Earlier this week, Oyamada Keigo, better known by his stage name Cornelius, was announced as one of the composers of the music for the Opening Ceremony of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics. Almost immediately, social media became abuzz about his bullying past.
In a number of magazine interviews in the 90s, Cornelius looked back on his bullying of a mentally disabled classmate, from elementary school through high school. His torment of his peer included tying him up, trapping him in a box, duct taping a cardboard box around his head and then pouring chalk dust inside, making him eat his own feces, forcing him to walk around school with his penis exposed, and forcing him to masturbate in front of other students, among other things. These reflections were not looked back on regretfully, but instead were seen as funny childhood moments. He spoke of them in a boastful nature.
This resurfacing of Cornelius’ bullying past seems to have gotten to him, because he is now somewhat regretful, having released an apology statement. Read Cornelius’ full apology below.
Regarding my participation in music production at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games.
I am very sorry that my participation in the music production at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games made many people feel very uncomfortable. I apologize from the bottom of my heart.
As you have pointed out, it is true that in past magazine interviews, I spoke of my thoughtless remarks and actions towards my classmates in my school days and people with disabilities at neighboring schools without reflecting on what I did at the time, and I take it seriously that I deserve to be criticized.
I sincerely apologize to my classmates and their parents who have been hurt by my words and actions, and I feel deep regret and responsibility for not being a good friend in school life, which is supposed to make good memories, but being in a position to hurt them.
When I was a student and at the time of the interview, I couldn’t imagine the feelings of the victims. I think I was very immature.
As for the content of the article, I could not check the manuscript before the release, and there are many contents that are different from the fact. However, when I was a student, there is no doubt that my classmates were hurt by my words and actions, and I was aware of that, so I felt that it was my own responsibility, and I did not point out the wrong contents and exaggeration, and I decided to just wait and see them.
In addition, I feel very foolish and self-protective about the fact that I have not explained the circumstances or apologized in my own words in spite of the fact that I have been feeling guilty for a long time for such words and deeds in the past.
As a result, I continued to be unfaithful not only to my classmates at the time, but also to those who had experienced hardship in their school days, their families, and fans who supported me. I’m very sorry.
I would like to apologize directly to the person who was hurt when I was a student, if I can find a way to contact him and he will accept it.
It is only natural that you have a negative opinion about my involvement in the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games.
In addition, some people have expressed opposition to my involvement in the Olympics amid the concerns of the Japanese people over the novel coronavirus.
Maybe I should have declined the offer, considering that some people would be uncomfortable with my participation for various reasons.
However, I heard both the resolution and anxiety of the creators who are struggling to make the Opening Ceremony even a little better in the difficult situation with many issues, and as a result of careful consideration, I decided to accept the offer because I wished that my music could be of any help.
On top of that, I have tried my best to produce this music.
I think it’s not just me, but other creators too.
Therefore, I sincerely apologize that my involvement will give an unpleasant impression to the Opening Ceremony.
Thanks to your various suggestions, I had the opportunity to reflect on and rethink my own situation.
I would like to thank all of you for your comments.
I would like to express my heartfelt apologies not only to my classmates who have been hurt, but also to all my fans, friends, and those concerned who have been distrustful and displeased due to my unfaithful attitude for many years.
I will always ask myself how I should be as a person and as a musician, and how I can contribute to the world and the people around me, and I will do my best to make the best decision.