Naomi Watanabe "Surprised" over Derogatory Remarks

Society Culture

Tokyo, March 18 (Jiji Press)--Popular Japanese female entertainer Naomi Watanabe has said that she is "honestly surprised" over derogatory remarks about her made by Hiroshi Sasaki, creative director for the opening and closing ceremonies of the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics this summer.

Sasaki, 66, resigned from the post after coming under fire for presenting an idea of letting Watanabe, 33, a plus-size fashion icon, dress up as an "Olympig" during the opening ceremony.

Watanabe had received a request through her agency last year to perform in the ceremony, but was later told that the plan had been scrapped due to the one-year postponement of the games from 2020 due to the novel coronavirus pandemic. She said she has not heard about the ceremonies since.

"I am honestly surprised over the (media) reports (about the idea for the ceremony), which are different from what I had first heard about it," Watanabe said in a statement, released through the agency.

"It is true that I am told I have a large body, and I accept jobs with the understanding that I may be ridiculed for how I look," she said. "But I am actually happy with this body shape, so I want to continue expressing myself as 'Naomi Watanabe' without focusing only on being fat."

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Jiji Press