VICTORIAN MP David Southwick has commended the Tokyo Olympic committee after it fired the show director for the Tokyo Olympics opening ceremony over a decades-old skit referencing the Holocaust.
On the eve of the event, Kentaro Kobayashi’s comments in a video of a comedy sketch from 1998 emerged online overnight and sparked shock from some in Japan.
In the sketch, Kobayashi and a comedy partner pretend to be a pair of famous children’s TV entertainers.
As they brainstorm an activity involving paper, Kobayashi refers to some paper doll cutouts, describing them as “the ones from that time you said ‘let’s play the Holocaust,” sparking laughter from the audience.
The pair then joke about how a television producer was angered by the suggestion of a Holocaust activity.
“It came to light that during a past performance, (he) used language that mocked a tragic fact of history,” Tokyo 2020 chief Seiko Hashimoto told reporters.
“The organising committee has decided to relieve Kobayashi of his post,” she added.
Taking to Twitter, Southwick said, “Making light of an evil murder of one person is bad enough let alone joking about six million Jews killed in the Holocaust.”
He added, “There is no place for this and thankfully the Tokyo Olympic committee have acted as a timely reminder that this behaviour is not on.”
In a statement, Kobayashi apologised, describing the skit as containing “extremely inappropriate” lines.
“It was from a time when I was not able to get laughs the way I wanted, and I believe I was trying to grab people’s attention in a shallow-minded way.”