With the opening ceremony for the Tokyo Olympic games days away, composer Keigo Oyamada has stepped down, after quotes in which he acknowledged bullying classmates in his youth resurfaced and stirred controversy.
Keigo Oyamada, 52, also known as Cornelius, posted on his social media platforms, “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. I apologize from the bottom of my heart.” He added, “As for my participation in the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games, I acutely feel that my having accepted the request was lacking consideration for various people.”
“I made arrangements with relevant parties and submitted my resignation to the organizing committee.”
— Cornelius (@corneliusjapan) July 19, 2021
In both the January 1994 issue of the Rockin’On Japan magazine and the March 1995 issue of the Quick Japan magazine, the composer had confessed to bullying classmates with disabilities.
A change.org petition with over 30,000 signatures had been set up calling for his resignation, citing quotes from the interview, where he confessed, “I’d strip (one disabled kid) naked and roll him up in cords and make (him) masturbate. I made him eat shit and then performed a belly-to-back-drop wrestling move on him.”
Many Twitter users expressed their disgust at the hiring of Oyamada. One user wrote, “Athletes with disabilities will come to the Paralympic Opening Ceremony with the music of this Keigo Oyamada. What a joke from Tokyo.” Another posted, “The music of Keigo Oyamada, who once abused minorities and people with mental disabilities, should not be eligible for the Olympic and Paralympic Games.”
Chief Cabinet Secretary Katsunobu Kato, a member of Japan’s house of representatives, said Oyamada’s past bullying goes against government policy of achieving an inclusive society and “cannot be tolerated.”
Already delayed a year by the coronavirus pandemic, the Tokyo games are set to begin Friday and run through Aug. 8. The competitions will unfold largely without spectators as a precaution against turning the two-week celebration of athleticism into a global super-spreader event.