Published by the Christian Science Monitor, Oct. 29, 2014
Tokyo — Japanese baseball fans are some of the world’s most diehard. Cities across Japan, including Tokyo, now regularly slow down during the World Series in October to watch homegrown players hit and pitch in the United States. Last year Japanese watched Boston closer Koji Uehara, and this year Nori Aoki, who plays for Kansas City is hammering out hits. In all, 12 Japanese players have appeared in the MLB fall classic.
So with Tokyo hosting the Summer Olympics in 2020, Japan is already lobbying – hard – to have baseball restored to the Games. The sport was shut out of the 2012 London Olympics and won’t make an appearance in the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Games in Brazil. Continue reading …
From left, Yasushi Yamawaki and Sir Philip Craven of the International Paralympic Committee, and Lucy Birmingham of the Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Japan
(Sneha Bhavaraju photo)
Oct. 16, 2014
Wherever the Paralympic Games go, life can get easier for people living with a physical impairment. Accessibility improves, and attitudes change.
The Paralympics, which are held almost immediately after each summer and winter Olympic Games, are about ability, and not disability. They are about human triumph over obstacles and limitations, and the competition among athletes as they strive to achieve is an inspiration with the lesson that all of us can be better.
“Paralympians are fighters,” said Sir Philip Craven of Britain, President of International Paralympic Committee (IPC). “If we believe we’ve got to do something, we do it, and we do it against the odds if we have to.”
A five-time Paralympian in wheelchair basketball, Craven spoke today at the Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Japan in Tokyo of the transformative effect of the Paralympics on the places where the games are held, on the people who are inspired to compete, and on social acceptance for people living with impairments. Continue reading
Published by Japan Today Oct. 13, 2014
TOKYO — Tokyo Governor Yoichi Masuzoe recently convened the first meeting of the Council to Think of Tokyo’s International PR, an impressive collection of some 15 people from various fields (industry leaders, media strategists, think tanks, journalists) charged with discussing in a frank manner what it will take to successfully host the 2020 summer Olympics.
Topics included the need for better signage in international languages; better wireless availability; places to eat and sleep in Tokyo for those of us who can’t afford luxe; and a successful branding strategy to communicate with the outside world.
It is heartening to see Tokyo planning now for an event that may seem far off in the future. Hosting a monster event like the Olympics is a major undertaking, one that involves a massive infusion of public money and a realignment of public priorities, all on the bet that the payback will be worth it. Continue reading …
(Taku Yuasa photo)
Oct. 10, 2014
For today’s 50th anniversary of the start of the 1964 summer Olympics in Tokyo, Olympians from Japan’s past and possible contenders for future games came together today to share stories of glory days and hopes for Tokyo’s 2020 summer games.
Scores of Japanese journalists, photographers and videographers turned out to document past and future Japanese athletes discussing the importance of the games before a packed auditorium at the Tokyo Chamber of Commerce and Industry building.
Kiyoko Ono, 78, a gymnast who won a bronze medal in the ’64 Olympics, said she balanced the demands of motherhood and those of being an Olympic athlete by focusing on her goals and never giving up.
Yoshiyuki Miyake, 69, a weightlifter who won a bronze medal in the 1968 Summer Olympics, said a combination of hope, dreams, and practice is the key to success. Continue reading
Tokyo Governor Yōichi Masuzoe today at the first meeting of the Council to Think of Tokyo’s International PR.
Oct. 7, 2014
The Tokyo Metropolitan Government today got down to the business of planning to host the 2020 summer Olympics, convening the first meeting of the Council to Think of Tokyo’s International PR.
An impressive collection 15 people from various fields (national government, media strategists, think tanks, and journalists) met with Tokyo Governor Yōichi Masuzoe for a frank discussion of what it will take to successfully host the games.
Among the proposals:
Better wireless: despite Tokyo’s reputation as a tech geek center, its wifi services are far behind other international cities. Continue reading
Yomiuri Giants fan Risa Abe fist-pumps with a model figure outside the Tokyo Dome. (Hironobu Itabashi photo)
Oct. 3, 2014
It was warm and sunny today outside the Tokyo Dome, perfect baseball weather, and Kashikawa Kazumi sat in the sun waiting for the start of a Yomiuri Giants open practice game at their home field.
The 75-year-old played baseball in junior high and high school, is a loyal Giants fans, and can’t understand why there’s even a debate about whether to include baseball in the 2020 summer Olympics in Tokyo.
“I never understood it,” he said through a translator. “It’s a sport everyone really likes.”
Baseball has been a part of the Olympics since the 1904 summer games in St. Louis as an exhibition/demonstration sport, and became a medal sport in 1992.
But in 2005, the International Olympic Committee annual meeting voted baseball and softball out of the 2012 Summer Olympics in London, the first time the Olympics called out a sport since polo was eliminated from the 1936 Olympics. In 2009, the IOC again voted to exclude baseball in the 2016 Summer Olympics. Continue reading
Oct. 2, 2014
Hosting a monster event like the Olympics is a major undertaking, one that involves a massive infusion of public money and a realignment of public priorities, all on the bet that the payback will be worth it.
Sometimes, a host city measures its Olympic success more in symbolic and political terms than in dollars and cents.
In 1936, the National Socialist government in Germany, which had been awarded the Games before the Nazi rise to power, saw the summer Olympics in Berlin as a chance to propagandize its views of racial supremacy.
The 1964 summer Olympics in Tokyo allowed Japan to demonstrate it belonged to the community of nations.
Sometimes, the payoff is clear in economic terms. Continue reading
Posted in Tokyo
Tagged Barcelona, Beijing, Berlin, Brazil, Greee, Olympic curse, Olympics, Qatar, Sochi, South Korea, Tokyo
Sept. 30, 2014
In 2020, Tokyo will become the first Asian city to host the summer Olympics twice.
The 1964 summer Olympics in Tokyo were the first to be held in Asia, and marked a major turning point for Japan, a return to the international stage for a country still recovering from its World War II firebombing and lingering global resentments.
The 1964 Olympics were a huge success for Japan, and not only in terms of international symbolism or gold medals.
The buildup to ’64 saw the transformation of Tokyo into a sleek, modern and thriving megalopolis, complete with high-speed bullet trains symbolizing Japan’s economic emergence. Highways, expressways, and subway lines were built, and Haneda Airport was modernized. Beautifying the city and keeping its streets clean became a focus for Tokyo that still remains. Continue reading
Sept. 29, 2014
The 2020 Tokyo summer Olympics: Let the games begin.
The buildup to hosting the 2020 summer games has been under way ever since Tokyo won the bid as host city last fall, beating out fellow finalist cities Istanbul and Madrid.
Now the race is on to get ready, and even with six years to plan, a host city needs to get its act together or suffer the consequences. Just ask Sochi.
As part of the unfolding Tokyo 2020 buildup, I am one of six journalists from around the world who will be spending the month of October in the Japanese capital, at the invitation of the Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Japan and the Tokyo Metropolitan Government. The Dateline Tokyo fellowship program will invite a new set of journalists each year heading into 2020. Continue reading