This opening ceremony has had its fair share of controversy.


Opening ceremonies are an opportunity for the host country of the Olympics to show the world what it’s all about. In extreme circumstances, a flawless show, like the one in Beijing in 2008, can help define a country’s global views for years to come.

With a state of emergency in Tokyo and just 950 spectators filling a 68,000-seat stadium, Japan was already under great pressure to hold an unforgettable ceremony. But a series of high-profile scandals involving the event’s creative leadership revealed that an ugly side of Japan that the country would have preferred to be kept off the stage.

Creative director of the event, Hiroshi Sasakiresigned in March after comparing one of the country’s most popular female comedians to a pig. Last week, the composer of the ceremony Keigo OyamadaAlso known as Cornelius, he resigned after decades of interviews surfaced in which he vividly described abusing his disabled classmates. Musical compositions will not appear at the ceremony.

And on Thursday, the Japan Olympic Committee sacked vice-director Kentaro Kobayashi after footage emerged of him making fun of the Holocaust as part of a 1990s comedy routine.

Organizers said the show would continue despite Kobayashi’s resignation. But the last-minute change seems to increase the pressure for a great performance.


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