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Tokyo Olympics opening ceremony music leader under fire for past bullying

Keigo Oyamada's interview is seen in the March 1995 issue of the Quick Japan magazine in this photo taken in Tokyo's Chiyoda Ward on July 15, 2021. (Mainichi/Kaho Kitayama)

TOKYO -- Musician Keigo Oyamada, who is in charge of music at the Tokyo Olympics opening ceremony as a creative team member, has come under fire online over past magazine confessions that he bullied classmates for years.

    Tweets questioning Oyamada's appointment as a creative team member with the hashtag "bragging about bullying" were among top trending Twitter tags on July 15. The Tokyo 2020 organizing committee had announced the day before that Oyamada would be in charge of music at the opening ceremony.

    The tweets that set the matter ablaze cited two interviews in the January 1994 issue of the Rockin'On Japan magazine and the March 1995 issue of the Quick Japan magazine. In the interviews, Oyamada confessed that he had bullied two classmates with apparent disabilities from when they were attending private elementary school through to high school.

    The Quick Japan story described Oyamada as saying, "I take this opportunity to apologize (laughs)."

    The original post had earned nearly 10,000 retweets and more than 7,000 likes as of 6 p.m. on July 15.

    Many tweets criticized the organizing committee, which appointed Oyamada as a creative team member, saying, "It selected the wrong person altogether."

    The Mainichi Shimbun reached out to Oyamada's agency for comment, but it had not received a reply as of 6 p.m. on July 15.

    (Japanese original by Chie Yamashita, Digital News Center)

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    On Sept. 17, Oyamada tweeted a letter titled "An apology and an explanation of events relating to the bullying interview article" (in Japanese). In the letter, he denies being personally involved in part of the bullying described in the piece.

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