1990s interviews resurface, spark outcry after composer was slated to oversee music for opening ceremony
Content warning: The below article contains details of bullying and abuse.
Composer Keigo Oyamada (also known as Cornelius) announced on Twitter on Monday that he offered his resignation as the composer of the opening ceremonies of the Olympic and Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020 event.
The International Olympic Committee had announced on Thursday that Oyamada was in charge of music at the opening ceremonies.
Oyamada then sparked anger on social media after past interviews with the Rockin’On Japan magazine from 1994 and 1995 resurfaced. In the interviews, Oyamada confessed to bullying classmates and disabled people in his youth. According to the Tokyo Sports website, in one of the interviews Oyamada stated he wrapped up someone in a mattress, and also locked a disabled person inside a vaulting horse. The Nikkan Sports website additionally reported that in the interviews Oyamada stated the bullying and abuse also included having someone rolled up in string while naked and making them masturbate, and also forcing someone to eat feces. Nikkan Sports added that Oyamada said, “But I didn’t do these things firsthand, I just offered up the ideas (laughs).”
Oyamada then issued an apology on Twitter on Friday, stating, “I feel deep regret and responsibility for not being a good friend and for being on the side causing hurt.” He admitted in the apology that he bullied his classmates, adding, “It is true that I spoke without remorse about my heartless remarks and actions against classmates and people with disabilities in neighboring schools when I was a student.”
The Tokyo Organizing Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games responded at the time by stating it had no plans to dismiss him or have him resign.
Rockin’On Japan editor in chief Yōichirō Yamazaki also posted an apology on Sunday. Yamazaki conducted the interview posted in 1994, and stated he was wrong in his attitude during the interview and in deciding to publish the interview.
The Tokyo Olympics were originally scheduled for July 24 to August 9, 2020, followed by the Paralympics from August 25 to September 6. They were delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and rescheduled to July 23 to August 8, 2021 and August 24 to September 5, 2021, respectively.
Cornelius composed the music for the Ghost in the Shell Arise, Ghost in the Shell: Arise Alternative Architecture, Ghost in the Shell: The New Movie, and Appleseed: Ex Machina anime, and also composed and arranged the second opening theme song for Carole & Tuesday.
Update: The International Olympic Committee accepted Oyamada’s offer of resignation on Monday.