The Tokyo Chronicles: Cornelius, or when the past condemns you

The world that changed and how the Games must adapt to that different environment and sensibilities.

TOKYO, JAPAN - JULY 17:  Keigo Oyamada poses during a photocall for the Stella McCartney Spring 2015 Presentation and Party at Roppongi Hills on July 17, 2014 in Tokyo, Japan.  (Photo by Atsushi Tomura/Getty Images)
TOKYO, JAPAN - JULY 17: Keigo Oyamada poses during a photocall for the Stella McCartney Spring 2015 Presentation and Party at Roppongi Hills on July 17, 2014 in Tokyo, Japan. (Photo by Atsushi Tomura/Getty Images)

TOKYO - Reacting well and at the right time is an art, an art not always within everyone’s reach. It happened to Tokyo 2020, which resolved a scandal that could have been nipped in the bud. Who could have imagined that Cornelius, stage name of musician Keigo Oyamada, had bullied and mistreated classmates with disabilities during his school days?

Well, Keigo did, and he learned first-hand that revenge is a dish best served cold. From being part of the music team at Friday’s opening ceremony, he went to being out of a job. He was one of the creative and conceptual brains behind the soundtrack for the ceremony, which he will watch on television from his home.

The striking thing is that Keigo himself dug his own grave. He himself had long ago told in several interviews about his fondness for bullying his schoolmates.

But what was acceptable a few years ago is no longer acceptable today. Those classmates reacted, and the social climate went along with them. Did you like to bully the weakest? Well, these are the consequences, is the message that Cornelius and all Corneliuses received. The organizing committee accepted his “sincere apologies” before understanding that the only way out was resignation.

Tokyo 2020 is, it is clear, a box of surprises, and its Opening Ceremony seems likely to generate them. Four months ago, in March, the Ceremony’s chief creative officer, Hiroshi Sasaki, had the incredible idea of proposing that a comedian of significant physical bulk appear at the party under the name “Olympig.” Sasaki ended up resigning.

Weeks earlier, Yoshiro Mori had to step down as head of the organizing committee after saying that those meetings involving women “wasted a lot of time.” He, too, will watch Friday’s ceremony on television. Once again, Games unlike any other.

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