The 1940 Olympics: Imperial Commemoration and Diplomacy
This study sketches the early history from 1930 to 1932 of the bid for the 1940 Tokyo
Games. Tokyo Mayor Nagata Hidejiro conceived of the bid for the 1940 Tokyo Olympic Games to market the newly reconstructed Tokyo as an international tourist destination
during the 2,600th national anniversary of the Japanese empire in 1940. The leaders of Tokyo invented many 1930s commemorative idioms for the Tokyo Olympiad. The
Japanese Government did not endorse the Tokyo bid for the 1940 Games, and the tensions amongst Tokyo, Japanese national government and the international community reveal
the conﬂictual domestic and international politics of 1930s Japan. When Japanese diplomatic ties were strained by 1930s Japanese imperialism in Asia, however, the Japanese state endorsed the 1940 Olympics as a forum for informal diplomacy.