Cornelius Resigns from Tokyo Olympics Opening Ceremony Over History of Bullying

Japanese artist Keigo Oyamada boasted in old interviews about harassing "people with disabilities"

Keigo Oyamada aka Cornelius resigns olympics music score bullying apology

A year late and still a week away from the first competition, the Tokyo Olympics are already an unmitigated disaster. The most recent scandal to hit the games is the resignation of Japanese musician Cornelius, aka Keigo Oyamada, who has resigned from composing the score for the opening ceremony following renewed criticism over his confessed history of extreme bullying.

Cornelius gave a series of interviews to Japanese magazines in the ’90s in which he bragged about being a bully during his school years. Now 52, he recounted making one mentally disabled boy eat his own feces and masturbate in front of fellow classmates. As blog ARAMA! JAPAN noted (via NBC News), “These reflections were not looked back on regretfully, but instead were seen as funny childhood moments. He spoke of them in a boastful nature.”

A pioneer of the Shibuya-kei sound in Japan, Cornelius issued an apology via social media as he announced he was stepping away from the Olympics. “I sincerely accept the opinions and advice I have received, express my gratitude, and will keep them in mind for my future actions and thoughts,” he wrote. “I apologize from the bottom of my heart.”

Apparently, the (increasingly inept) Olympics committee and organizers were unaware of either Cornelius history of bullying or his intention to resign from the opening ceremony. Toshiro Muto, the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Organizing Committee CEO, held a press conference on Saturday, saying, “We understand that he apologized and it is true that we didn’t know about this… We wish him to continue with his participation. He is sorry for his past actions, and he has said that he wants to act with higher moral standards.”

With the 2021 Tokyo Olympics’ opening ceremony set to take place this Friday, July 23th, it seems unlikely the committee will be able to replace Cornelius score in the ceremony. Chalk it up to yet another embarrassing dark mark on an event many are still calling on to be canceled outright.

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With spectators banned from competitions, Tokyo has declared a state of emergency over the continuing pandemic. In fact, despite assurances of extreme caution, the first foreign organizer in the Olympic Village tested positive for Covid-19 on Saturday. A day later, two athletes in the Village also received positive tests.

Then you have Yoshiro Mori, the Olympic Committee President who resigned in February after sexist remarks about female officials speaking too frequently in meetings. A month after that, Creative Director Hiroshi Saski also was forced out of his position after it came out he’d suggested that Japanese celebrity Naomi Watanabe should descend from the ceiling dressed as an “Olympig.” Yay national pride?

Find Cornelius statement resigning from the Olympics below.


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