Title

1964 Summer Olympics: More than Just Sports? How Japan Utilized the Olympic Games for Ulterior Motives

Graduation Date

5-2017

Document Type

Senior Thesis (Campus only Access)

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts

Department

History

Department or Program Chair

Jordan Lieser, Ph.D.

First Reader

Jordan Lieser, Ph.D.

Second Reader

Christian Dean, Ph.D.

Abstract

This research builds upon the subfield of sports history by explaining how the Olympics can be utilized as a means of political showcasing to the international community. This is especially relevant during the ideological conflict of the Cold War, with Japan serving as a particularly useful case study due to its proximity to the Communist Bloc.

In 1964 Japan hosted the first Olympic games in Asia. Tokyo was originally slated to host the XIV Olympiad in 1940; however, the fascist government in Japan at the time ultimately decided to forego hosting the Olympics due to the economic burden afflicting the country from the Second Sino-Japanese conflict in 1937. In sharp contrast to war-time Japan, the Japan of the 1964 Olympics was a pacifist country desiring a reentry to the international community as a democratic nation. Through the hosting of the Olympic Games, Japan emerged back onto the international stage showcasing their recovery since the end of World War II. This paper implements historical research methods including: historiography, archival analysis of Japanese Official Olympic Committee records, and a cultural study of journalist accounts to examine how Japan's "Economic Miracle" allowed officials to transform Japan into a country that displayed the themes of democracy in their Olympic venue to demonstrate to the world that it was no longer tied to its pre-war politics.

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