tear people down. KARMA's coming for her.

Well there is Hashimoto's elephant in the room that we are not allowed to mention on here without comments being deleted.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Kobayashi's Holocaust joke and Oyamada's resignation were the latest to plague the Games. Yoshiro Mori resigned as organizing committee president over sexist remarks. Hiroshi Sasaki also stepped down as creative director for the opening and closing ceremonies after suggesting a Japanese actress should dress as a pig.

What an utter disgrace of a host country.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

As if Hashimoto isn’t just as guilty of similar gaffes. I bet she laughed at it when she saw it first

2 ( +3 / -1 )

It’s now become a witch hunt after the previous three resignations. Look out any Japanese person connected with the olympics who’s made any inappropriate comments.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

OssanAmerica

Do you know what Gokko ごっこ is? It's to play/pretend.

Nobody ever said "Let's massacre Jewish people" suggesting that people be killed.

The correct translation is "Let's play Holoaust (massacre of Jewish people)".

Oh yeah. That's wayyyyyyy better. It's also incorrect.

The Japanese term for The Holocaust is "Jewish Genocide". (The Japanese "massacre" 虐殺 when prefaced by "big" 大 changes it to "genocide". So, what he said was:

"Let's play Jewish genocide." Can you understand why some people might be offended?

0 ( +1 / -1 )

The worst Olympic ever.

-5 ( +0 / -5 )

Yotomaya

It looks like he got fired because it was possible to fire him. A joke based on the premise of imitating genocide is surely in extremely poor taste. However, Japanese politicians occasionally say horrific things about their own and neighbouring countries' history, and not as a joke, and mostly get off consequence-free

Yep, the LDP core leadership has been admiring the Nazis for years now without any comeback. They had to lock Aso in the basement of LDP headquarters following his comments about old people but he still kept his job.

https://www.thedailybeast.com/japan-shinzo-abes-government-has-a-thing-about-hitler-it-likes-him

2 ( +3 / -1 )

"Let's play Jewish genocide." Can you understand why some people might be offended?

As a Jew, I would say it depends entirely on the context. Remember, this is comedy, not a political speech. Comedy pushes boundaries, and sometimes steps over.

I find it perverse that the guy who beat, sexually assaulted and tortured special needs kids was given every consideration by the Japan Olympics committee, but a comedian who made one bad joke 20 years ago is out in an instant. Of course, I find the whole 2020 Olympics to be perverse.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

I think apologies should be accepted if we can agree they are heartfelt. All humans sin and we must not ruin lives over mistakes. Why do we always want to end people's livelihoods for their transgressions? Words can be harsh but they don't match a physical crime. Eric Clapton was in the news today. His 1970s racist quotes are no good but he has apologized for it and learned.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

According to the article, there is a video of his act, so there can be very little doubt of the accuracy of the accusations.

In all my life, I have never felt like telling jokes about the holocaust, and I do not know anyone who has done so. Life may be beautiful, but rape, murder, and torture are not funny.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

@AlfieNoakes

Exactly. I also thought of the mayor of the host city's dubious attitude to the legacy of the Great Kanto Earthquake.

The IOC and JOC have no values or agenda. They just want to make money.

Japan has been extremely good at telling the world it's a futuristic paradise. Making fun of topics controversial in the West, on the other hand, can have negative financial repercussions. That's why Japan's contemporary genocide deniers get a free pass but comedians who made one terrible joke ages ago don't.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Another ridiculous example of 'offence archeology'. Besides, humour cannot be constrained by political correction, no matter how sensitive the topic. Who here has heard Jimmy Carr's joke about safety in numbers ..?

1 ( +2 / -1 )

garypenToday  06:18 pm JST

OssanAmerica

Do you know what Gokko ごっこ is? It's to play/pretend.

Nobody ever said "Let's massacre Jewish people" suggesting that people be killed.

The correct translation is "Let's play Holoaust (massacre of Jewish people)".

Oh yeah. That's wayyyyyyy better. It's also incorrect.

The Japanese term for The Holocaust is "Jewish Genocide". (The Japanese "massacre" 虐殺 when prefaced by "big" 大 changes it to "genocide". So, what he said was:

"Let's play Jewish genocide." Can you understand why some people might be offended?

No one is defending it. It is offensive.

I was quoting exactly what the OP wrote. If you have an issue with 虐殺 or 大虐殺 take it up with the OP. But I can tell you that both 虐殺 or 大虐殺 when prefaced by ユダヤ人 refers to what we call the Holocaust.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

The composer who boasted about abusing people (bullying is not a strong enough term), should have been prosecuted for what he confessed to when the magazine article came out.

Jokes are different. Censoring humour is a slippery slope. Someone, somewhere will find anything offensive. This one smells of cancel culture. The witch hunters will be out in force running through back copies of magazines and checking social media posts.

Be honest, how many of you have lived your entire lives without saying or doing anything that would get you banned, if the bar is this low? Do you really want everything you say to be monitored in this way? How much of a background check do you want HR to have done when you apply for a job?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Rocket LeesToday  04:05 pm JST

Worst Olympics since '36.

Nope. That would be Munich 1972.

Or 1980. Or 1984.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Samit BasuToday  06:40 pm JST

The worst Olympic ever.

It's finished already?

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Freedom if speech means that. You are free to say, but not free of consequences, and responsibilities of your own actions. It's just unfortunate that these things were said in the first place; it really was not, and is not now acceptable.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

OssanAmericaToday  02:09 pm JST

Do you know what Gokko ごっこ is? It's to play/pretend.

Nobody ever said "Let's massacre Jewish people" suggesting that people be killed.

The correct translation is "Let's play Holoaust (massacre of Jewish people)".

Back to Japaneses 101 for you.

Let's massacre Jewish people and Let's play Holocaust are the same. Semantics. And you misspelled Holocaust.

Back to English 101 for you.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Man,the Olympics have become Japan's Pandora's Box.

Got to say that I am enjoying seeing Japan finally arriving in the 21st century.

Was just thinking the same thing. These kind of behaviors that are usually covered up are the same kinds that spawn sexual harassment, power harassment, and racism in this country. Time for the world to see the real Japan.

These Olympics have been an opportunity for the gaijins who hate Japan to come out of the closet to calm their frustrations against the country that feeds them..

Time to see the real losers..

-5 ( +2 / -7 )

Why to fire him . In 1936 Japan signed the pact with Germany and Italy . At this time Holocaust was already in place .

or this is a ref to the 1936 games

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

“If you want to know who rules over you, look at who you are not allowed to criticize.”

attributed to:

Voltaire

George Orwell

Anyone who studies Humanity

0 ( +3 / -3 )

As for those who say 'he was free to make his remarks, and the IOC were then free to sack him', they clearly do not understand the concept of 'freedom of speech'. It means freedom to say what you want, without being penalised for it.

Sigh. No, that's not what it means. So many people whining about freedom of speech don't even know what it means. It's not the freedom to say what you want and not being penalised for it. This right doesn't exist in ANY country. Freedom of speech is the right to say what you what without being prosecuted.

If you have to pay a penalty, then it isn't free.

If you have to pay a penalty that isn't legal, it's not a breach of freedom of speech.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Do these skits get written and approved by 1 person, or is there an actual process?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

So, everyone 30 yrs old and older is guilty and needs to be fired. That's a great way to ignore the last 20 yrs.

Should the US still hate Japan over Pearl Harbor?

Should Japan still hate the US over the nuclear bombs?

Or can we have a truth-based historical view and move forward, learning from those mistakes.

The world is drastically different today than just 5 yrs ago, much less 10, 20, 40 yrs ago.

I told Polish jokes as a kid. Should I be fired from my current job over that? I told very similar jokes about engineers. The real problem is that the jokes weren't funny, not that they were offensive.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

There's some power that is boycotting the Olympics with this scandals.

There's nobody left from the initial Olympic leaders. Abe, Mori, Sato, Takeda, Inose. Are all gone.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

The Rabbi needs to lighten up. A 23 year old joke had been forgotten until now. It seems most people are more sympathetic towards the comedian.

Rabbis like him give non Jews a bad impression.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Stimulus: It means freedom to say what you want, without being penalised for it.

Response: Sigh. No, that's not what it means. So many people whining about freedom of speech don't even know what it means...

"Freedom of Speech" in ANY country means what the people who control what is allowed to be said will allow to be said. Try unlimited comments in America who shouts the loudest about such freedom and see how far it goes...before someone shoots you or the FBI comes for tea. In my experience, the LOUDEST voice usually has the most lies to hide.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

And who even digs this stuff up, as Sam said above?

Probably some netizens against the Olympics, or media trying to stir controversy again.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

""History isn't there for you to like or dislike. It's there for you to learn it.

It it offends you , that's even better, because then you're less likely to repeat it.

It's not yours to erase or destroy.""

I read this few weeks ago in Instagram and I thought this article may be the appropriate place to repost it.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

"Any person, no matter how creative, does not have the right to mock the victims of the Nazi genocide," said Rabbi Abraham Cooper,

Yes I agree, but I also think that Mr. Rabbi should be speaking out against the treatment of the Palestinians in the holly land and how women and children are being kicked out of their homes daily by the very same people who suffered at the hands of the Nazi's.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

ALWAYS taking advantage of the past, why did they not stop him in 1998???

1 ( +1 / -0 )

His joke was of such a poor quality that indeed it disqualified him from the World of Entertainment for ever.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

"Any person, no matter how creative, does not have the right to mock the victims of the Nazi genocide," said Rabbi Abraham Cooper,

Sure they do. That's how humor works, and in nations with freedom of speech, everyone literally has the right to mock victims of the holocaust. Not that it appears this conductor was mocking the victims.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

The Rabbi Cooper is advocating suppression of free speech.

His kind of thinking , imposing his rigid control on people who do not believe in his religion, is what inspired the holocaust to begin with.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Who hired this guy ? Mori ? Pathetic...

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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