The now-former prime minister of Japan, Shinzo Abe, who retired due to health reasons in September, recently spoke to Nikkan Sports about making an appearance at the 2016 Rio Olympics closing ceremony (as Mario) to promote Tokyo 2020.
He admitted he wasn't thrilled with the idea when it was initially proposed to him, but felt there was no other choice as he had been around as the prime minister for such a long time.
“To be honest, I wasn’t thrilled when [Tokyo 2020] President [Yoshiro] Mori first told me about it.”
“Initially, I wondered if it were ok for the Prime Minister to take on the appearance of Mario, but the Olympics wanted to get rid of political overtones as much as possible”
It took him 20 hours to get to Rio de Janerio in the end, and unfortunately, there was a slight delay before his big appearance on stage. It resulted in him having to wait inside the warp pipe a little longer than expected.
“I waited for over ten minutes in that pipe”
The Tokyo Olympics was meant to take place in July and August of this year but has now been pushed back to Summer 2021 due to the global pandemic. As Abe is no longer in power, it'll be up to his successor, Yoshihide Suga, to don Mario's cap.
[source nikkansports.com, via kotaku.com.au]
I think you mean his successor, Yoshihide Suga, not predecessor 😉
HERE WE GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO.
[Insert Mario pipe noise]
@Snatcher Yes indeed! Love your games list in your profile
Sounds pretty humorous, but there seems to be a more serious subtext that I'm just not understanding. Was he some kind of controversial figure? The details on why he didn't want to do it and why the Olympics wanted him involved if they were distancing themselves from politics kind of vague and confusing to me.
Rude prime minister xD
@Not_Soos Well... imo yes he’s controversial due to his rather nationalist stance. Obviously it depends on your political opinion but Abe going to visit WW2 war criminals’ graves and being somewhat blasé about Japan’s treatment of Korean ‘comfort women’ never sat right with me. Always worth a look for yourself at the context!
@nessisonett Interesting, makes me wonder how okay Nintendo even was with this. I don't know much about Japan's post-war history, but after recently watching the Ghibli movie "From Up On Poppy Hill," I was left with the impression that Japan might not be too different from America in the way that we sometimes glorify the darker, prejudicial aspects of our nation's history--in Japan's case, its empirical reign, and in America's, the Confederacy. Just goes to show, I guess, that people aren't that different, no matter where you go.
@Not_Soos From what I know he was a pretty good Prime Minister; Japan had some deflation for some time, he pumped some money in and it improved. The korea thing is probably the main negative thing. He apologized but I think people wanted him to do More? I'm not very acquainted with the situation.
He was probably the worst PM in Japan post WW-II.
He made life for us foreigners living here in Japan harder and made us second class citizens,thanks to him we have all the duties of the national people like paying taxes etc but very little rights.
And Suga won’t be better because he is just another Nippon Kaiki Abe-Aso puppet ultra nationalist right winger.
"I wasn't sure about it, but Mori-san told me to 'get into the damn pipe, Shinzo', and somehow I couldn't object anymore..."
@Lettersnnumbers Yeah. He did try to recognize some of the things Japan did once and people from his party and smaller parties aligned with him chastised him while neighboring countries criticized him for wanting to expand the powers of the Japanese military under the constitution so he has taken shots from both sides, he did remain pretty popular until the pandemic hurt his numbers as evidenced by being the longest tenured Prime Minister Japan has had in a very long time.
For Nintendo it is of course a huge stage. So I understand why Nintendo saw it more as a winning situation.
But I want politics and games to be clearly separated as much as possible. Because at least one side of the political spectrum will not be happy with this fusion, depending on the scenario. And I also think that the president of a country should NEVER represent one company. Even if it is my beloved Nintendo. So I get why the PM wasn't really a big fan of this idea.
“I waited for over ten minutes in that pipe”
I want this to become a catchphrase.
10 minutes in a pipe was probably his hardest ever day at work.
Yoshihide Suga apparently has a younger brother. Hopefully he can be convinced to don a Luigi costume for the opening ceremony and the world can witness the birth of the Suga Mario Bros.
@Moon I was never a big fan of Abe, to be blunt. But of the many criticisms I could level against him, it feels dishonest to brand him as ‘lazy’. I never doubted that he ‘worked hard’. If the average Japanese worker is anything to go by, he probably worked himself too hard. My issues stem not from how hard he worked, but where he channelled those energies.
I had neither seen that clip, nor heard that Abe had decided to retire. :V
Too bad (or maybe a relief?) that he won't get to do it in front of a live audience at the opening now. ^^
That was such an awesome finale to the Olympics. I really loved the entire video of him transforming into Mario and warping across the globe like that, it was such an awesome presentation!
I'm not really familiar with japanese politics. American politics is enough **** already, no thanks. Mario's awesome.
Huh, interesting I didn't know that. I hope he feels better soon. That Closing Mario part was awesome and clever.
On a side note, I feel like Mario & Sonic is getting back to what it used to be, but I feel like it's not quite there yet. One of the things that would bring it back to what it used to be (even more so) would be to bring back the original M&S announcer (AKA runblebee).
I don't see any issues mario should be still first..
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