July 19 2021
Keigo Oyamada, who was in charge of composing the music for the opening ceremony of the Tokyo Olympic Games, has informed officials of his intention to resign.
According to Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic officials, Keigo Oyamada, who was in charge of composing the music for the opening ceremony of the Tokyo Olympics, informed officials of his intention to resign on the 19th.
It followed days of controversy over his confessions in magazines published in the 1990s in which he boasted about bullying disabled people in his childhood.
Mr. Oyamada had been criticized for saying in interviews with magazines and other media that he bullied his classmates and disabled people when he was a student. The organizing committee said it hoped Oyamada would “continue to make every effort to prepare for the Games until the end,” after he posted an apology on his official website.
Oyamada, who was in charge of composing some of the music for the opening ceremony of the Olympics, had apologized for bullying disabled classmates in the past but continued to stir an outcry on social media with growing calls for him to step down.
Some reports also say that Oyamada’s four minute long composition that was to be performed at the opening ceremony has been cut.
The well-known rock musician admitted last week that interviews published in the January 1994 edition of magazine “Rockin’On Japan” and in the August 1995 edition of magazine “Quick Japan” had quoted him correctly when he spoke about bullying childhood classmates with disabilities “without any regrets.”
The bullying and subsequent boasts about it have sparked anger on social media just a few days before the start of the Olympics.
“I sincerely feel that such acts and language must be criticized,” Oyamada said, adding he has felt guilty about it for a long time and that he hopes to contact the people he bullied to issue a personal apology.
While recognizing Oyamada’s actions as “inappropriate,” games organizers have said they would not remove his music from the opening ceremony. They said Oyamada has apologized and regrets his actions, and that he “currently devotes himself to creative activities with a high sense of morality.”
“Considering the timing, I hope he will continue to support and contribute” to the opening ceremony, said Tokyo 2020 CEO Toshiro Muto on Saturday, a day after he apologized in a tweet.
He said he feels “deep regret and responsibility” for what he describes as his “extremely immature” actions.
Japan’s top government spokesman Katsunobu Kato said Monday that “bullying and abuse are acts that must not happen and are utterly intolerable, regardless of whether a person has a disability or not.”
The chief Cabinet secretary said he hopes the organizing committee “deals appropriately” with the matter.
Ahead of the Tokyo Paralympics set to start Aug. 24, Kato said, “We would like to firmly deliver the spirit of ‘barrier-free’ toward realizing an inclusive society.”
Yoichiro Yamazaki, editor-in-chief of Rockin’On Japan, also apologized for running the interview with Oyamada, saying “It was the wrong thing to do from the point of view of morals and sincerity.”
“I offer a deep apology to all the victims and their families as well as to those who felt displeasure reading the story,” said Yamazaki, who interviewed Oyamada for the story in question.