Episode 338 – Let the Games Begin, Part 3

This week, we finish our look at the Olympic movement in Japan with a series of discussions on the legacy of the 64 games, the Winter Olympics in Japan, and on the prospects for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.


The archive of Robert Whiting’s retrospectives on the 1964 Tokyo Olympics includes a piece on its negative legacies that I made use of here.

Niehaus, Andreas and Christian Tagsold. Sport, Memory, and Nationhood in Japan: Remembering the Glory Days

Losch, Petra and John Sterling. “Let the Games Be Green.” Earth Island Journal 7, No 4 (Fall, 1992)

Baade, Robert A and Victor A. Matheson. “Going for the Gold: The economics of the Olympics.” Journal of Economic Perspectives 30, No 2 (Spring, 2016).


The rebuilt Japan National Stadium in 2019.
The Olympic torch has already been lit (in a ceremony in Olympia, Greece devoid of any spectators) but currently sits in limbo; the planned relay has been rescheduled to next year. Original image from the BBC.
The opening ceremony of the Nagano 98 Olympics.
You will (and I cannot say this enough) NEVER convince me this is not just a pokemon that fell off the back of the truck.
The opening ceremony of the Sapporo 72 Olympics.


3 thoughts on “Episode 338 – Let the Games Begin, Part 3”

  1. I remember in 2012, I read that London actually broke even hosting. I agree with your general sentiment towards the olympics. Ever since Beijing raising the bar, the Olympics have become super bloated. There’s a video of the opening ceremonies in LA and it looks like a high school football game compared to today. The Olympics are a bloated and wasteful mess. There’s a reason Bern rejected the Olympics. Just look at what the facilities are like now in Rio. However, as a fellow Jew, I disagree about the 1936 games for the sole reason that that was when Jesse Owens showed up his ubermenschen. If it were anywhere else, Owens’ achievement wouldn’t have been nearly as significant.
    It’s so weird to hear you speak Japanese and then immediately say stuff like “suh-POR-oh,” “tuh-KAY-da,” and yuh-KOO-za.”

  2. I know many countries try to use the winter games to promote winter tourism. “Come and ski on Olympic caliber slopes.” Was that a part of the thinking for the 1972 and 1998 games?

    The big story about 1998, in North America at least, was the hockey. Women were allowed to compete and on the men’s side the NHL allowed their players to compete. The Czech Republic upset the US, Canada and Russia on the way for their only gold.

    1. Certainly it was, but overseas tourism was not considered a big revenue generator in the 1970s for Japan (that had changed a bit during the 1990s, but if I remember right Japan’s tourism industry didn’t even start focusing heavily on overseas tourism until the mid-2000s).

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