My main interest in the Opening Ceremony of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics was obviously what pop acts Japan would use, and my interest was definitely piqued when choreographer MIKIKO, of Perfume and BABYMETAL fame, was set to be involved. However, that unfortunately quickly changed, and along with her ouster the entire Opening Ceremony has been a mess since. Deserved, honestly.
Anyway, people have been asking me to provide updates on the mess, but I’ve also been out of the loop a bit. Thankfully, there have been articles that I think help get up to speed a bit, at least in terms of the pop culture side of things.
Basically, MIKIKO (and others like Sheena Ringo) had already showed their aptitude during the Closing Ceremony in 2016 and had an idea for the Opening Ceremony that the IOC seemed to be thrilled with, but they were ousted due to corporate interference and political maneuvering, as well as some old fashioned sexism.
It was later revealed that she had a pretty cool and relevant AKIRA-themed Opening Ceremony planned that seemed to use the talent she had to work with appropriately.
Contrast that kind of fun with ideas like the widely publicized ‘Olympig’ controversy that led to resignation of Sasaki Hiroshi, the man who reportedly clashed with MIKIKO and sidelined her. Prior to that, Mori Yoshiro had also resigned due to sexist remarks, and I don’t think it would be a bridge too far to connect that to the female creatives who departed months earlier.
Recently, Cornelius followed in departing from the Opening Ceremony after it was revealed he admitted to essentially torturing kids when he was younger. Now it seems like what could’ve been a cool showcase for Japan is just a cursed disaster.
Amazingly, that article doesn’t even cover the latest breaking mess, as Kobayashi Kentaro was recently dismissed from the Opening Ceremony as creative director due to Holocaust jokes.
Needless to say, it should be interesting to see how the Opening Ceremony goes off now considering all the controversy surrounding it. While I’m anticipating things being relatively normal and not a complete disaster as some are prognosticating, it does feel like they missed an opportunity to promote some of their most talented creatives.