Episode 337 – Let the Games Begin, Part 2

This week, Japan finally gets the Olympics; but what does that really mean for Japan? What does hosting really accomplish for Japan’s image, and how do the games themselves unfold?



Tomizawa, Roy. 1964 – The Greatest Year in the History of Japan. 

Abel, Jessamyn R. “Japan’s Sporting Diplomacy: The 1964 Tokyo Olympiad.” International History Review 34, No 2.

Abel, Jessamyn R. “Olympic Diplomacy in a New Japan: The 1964 Tokyo Olympiad.” in The International Minimum: Creativity and Contradiction in Japan’s Global Engagement, 1933-1964.

Here’s the archive of Robert Whiting’s retrospectives on the 1964 Tokyo Olympics.


Yoyogi National Gymnasium, another 1964 venue.
Sakai Yoshinori completing the torch relay. The choice of Sakai, born in Hiroshima the day the atomic bomb fell, was an extremely symbolic one.
The Japan Budokan, one of the venues constructed for 1964.
The 1958 Asian Games served as a sort of dry run for the Olympics, to prove Japan was up to the task of hosting.
The pomp of the opening ceremony made it one of Japan’s most popular TV broadcasts of the year; over 70% of TV owners watched live. It was also the first to be broadcast around the world in color.
The Japan Women’s Volleyball team captivated the country with its run to the gold medal; nicknamed the “Oriental Witches”, the team managed to draw more viewers for their final against the USSR than the opening ceremony did.

3 thoughts on “Episode 337 – Let the Games Begin, Part 2”

  1. I realized that you focused mainly on the Japanese angle for this show but one of the big stories about these games was the first time South Africa’s team was banned for apartheid. They weren’t allowed back for 28 years. Was the controversy over South Africa something which concerned the games organizers?

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