19 Nov 2020
Hosting the Olympic Games symbolised Japan’s re-emergence on the global political stage after World War II, helping to shape the nation’s post-war diplomacy, renew relations with the international community and restore its reputation around the world.
Japan used the Games to present the country as a peaceful and democratic nation, and showcase the economic growth and technological progress it had made over the two decades following the end of the war. Historians now view Tokyo 1964 as marking the beginning of Japan’s internationalisation, leading to its growth as a global industrial power and exporter of high-quality technological goods.
Infrastructure developments ahead of Tokyo 1964, and the use of novel technologies such as a satellite to facilitate live international television broadcasts of the Games, helped cultivate this new image.
Academics have described Tokyo 1964 as being a great success for Japan in sending a message of its post-war recovery across the globe and projecting a new perception of the country as a culturally admirable nation. It was so successful in this regard that academics have since described it as a notable example of nation branding. This enabled Japan to expand its trade networks, and the country has continued to use sports diplomacy as part of its foreign policy to build international connections and promote greater knowledge and understanding of Japan.