Tokyo 2020 Olympics composer apologizes for harassing disabled classmates


TOKYO – The Japanese musical maverick who composed part of the score for the opening ceremony for the Tokyo Olympics has apologized after revelations that he was bullying disabled classmates recently resurfaced.

The boasting that Keigo Oyamada, also known as “Cornelius”, made to Japanese magazines in the 1990s about how he tormented his fellow students came back to haunt him less than a week before kick-off. games on July 23.

In the 1990s, when his star was still booming, Oyamada, now 52, ​​recalled, in interviews with local music magazines, how he would oblige, among other things, a mentally handicapped boy to eat their own feces. and masturbate in front of other students.

“These reflections were not viewed with regret, but were instead seen as fun childhood moments,” said the popular ARAMA! Blog JAPAN noted. “He spoke of them with a boastful nature.

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Often compared to pioneering American musicians like Beach Boys’ Beck and Brian Wilson, Oyamada is best known in Japan as one of the creators of the kitschy sound Shibuya-kei, which drew heavily on 1960s American pop music produced by artists like Burt Bacharach and Phil Spector.

The star, whose stage name is a tribute to “Planet of the Apes” character Cornelius, posted his mea culpa on his website and on Twitter.

He said he felt “deep regret” for what he had done and was “very immature” when he lashed out at his classmates. He added that he felt “deep regret” for what he had done and understood why some might object to his participation in the games.

“I apologize and I will try to be a better person,” he wrote.

On social networks, the critics were far from forgiving. “How can a person who has committed such discriminatory and violent acts be considered qualified to get involved in the Olympic and Paralympic Games? ” a person posted on Twitter.

Oyamada’s revelation and public apology seemed to surprise organizers.

“We understand that he apologized and it is true that we did not know it,” Toshiro Muto, CEO of the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Organizing Committee, said at a press conference on Saturday.

But Muto said they had no plans to ban Oyamada or his music from the games. “We want him to continue his participation,” Muto said, adding, “he is sorry for his past actions and he said he wanted to act with higher moral standards.”

NBC Universal, the parent company of NBC News, owns the rights to broadcast the games in the United States.

This isn’t the first storm the Tokyo Olympics organizing committee has faced since announcing it would restart the games that were derailed by the pandemic last year.

In February, committee chairman Yoshiro Mori was kicked out after he said women in charge of sports talked too much at meetings. A month later, the games’ creative director, Hiroshi Sasaki, was ousted for comparing Japanese celebrity Naomi Watanabe to a pig.

Organizers are holding the games as Tokyo is in a state of emergency – and in the face of polls which show many Japanese fear the arriving athletes will worsen the country’s Covid-19 crisis.

Two athletes already housed in the Olympic Village tested positive for Covid-19 on Sunday, a day after a games organizer became the first foreigner in the cordoned off section of Tokyo to test positive for the virus.

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