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Cornelius Keigo Oyamada bullying articles translated

Cornelius & The Olympics

So you may have heard about how the composer for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics was forced to resign. He’s pretty well known in Japan for his work with Flipper’s Guitar, and outside of Japan for his work under the name of Cornelius.

I was personally pretty shocked when I read the comments that led to his resignation, as I’ve listened to his music for quite a few years now, and been to see him play live before.

From the way it was being reported, that he had been sacked for some comments about bullying he made in a magazine a quarter of a century ago, I thought it was probably some pretty mild form of overzealous accountability culture. But having read through a bunch of Oyamada’s comments, I was wrong.

Should Oyamada have been forced to resign from the Olympics?

Personally, I think given the way the Olympics pretty much aims to make inclusiveness central to it’s very being, I think it is only natural that Oyamada Keigo has been compelled to resign over the comments. I guess the other question for me is, should I still listen to his music? I don’t really know the answer to that question at this stage, but I think it’s good for people that are interested in his music to at least be aware of not just the general gist of the controversy, but the specific content and tone of some of what he has said. 

That being said, the comments were part of a large expose on Oyamada Keigo, and his history of bullying that spanned several victims across elementary, middle and high school. So I’m just going to present a few here, in translation, so you get an idea.

Where Did Keigo Oyamada’s Bullying comments appear?

Oyamada’s accounts of his school years bullying originally appeared in Rockin’On Japan magazine in 1994, and in the August 1995 edition of Quick Japan.

Translating Oyamada’s comments on bullying

Reading the comments, it sounded more like an account of potentially criminal level abuse, recounted by someone who sounded less apologetic than, well, kinda boastful.

 

I’ve tried to translate the text so that it captures the casual, almost trash talking kind of tone, so I’ve used a lot of swear words. 

Most of these comments are translated from magazine articles re-published here.

 

The first part is in question and answer format with an interviewer. Perhaps most damning about the text is the way in which Oyamada seems to laugh after many of the statements. Anyway, here’s some excerpts from what he said:

There was plenty of fretting over the borders in Japan this week, as is happening around the world.

Keigo Oyamada’s Bullying Comments



「あとやっぱりうちはいじめがほんとすごかったなあ」

So, you know, the way I was picking on people was pretty fucked up.

 

  • でも、いじめた方だって言ったじゃん。

Like you said you were on the bullying side right?

 

「うん。いじめてた。けっこう今考えるとほんとすっごいヒドイことしてたわ。この場を借りてお詫びします(笑)だって、けっこうほんとキツイことしてたよ」

 

Yeah, I was picking on people. Looking back I was really doing some fucked up shit. So let me use this platform to offer my apologies (laughs), or something like that, you know I was really doing some beyond the pale stuff, believe me.

 

  • やっちゃいけないことを。

Like things that shouldn’t be done?

 

「うん。もう人の道に反してること。だってもうほんとに全裸にしてグルグルに紐を巻いてオナニーさしてさ。ウンコを食わしたりさ。ウンコ食わした上にバックドロップしたりさ」

Yeah, I guess you could say I was really getting off the straight and narrow path. You know, I was doing stuff like making people get naked, then wrapping them up with a thread and making them jerk off. Or making them eat shit. And, after making them eat shit, making them do wrestling style back slams.

 

「だけど僕が直接やるわけじゃないんだよ、僕はアイディアを提供するだけで(笑)」

But it wasn’t me that was actually doing the stuff, I was just the provider of ideas (laughs)

 

  • アイディア提供して横で見てて、冷や汗かいて興奮だけ味わってるという?(笑)

So you were the one looking on from the sidelines, with a cold sweat, savouring the excitement of it all (laughs)?

 

「そうそうそう! 『こうやったら面白いじゃないの?』って(笑)」

Yes, yes! Like “wouldn’t it be fun if we tried this” (laughs).

 

  • どきどきして見てる? みたいな?

Like you were just watching on, getting off, with your blood pumping?

 

「そうそうそう!(笑)」

Totally (laughs)

 

  • いちばんタチ悪いじゃん。

That makes you the worst one out right?

 

「うん。いま考えるとほんとにヒドイわ」

Yeah, looking back, it was pretty fucked up.



沢田さん(仮名)のこと

About Sawada (fake name)

 

沢田って奴がいて。

There was this guy, Sawada. 

こいつはかなりエポック・メーキングな男で、転向してきたんですよ、小学校二年生ぐらいの時に。

He was one epoch-making guy, who switched across to our school, around year two of elementary school.

 

それはもう、学校中に衝撃が走って(笑)。

And, I tell you, it sent shock waves through the school.

 

だって、転校してきて自己紹介とかするじゃないですか、もういきなり(言語障害っぽい口調で)「サワダです」とか言ってさ、「うわ、すごい!」ってなるじゃないですか。

So when you switch across to a new school, the first thing you do is a self introduction, right? And, right off the bat, he’s like (in the voice of someone with a speech disability) “I’m Sawada” – and, naturally, that’s going to make you go like, “Woah, what a piece of work”, won’t it? 

 

で、転校してきた初日に、ウンコしたんだ。なんか学校でウンコするとかいうのは小学生にとっては重罪だってのはあるじゃないですか?

 

And, on the first day he comes across to our school, he does a shit. And doing a shit at school is just like the worst crime when you’re in elementary school right?

 

段ボール箱とかがあって、そん中に沢田を入れて、全部グルグルにガムテープで縛って、空気穴みたいなの開けて(笑)、「おい、沢田、大丈夫か?」とか言うと、「ダイジョブ…」とか言ってんの(笑)

So there was this cardboard box, so we put Sawada in, and then wrapped it up in tape, put in a few air holes (laughs), and then we’re asking him, like, “you alright in there Sawada?”, and he’s, like, “I OK” (laughs). 

 

そこに黒板消しとかで、「毒ガス攻撃だ!」ってパタパタやって、

Then we got out, like, some blackboard dusters, and we say to him “It’s a poison gas attack”, and we start whacking it round,

 

しばらく放っといたりして、時間経ってくると、何にも反応しなくなったりとかして、「ヤバいね」「どうしようか」とか言って、

 then we kind of leave him for a bit, and after a while, there’s no response, so we start saying, “yikes, what should we do now?”

「じゃ、ここでガムテープだけ外して、部屋の側から見ていよう」って

so we say “OK, let’s take off the tape and watch from the side of the room”,

 

外して見てたら、いきなりバリバリ出てきて、何て言ったのかな…?何かすごく面白いこと言ったんですよ。……超ワケ分かんない、「おかあさ〜ん」とかなんか、そんなこと言ったんですよ(笑)それでみんな大爆笑とかしたりして。

and we take off the tape, and all of sudden there’s like this rip, rip, rip, and then, what was it he said? I tell you he said something really hilarious. Some weird arse thing like,“Mummy!” or something, you know something like that (laughs). And I tell you, we just started laughing our arses off.

 

高校時代

During High School

 

ジャージになると、みんな脱がしてさ、でも、チンポ出すことなんて、別にこいつにとって何でもないことだからさ、チンポ出したままウロウロしているんだけど。

As for Jerseys, we’d make him get his gear off, but this fucker just didn’t give a shit about having his dick out one bit, he’s just fidgeting around with his dick swinging. 

 

だけど、こいつチンポがデッカくてさ、小学校の時からそうなんだけど、高校ぐらいになるともう、さらにデカさが増しててさ(笑)女の子とか反応するじゃないですか。

But, I tell you, this fucker has this big old cock, right from elementary school on, so by High School, it just got bigger and bigger, and, you know, that gets the girls going right? 

だから、みんなわざと脱がしてさ、廊下とか歩かせたりして。

So everyone was just getting him naked on purpose, and making him walk down the corridors. 

でも、もう僕、個人的には沢田のファンだから、「ちょっとそういうのはないなー」って思ってたのね。

But, you know, I’m like Sawada’s biggest fan so I’m like, “that’s not where it’s at”. 

……って言うか、笑ってたんだけど、ちょっと引いてる部分もあったって言うか、そういうのやるのは、たいがい珍しい奴っていうか、外から来た奴とかだから。

Or, I don’t know, I was laughing, but also part of me was pulling back, that sort of thing, people like that are pretty rare, I guess it was like he was someone who had come in from outside and all that.

 

こういう障害がある人とかって言うのは、なぜか図書室にたまるんですよ。

But you know these people with disabilities, for some reason they just seemed to accumulate at the library. 

図書室っていうのが、もう一大テーマパークって感じで(笑)しかもウチの学年だけじゃなくて、全学年のそういう奴のなぜか、拠り所になってて、きっと逃げ場所なんだけど、

So the library was kind of like a big old theme park, and not just for my year, but for people like that from every year level, like it was their “safe” place, like the place they could escape to.

何かたまに、そういうのを「みんなで見に行こう」「休み時間は何やってるのか?」とか言ってさ。そういうのを好きなのは、僕とかを含めて三、四人ぐらい

So, every now and then we would be like “let’s go down and watch them”, “I wonder what they are doing for lunch break?”. There were like 3 or 4 of us who were into that…

So that’s just a small sample of what is an interview which spans across several pages, and outlines abuse-level bullying against several victims across several years. So, I don’t know whether that means we should never listen to Keigo Oyamada’s music again or not, but I think it’s worth being aware of what people that you might be looking up to in one way or another have said in the past. 

We’ve written about some of the music that was actually used in the Tokyo Olympics Closing Ceremony here and have translated some of the extremely negative commentary on twitter in Japan leading up to the 2020 Olympics here.

Anyway, if you’re interested in doing deep dives into Japanese culture and language, please follow and subscribe!

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Who is behind this site?

I’m Peter Joseph Head. I lived in Japan for four years as a student at Kyoto City University of the Arts and on working holiday. I have toured the country six times playing music and speak Japanese (JLPT N1).

ピータージョセフヘッドです。3年間京都市立芸大の大学院として、一年間ワーキングホリデーとして日本に住み、6回日本で音楽ツアーをし、日本語能力試験で1級を取得しました。要するに日本好きです。

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