TOKYO: While Japanese athletes are delivering spectacular performances at the Tokyo Olympics, they have become targets of abusive comments on social media from people in and outside Japan.
Table tennis star Jun Mizutani said on Twitter on Wednesday that he received a flurry of direct messages from people from “a certain country” telling him to “drop dead.” Mizutani, with Mima Ito, won mixed doubles gold by defeating China two days before.
The 32-year-old also wrote on Twitter that he was completely unbothered by such abuse and that he was glad to learn that he got many people around the world fired up.
Fans voiced their worries about Mizutani. His tweet was deleted later.
Daiki Hashimoto, a 19-year-old gymnast who claimed gold in the men’s individual all-around, and Kanoa Igarashi, 23, who won silver in the men’s surfing, also fell victim to online slander.
Offensive comments apparently from foreign accounts flooded Instagram shortly after their performances ended, with many venting their anger at the scoring of the Japanese athletes.
Meanwhile, Tokuma Shoten Publishing Co. announced that a subcontracting editor made an inappropriate social media post that infringed on human rights.
The editor had come under fire from Twitter users for a discriminatory post over tennis player Naomi Osaka’s defeat in the women’s singles third round.
Inconsiderate social media posts against athletes was a problem even before the Tokyo Olympics started last week.
In May, 21-year-old swimmer Rikako Ikee said on Twitter that she received comments urging her to withdraw from the Summer Games or voice opposition to holding the Olympics.
Saying that she received “extremely hurtful” messages, Ikee added that she finds it “very painful” to receive such views dumped on individual athletes.
Online slander has led to serious consequences in some cases, sparking calls for action to address the problem.