Akimoto Chosen For Olympics Ceremony

Music impresario and composer Yasushi Akimoto will likely produce the opening ceremony for the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo. 

Akimoto was named to the organizing committee along with a number of other Japanese luminaries March 17. At the press conference to announce the appointments, Akimoto talked about going to the 1964 Tokyo Olympics when he was 6 years old. News reports say he will put together the opening ceremony with the help of Mika Ninagawa, a popular director and photographer and the daughter of Japan’s most revered stage director.

Akimoto, of course, is the brains behind AKB48, the female idol collective that seems to be single-handedly keeping Japan’s record business solvent.

Photo: AP Photo
Earthquake memorial event, Jakarta, Indonesia

Ninagawa, it shoud be noted, directed one of the group’s most famous music videos. For the most part, the news that Akimoto would be producing the opening ceremony was met with delight by the public and the media, but a sizable backlash resulted on the Internet, and a petition on Change.org was circulated calling for the committee to rescind its choice of Akimoto.

The petition’s author, Gee Kawai, claims that there is a sizable portion of the Japanese public “who are apprehensive of a future entertainment industry that emphasizes artists without talent who only push marketing and personal branding and set up special interests and exclusive economic zones,” which is an obvious reference to the AKB48 business model.

More significantly, Akimoto appears to have been appointed because of his power in the industry and not because of any particular artistic accomplishments.

Some Japanese feel the rest of the world might find his tastes a bit adolescent.

So far the petition has garnered more than 11,000 signatures and Kawai hopes to get 100,000.