Asia News: Olympics Music Composer’s Drama, K-Pop Positives

Kyodo news via APKeigo Oyamada Japanese composer Keigo Oyamada is seen in this October 2006 photo. Oyamada, a Japanese composer working on the opening ceremony of the Tokyo Olympics, resigned on Monday July 19, 2021, after being criticized for harassing a comrade of class during his childhood.

Olympic Games Music Drama

Two weeks ago, the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games Organizing Committee announced the music component of the Opening Ceremony on July 23. Two of the musicians involved were central stars of the so-called Shibuya-kei scene, Japanese underground independent music. movement that has come to define much of J-pop in the 21st century. Tomoyuki Tanaka, better known as the Fantastic Plastic Machine, will be the musical director for the opening and closing ceremonies; and Keigo Oyamada, better known as Cornelius, often credited with creating the Shibuya-kei sound with his former band Flipper’s Guitar, would compose the music. As soon as the announcement was made, Japanese social media began to fill with comments about Oyamada’s ability to provide music for what its funders often refer to as a “festival of peace,” let alone. an event that celebrates the achievements of people with disabilities. Music lovers with long memories recalled that in 1994 and 1995, as Oyamada’s star was on the rise, he had two lengthy interviews with Japanese publications in which he described how as a teenager he had tormented and abused at least one classmate with an intellectual disability for a period of years. However, rather than expressing remorse for his actions, in interviews he recounted these episodes as if they were fond childhood memories. In some remarks, he even seemed proud of them.

Suddenly, the interviews made talk about her in the Japanese media, then in the international press, which was already listening to the negative news of the Olympic Games from Tokyo. The organizing committee was understandably taken aback, and some commentators wondered how they came to hire Oyamada without checking his background. Obviously, it had never occurred to them. Several days later, Oyamada posted a lengthy statement on its homepage apologizing for making people “very uncomfortable”. He said he deserved all the criticism he received for his “rash remarks” from 26 years ago, saying that “at the time of the interview I could not imagine the feelings of the victims” . However, he also said he was not given the opportunity to verify the content of the interviews before they were published and suggested that some of the content was “different from the facts”. Nevertheless, he took full responsibility, but in the statement stated that he would fulfill his obligation to the organizing committee

The organizers, in a very brief statement, acknowledged his apologies and left it at that. With only a week before the opening ceremony, it would obviously have been very difficult to replace his music. However, criticism continued on social media, with many commentators saying Oyamada’s music should not be used. A petition was circulated to have his name and music removed from the games and a group that defends people with intellectual disabilities criticized the organizing committee’s decision to keep Oyamada since “the Olympic Charter promises to act against all forms of discrimination. , as well as the Paralympic Games. , which is a festival for disabled athletes. “Then, on the evening of July 19, Oyamada announced that he was stepping down. The organizing committee said he would not use his music.

One question a lot of people asked during the controversy was why is this only coming out now? Why didn’t people react the same way in 1995? After all, Oyamada almost immediately became an international star as a result of the interviews. A seasoned music critic and DJ wrote that when the original interviews were printed, long before social media was even considered, Oyamada was considered “cool” by young Japanese connoisseurs, who viewed his bullying story as a another facet of its iconoclastic image. They seemed to find it refreshing that he was both honest about his past and didn’t seem to care.

K-Pop Positives

As the recent reopening of South Korea’s concert and performing arts industry to in-person audiences is threatened by a fourth wave of COVID infections, several prominent K-pop singers have tested positive for the virus .

The Korea Herald reported on July 17 that Lee Min-hyuk of boy band BTOB had contracted COVID-19, according to his management agency. Apparently, Lee’s vocal trainer had tested positive for the virus some time ago, and the singer was then tested twice, but both tests came back negative. However, he then started showing symptoms, including a cough and fever, and underwent a third test at a public health center which came back positive. He is now in quarantine.

YG Entertainment also announced that two members of boy band Treasure have tested positive after using self-test kits. The members then underwent official PCR testing, confirming the diagnosis. The rest of the group and their staff have all returned negative tests so far.

The Korea Times also reported that a popular veteran “trot” (traditional pop ballad) singer, Na Hoon-a, was criticized for hosting six sold-out concerts in Daegu City between July 16 and July 18. just as the fourth wave was gaining momentum and other artists had canceled scheduled performances. Although Na’s management limited the number of tickets for each concert, the media showed up and recorded large crowds of people lining up to enter the venue without social distancing measures. The city of Daegu has also been criticized for allowing the concerts to take place and responded that it has no legal reason to stop them, as each show does not admit more than 4,000 people and the current COVID guidelines for the size of the room where Na was performing allowed up to 5,000. Daegu was then under level 2 social distancing alert, while Seoul, the city hardest hit by the pandemic, was under level 4 alert, which is the most serious. Either way, Na said he would continue his current tour.

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