ArrowArtboardCreated with Sketch.Title ChevronTitle ChevronIcon FacebookIcon LinkedinIcon Mail ContactPath LayerIcon MailPositive ArrowIcon PrintIcon Twitter
Tokyo 2020 Olympics

Tokyo Olympics composer Keigo Oyamada resigns over past bullying

Opening ceremony songwriter admitted in interviews to abusing disabled classmates

Keigo Oyamada, the composer for next week's Olympic opening ceremony in Tokyo, has resigned after his admission to bullying disabled classmates resurfaced.    © Kyodo

TOKYO -- Keigo Oyamada, composer for the Olympic opening ceremony in Tokyo, resigned Monday following his admission that he had bullied classmates with disabilities in the past.

Oyamada recently came under fire after past magazine interviews -- one in 1994 and another in 1995 -- came to light. In the interviews, he talked about having bullied his classmates with disabilities without showing any remorse.

The Tokyo 2020 Organizing Committee said it will remove Oyamada's music from the opening ceremony and is now searching for a replacement. He had written music for about four minutes of the ceremony.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Katsunobu Kato, Japan's top spokesman, said earlier in the day that the issue needs to be dealt with appropriately by the Japanese Olympic organizing committee.

"The government is working toward a society of coexistence," Kato said, adding that Oyamada's behavior should not be tolerated.

Oyamada released a statement on his twitter account disclosing his resignation.

In the statement, he said he has offered his resignation and that it had been inappropriate for him to accept the committee's invitation to compose the music for the opening ceremony.

Oyamada first debuted in 1989 as part of the rock band Flipper's Guitar. He later went solo, adopting the stage name Cornelius.

The recently resurfaced interviews were published in 1994 and 1995.   © Kyodo

The Tokyo 2020 Organizing Committee announced last Wednesday that Oyamada would be part of the creative team responsible for producing the opening and closing ceremonies of the Games. The old interviews resurfaced, prompting Oyamada on Friday to acknowledge bullying his classmates.

Although Oyamada issued an apology, the firestorm of criticism continued. American broadcaster NBC, whose parent company owns the broadcasting rights to the Olympic Games, published a story on the musician over the weekend that included a critical tweet.

"How can a person who committed such discriminatory and violent acts considered qualified for getting involved in Olympic and Paralympic Games?" wrote the person who posted the tweet.

An Associated Press article also touched on the social media reaction. The piece quotes an essay by Takayuki Fujimoto, professor of media studies at Toyo University, who argued that Oyamada should step down because his bullying violates the Olympic principles of human rights and diversity.

Toshiro Muto, CEO of the organizing committee, told reporters late Monday that he deeply regrets how the body has kept Oyamada on board after the interviews surfaced anew.

"That decision was insufficient," Muto said.

The organizing committee had not indicated plans to dismiss Oyamada, expressing a willingness to let him "continue his work on preparations." But in a statement released late Monday, it said that "we have come to believe that this decision was wrong, and we have decided to accept his resignation."

The Tokyo Olympics were previously marred by scandal when Yoshiro Mori, former president of the organizing committee, left his post after his sexist remarks sparked a backlash.

Sponsored Content

About Sponsored Content This content was commissioned by Nikkei's Global Business Bureau.

You have {{numberArticlesLeft}} free article{{numberArticlesLeft-plural}} left this monthThis is your last free article this month

Stay ahead with our exclusives on Asia;
the most dynamic market in the world.

Stay ahead with our exclusives on Asia

Get trusted insights from experts within Asia itself.

Get trusted insights from experts
within Asia itself.

Try 1 month for $0.99

You have {{numberArticlesLeft}} free article{{numberArticlesLeft-plural}} left this month

This is your last free article this month

Stay ahead with our exclusives on Asia; the most
dynamic market in the world
.

Get trusted insights from experts
within Asia itself.

Try 3 months for $9

Offer ends July 31st

Your trial period has expired

You need a subscription to...

  • Read all stories with unlimited access
  • Use our mobile and tablet apps
See all offers and subscribe

Your full access to Nikkei Asia has expired

You need a subscription to:

  • Read all stories with unlimited access
  • Use our mobile and tablet apps
See all offers
NAR on print phone, device, and tablet media

Nikkei Asian Review, now known as Nikkei Asia, will be the voice of the Asian Century.

Celebrate our next chapter
Free access for everyone - Sep. 30

Find out more