1964 Olympics: The first time Japan hosted the event and surprised the world

This year (2021) the Olympics and Paralympics are being played in Tokyo, Japan, and even this is the second time since the memorable 1964 games, when the country and Japanese culture gained worldwide attention.

At that time, there was still no internet, and even commercially, Japan has always remained more closed, until then. With the event televised, people were surprised and many fell in love with Japanese customs, traditions, philosophies, products and technologies.

So, in this article, we are going to contextualize the great event of 64, talk about its importance for Japan, in parallel with the current context of the 2020 Olympics, which are taking place in 2021.

We’ll also touch on a landing on Japanese public opinion and tell a bit of the story. Read on to get a better understanding of the topic in general. Come on!

1964 Olympics: the first time Japan hosted the event and surprised the world - 1964 Olympics

The year 1964 and the post-war

In 1964 the whole world was still living in a climate of recovery, reconstructing history after the end of World War II in 1945. In this context, Japan was one of the countries most widely affected, mainly by the nuclear tests in Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

However, there are several reasons for a country to want to become an Olympic host, such as investing in the tourism sector, or even in a more patriotic sense, to rescue a certain national pride of its citizens.

So, in deciding to compete to host the games, less than 10 years after the attacks, Japan was highly strategic in making the people flow counter in the country broke records, as well as several other local economic fronts.

This was a great social maneuver to help rebuild the country: in this way, both sportingly and culturally, the Japanese government managed to successfully change the stigma that the country had towards the rest of the world until that time.

That’s when, ceasing to be a militarized country, it started to stand out for being a modern, very technological nation, synonymous with great productivity and innovation, at the same time they were known for being wise, and leading a life Zen, with more lightness.  

Mainly because they invested heavily in the theme, inspired by science fiction and space, marrying very well with the historical moment, which can be defined in detail as follows:

The former Soviet Union and the United States were in a race to reach the moon, investing heavily in technologies to make spacecraft lighter and in basic equipment, such as a level sensor.

Thus, this Cold War climate, aroused a lot of interest in the public when it came to technology. And the Japanese government invested in modernity and futuristic ideas, such as the Shinkansen, the famous bullet trains, as well as the construction of the imposing Tokyo Tower.

Even today, the shinkansen, for example, remains modern, being an incredible means of transport, so think about how, back in 1964, it revolutionized the world in terms of technological possibilities.

The result was the positioning of the country as an example of infrastructure, industrialization and advancement, which is also maintained until today, responsible for several new technologies of internet equipment, automation and robotics.

In addition, the Japanese government was also very successful in working on the image of eastern peace, with a strong concern to show itself apart from any interest in possible wars.

In a beautiful symbolic act, in 1964 the “Flame of Peace” was lit in Hiroshima, which is still maintained today.

1964 Olympics: the first time Japan hosted the event and surprised the world - Japan

The year 2021 and the Covid-19 pandemic

In 2020, the year scheduled for the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics, the planet was at the beginning of what would be one of the biggest sanitary and health crises of humanity, the Covid-19 pandemic.

of great cargo transport companies, to the most diverse sectors that had to reinvent themselves in this context, the Olympic Games were not left out.

After the cancellation of the event in 2020, the biggest Olympic event in the world since Ancient Greece has just started on July 23, 2021. But this year, without an audience, there were many problems and discussions regarding its realization.

The criticisms that preceded the event

This edition, exceptionally, has a considerable lack of support: most of the Japanese population was in favor of canceling the Olympics and Paralympics in Tokyo, which were already scheduled for July and August of this year, respectively.

In a May report this year, it was found that 87% of the Japanese feared that holding the event would lead to a significant increase in the number of cases of the disease in the country. 

These data are from the largest Japanese news agency, the Kyodo News. And public rejection had already decreased, compared to March, the previous month, from 63 to 57% of people who were opposed to holding the event.

During this period, 9 prefectures in Japan placed their cities in a state of emergency due to the number of cases of people with Covid-19 who had serious clinical complications.

Since rescheduling in 2020, the International Olympic Committee, the IOC, had already made it clear that the games would not be postponed again, but that a “industrial scale” to weigh the risks.

The arrival of delegations with coaches, athletes, officials and other members of the media, in addition to tourists who decide to expose themselves, would obviously lead to greater dissemination of the virus in the country.

So, since 2020 there were already protests against the holding of the event. In early 2021, Japanese coaches and athletes also took a stand on their social networks and interviews against games during the pandemic.

There were protesters in front of Tokyo National Stadium in March, where the opening ceremony was later held, silent and without an audience. 

There were also public movements during the Olympic torch relay in Nagano, in addition to discussions by the Japanese press on the matter.

Security protocols

As well as an excellent company of thermometer calibration, since the cancellation in 2020, the government has already postulated protocols to control the transmission and increase in cases of the disease during the Tokyo Olympic Games.

International bodies such as the IOC which we have already mentioned, the International Paralympic Committee (IPC), and Japanese authorities have published and revised several guidelines since then.

But all athletes and members were tested, and stayed in what was called the “Olympic Bubble”, a total restriction of all participants to hotels, stadiums, training centers, arenas and other facilities.

Thus, the interaction between the participants and the Japanese people was limited, a very intelligent action for the event.

In addition, foreign fans were banned from entering the country in March. And all games are being played without spectators, so all monitoring is done only by digital media.

The fact is that Japanese citizens are culturally more aware of issues such as self-care, and caring for others.

Wearing masks, new fashion items in the modern world, was already very common in work environments, when people suffered from contagious diseases, such as the flu itself.

In places such as the offices of accounting Service or, what makes even more sense, public places like subways and restaurants, for example, it was not uncommon to see Japanese in masks before the pandemic.

The result

However, as there was a gigantic investment and strategic elaboration on the most diverse issues, such as:

  • Health issues;
  • Education of the population; 
  • Technology developed for health;
  • And technologies for the execution of sporting events.

The result that we are observing is an excellent control of the number of cases and deaths. 

1964 Olympics: the first time Japan hosted the event and surprised the world - Olympics

Final considerations

Just like in the 1964 Olympics, Japan knew how to show itself as a very well-structured country, with an outline of true safety protocols, followed by everyone, from athletes to companies, for example, weigher and packaging.

Well, in addition to everything covered in this content, the next major world sporting event, the 2022 Winter Olympics, is scheduled for another Asian country: Beijing, China.

This only generates new controversies about the real need and the way in which this next event will be conducted, especially in this scenario of uncertainty in which we live.

However, the Olympic Committee of China has already provided extra doses of vaccine to immunize athletes, which is a good measure, but it does not cover the entire problem, as there is much speculation and criticism about the possible presence of the public.

Finally, it's time to watch sports and cheer for your country, but keep yourself safe indoors!


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