2020: Tokyo Summer Olympics - special I

Source: The Asia-Pacific Journal | Japan Focus Volume 18 | Issue 4 | Number 3 || Feb 15, 2020 
Mit freundlicher Erlaubnis von Japan Focus.

Tokyo 2020 Summer Olympics special issue

Special Issue: Japan’s Olympic Summer Games - Past and Present, Part I (Table of Contents)

Jeff Kingston

A mega-event like the Tokyo 2020 Summer Olympics justifies a monumental two-part special issue.

This is an inter-disciplinary effort involving Japan specialists from around the globe who locate the 2020 Tokyo Olympics in light of previous Olympics and a wide range of issues pertinent to the Olympic movement and Japan's global role.
The call for papers elicited a rapid and robust response by scholars, translators and writers who have taken to heart my instructions to write accessible, jargon-free essays that distill their knowledge and insights without compromising rigor and reliability.
Our targeted audience is educators and their students as well as general readers who need access to high quality, online resources at a time when interest in the Olympics runs high. We also hope that curious visitors and journalists will benefit from and enjoy this compilation as they scrutinize the PR spectacle, messaging and branding, and delve deeper into contemporary Japan’s dilemmas and simmering challenges.
Jeff Kingston, Editor

Introduction to the Special Issue on Japan’s Olympic’sSummer Games -- Past and Present
Jeff Kingston
... With over two dozen essays ranging from 2,000 to 5,000 words, and numerous images, this is acollection that will appeal to a wide range of interests. It is difficult to do justice to such a rich trove and the array of topics and themes.There are essays on branding, diversity, LGBT rights, ethnic identity, immigration, the environment, economic issues, Olympic opposition, nuclear concerns, the 1940 and 1964 Tokyo Olympics, the Paralympics, visual culture, design, exploitation, personal memoirs and even on the actual sporting events. Inevitably there is some overlap, but this is not so extensive and allows each essay to be a stand-alone reading. I want to thank all of the contributors for sharing their insights and sticking to our tight deadlines, and also the editorial staff at the Asia Pacific Journal Japan Focus  —  Mark Selden, Yayoi Koizumi, JoelleTapas and Connor Griffin  -  for overseeing, supporting and indulging this unusually large production so efficiently.

Tokyo’s Diversity Olympics Dogged by Controversy
Jeff Kingston
Abstract: Since Tokyo 2020 can’t really brag about tackling environmental issues, sustainability, cost cutting, or transparency, by default diversity and inclusiveness have become the branding agenda. This could be a positive legacy, but can the Olympics serve as a catalyst for Japan to reinvent itself? Probably not, due to the patriarchal elite’s  ethnonationalism and aversion to diversity and inclusion.

Opening a Storyline in the 2020 Olympics
David Leheny
Abstract: The Opening Ceremony under the guidance of popular film director Yamazaki Takashi will almost certainly earn it applause overseas, particularly by viewers and writers eager to take stock of a country’s creative talents in this once-every-four-years fantasia. As the stuff of international politics goes, it will be mostly inconsequential and harmless, and it will likely be good fun. But it also offers the chance to explore how a ceremony can reproduce moral and historical claims that remain largely unexamined, and how closed to challenge and contestation an Opening might be.

Japan and Immigration:
Looking Beyond the Tokyo Olympics

Gracia Liu-Farrer
Abstract: Japan has so far seen foreign workers as a stop-gap solution to intensifying labor shortages, as manifested in the labor import scheme for the Olympics. However, due to a gathering demographic crisis, the labor shortage will not disappear when the Olympics ends. Japan needs to create a social environment where immigrants can more easily fit in. Perhaps the 2020 Olympics, with all its promises and challenges, will be an opportunity for Japan to envision a new form of society and redefine its national identity from an exclusively monoethnic monocultural one to an embracing, inclusive and diverse one.

Indigenous Rights and the ‘Harmony Olympics’
Tessa Morris-Suzuki
Abstract: The dynamics of Japan’s indigenous rights struggles are not well understood, but the 2020 Tokyo games may spark serious debate on restoring and promoting the social, cultural, economic and political rights of the Ainu people. It appears that people from throughout Japan and the world curious about Ainu culture may be disappointed in the Olympic ceremonies and the new Upopoy National Ainu Museum and Park that opens in 2020. The Olympic moment offers an opportunity to embrace diversity, but probably will highlight the limits of the Japanese state’s willingness to recognise the rights of Ainu as indigenous people.

“LGBT issues” and the 2020 Games
Claire Maree
Abstract: The forthcoming 2020 Games are a critical moment in the implementation of diversity and inclusion strategies targeting sexual orientation and gender identity (SOGI) related issues in Japan. However, the resultant “hypervisibility” of “LGBT issues” has led to an increasing “invisibility” of those who
supposedly fail to fit LGBT narratives that pivot on specific forms of consumerism, internationalism and globalized diversity from which the “issues” purport to arise. cmaree@unimelb.edu.au

The Small Olympics
Ian Lynam
Abstract: Japan has a pervasive and problematic history based on design by consensus and speculative labor for the design of past Olympic Games as much as for the upcoming Games. The 2020 Games have been defined by design competitions, events where individuals volunteer to create visual graphic works without financial reward for the time and labor spent. This devaluation of creative work helps explain why Tokyo is swathed in mediocre Games-related visuals.


Celebrating the “New” Japan
Gerald Curtis
Abstract: The 2020 Olympics will be held in a Japan that confronts challenges that are a world apart from the Japan of the 1964 Olympics. None is more profound than Japan’s demographic dilemma. The population pyramid has been inverted from what it was half a century ago when Japan was a vigorous nation bursting with vitality and hope. The upbeat messaging in 2020 can’t obscure questions about how Japan will cope with serious economic and security challenges.

The Tokyo Olympic Stadium: Site of National Memory
Akiko Hashimoto
Abstract: The Olympic Games are burdened with this inherent paradox of universal humanism and chauvinistic nationalism. Japan took palpable national pride in being the first ever Asian host of the modern Olympic Games in 1964 and in executing the mission with zeal, precision and order. Hosting the 2020 Olympics again represents Japan’s aspiration to play a significant role in the global world – and rebranding Tokyo as a leading global city -- but this grand scheme has also invoked some antagonistic sentiments at home.

The Tokyo Olympics: 1940/2020
Asato Ikeda
Abstract: This essay reflects upon the 1940 Tokyo Olympics, explaining the socio-political context in which the Games were planned. How far has Japan come since 1940? There are issues and problems that were apparent around 1940 that have not been fully resolved. Contemporary Japanese society seems to embrace racial diversity on an unprecedented level, most visibly in sports. This embrace, however, seems to be limited to cases where the racial difference is visible and excludes those of mixed Asian ancestry due to unresolved historical issues.    asatoikeda@gmail.com
Most people see the 2020 Tokyo Olympics as the second Olympics in Tokyo, and some are hoping that the economic miracle and social transformation symbolized by the “first” Olympics of 1964 will be repeated. In the nation’s collective mind, the 1964 Games evoke only positive memories: recovery from wartime destruction and the achievement of new levels of modern life, exemplified by the first ever satellite TV broadcasting of the Games. What might not be as well-known is that the 2020 Olympics are indeed the third Olympics that were ever planned in Tokyo. The first were to have taken place in 1940, coinciding with an important national event: kigen nisen roppyakunen, the celebration of the 2600th year since the enthronement of the legendary first emperor, Jinmu. The 1940 Olympics—officially the Games of the XII Olympiad—were cancelled, along with another coinciding event, an international Tokyo Exhibition (Tokyo tenrankai), due to increasingly serious global political and military conflicts at the time, including Japan’s war with China that began in 1937.
With the 2020 Olympics imminent, this essay reflects upon the 1940 Tokyo Olympics, explaining the socio-political context in which the Games were planned. How far has Japan come since 1940? The essay at the end provides an insight on the country’s transformation in the past eighty years. There are issues and problems that were apparent around 1940 that have not been fully solved today.

The 1964 Olympics
Robert Whiting
Abstract: This is a memoir about the hectic preparations for the 1964 Tokyo Olympics that proved to be a successful coming out party. For the Japanese, the success of the games was a source of pride. The world discovered a new Japan, one that was no longer a shunned militarist rogue regime but rather a peaceful democracy on its way to becoming a world economic powerhouse. For the citizens of Tokyo, the Olympic success was doubly important because their city was now rebranded as the capital of cutting-edge technologies.

Unease about Tokyo 2020
Kazuhiko Togo
Abstract: Hosting the 2020 games was a mistake right from the beginning. The Olympics sucked construction workers from Tohoku and delayed reconstruction work in the 3.11 tsunami- devastated Tohoku region.It is essential to concentrate our mental, spiritual and financial resources to create a future vision of Japan, and to move holistically toward the implementation of that vision. Instead, the energy, money and vision which the Japanese people mobilized over the last seven years has been misdirected.

1964: The Greatest Year in the History of Japan -- Three Reasons Why
Roy Tomizawa
Abstract: The 1964 XVIII Olympiad enabled the Japanese to take a breather from their breakneck economic growth, and reflect on and celebrate in collective joy. Pulling it off was a big test that Japan passed with flying colors thanks to a stunning alignment of purpose across government, corporations, educational institutions, and local neighborhoods. In the aftermath, Japan was a nation reborn - young, confident, world-beaters.

From the Witches of the Orient to the Blossoming Sevens:
Volleyball and Rugby at the Tokyo Olympics
Helen Macnaughtan
Abstract: At the 1964 Tokyo Olympics the Japanese women’s volleyball team, nicknamed the ‘Witches of the Orient’, defeated the Soviet Union to win the gold medal. This article charts the story of the Witches journey to the Olympic final and draws parallels with the post-war growth of men’s rugby in Japan and the performance of the national team the ‘Brave Blossoms’ at the 2019 Rugby World Cup. As in 1964, the Tokyo 2020 Olympics will showcase Japanese technology, creativity, culture and hospitality, but will also highlight the necessity for greater acceptance of diversity in Japanese society through the power of sport.

Trash Islands:
The Olympic Games and Tokyo’s Changing Environment¹

Robin Kietlinski
Abstract: As preparations for the 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games continue, largely on islands in Tokyo Bay constructed from reclaimed waste material, the question of the impacts on the environment is of vital importance. While prospective host cities increasingly set forth extensive proposals to hold “Green Games” that will have minimal impact on the natural environment, few, if any, are able to deliver on these promises. Positioning itself as one of the world’s leaders in environmental technology and efficiency, Japan is seeking to use the global spotlight of the 2020 Olympics to display and market new models of sustainable development.

Confronting the Olympic Paradox:
Modernity and Environment at a Crossroads in Downtown Tokyo
Peter Matanle
Abstract: The 2020 Summer Olympics will be the hottest ever due to a combination of climate change and scheduling them when Tokyo is at its most sweltering. Cities have been transformed, with the Games used as a vehicle for governments to unite citizens behind patriotic visions of national success and project a modernist image of a city and nation on the leading edge of global progress. This is the Olympic paradoxbeing uniquely symbolic of modernity while also complicit in modernity’s outcome, including the systematic depletion of the Earth’s resources, our destruction of its habitats, and pollution of the biosphere with emissions and effluents which threaten the sustainability of life on