Former Japanese Prime Minister Wasn't Thrilled With The Mario Olympics Stunt

Illustration for article titled Former Japanese Prime Minister Wasn't Thrilled With The Mario Olympics Stunt
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During the 2016 Rio Olympics closing ceremony, then Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe appeared out of a large green Warp Pipe, wearing a red Mario hat emblazoned with Tokyo 2020. But what did Abe think about the whole experience?


In a recent interview with Nikkan Sports, Abe was frank, honest and refreshing about the whole thing, saying, “To be honest, I wasn’t thrilled when [Tokyo 2020] President [Yoshiro] Mori first told me about it.”

“Initially, I wondered if it were okay 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,” Abe added.

According to the former Prime Minister, it took over 20 hours just to get to Rio de Janeiro. Tokyo Olympics President Mori told Abe that because he had been Prime Minister for a long time, he was recognized internationally, and thus, had no choice but to do it. Abe then agreed.

Abe added that the Japanese delegation was punctual about the timing of the ceremony, but things got delayed. “I waited for over ten minutes in that pipe,” Abe added with a chuckle.

The Tokyo Olympics were originally scheduled for July 24 to August 9, 2020, but due to the global pandemic they have been moved to summer 2021. Shinzo Abe left office in September of this year, and it seems his predecessor Yoshihide Suga will be presiding over the games. Maybe he’ll be more into wearing a Mario hat?

Originally from Texas, Ashcraft has called Osaka home since 2001. He has authored six books, including most recently, The Japanese Sake Bible.


Soda Costanza 2.0 (I got locked out of the old one)

I really enjoy the image of Abe just waiting and waiting in a cramped pipe and getting more annoyed as time went by.