Bigoted "pig" pitch

On March 17, 2021, a weekly magazine reported a statement by Hiroshi Sasaki, then creative director overseeing the planning and direction of the opening and closing ceremonies of the Tokyo Olympics and Para-Olympics.

In the statement, Sasaki said that celebrity Naomi Watanabe would be dressed in a pig-themed costume to portray a character named "Olympig" during the ceremonies.

Understandably, there was a flood of criticism online when this was reported. "How dare you make a vulgar joke out of someone's body shape?" or "Comparing someone to a pig is insulting" and other comments of a similar nature were made.

On the same day, Sasaki commented through the organizing committee, "I sincerely regret and apologize for my actions." He announced his intent to resign the following day.

Naomi Watanabe commented on the "Olympig" issue.

Ms. Watanabe posted a comment on the website of her agency, Yoshimoto Kogyo Holdings, Inc. in which she calmly expressed her thoughts on the controversial topic.

Last year, I was informally asked through my company to appear in the opening ceremony of the Olympics, but I heard that the request was canceled since the novel coronavirus postponed the games.

To be honest, I was surprised to hear this news, which was different from what I had heard at first.

Since I appear in public as Naomi Watanabe, it is true that I have been told that I am large, and I do my job fully understanding that I am sometimes ridiculed for my appearance.

In fact, I am happy with my body shape. Therefore, I would like to continue to express myself as Naomi Watanabe without being concerned about being fat.

However, as a human being, I sincerely hope that the world can become an enjoyable place with a wealth of experiences where people can respect and accept each other's individuality and way of thinking.

I am still inexperienced in some areas, so with the guidance of the people around me, I will continue to devote myself to creating entertainment that everyone can enjoy.

Naomi Watanabe, in a statement published by Yoshimoto Kogyo Holdings Co. Ltd.

In the past, it was commonplace to make fun of people's physical characteristics and innate qualities.

However, times have changed and society's awareness of human rights is evolving day by day. In the year 2021, trying to deride someone for the shape of their body is behavior that should not be tolerated.

Ms. Watanabe calmly expressed her thoughts on human rights awareness without expressing anger or displeasure. Her response was praised by many people online. Some of the comments were:

  • "What a wonderful response by Ms. Watanabe. This is truly what you call a mature response."
  • "Comparing her to a pig is insulting in the eyes of the public. It's as puerile as bullying in elementary school."
  • "There is a big difference between Ms. Watanabe herself poking fun at the shape of her body and other people doing so."

Some people accept their body shape as their individuality, while others have a complex and suffer from it. Perhaps Ms. Watanabe's inspired reaction offered courage and uplifted the spirits of those who do.

By - grape Japan editorial staff.