1st Edition

Political Economy of the Tokyo Olympics Unrestrained Capital and Development without Sustainable Principles

Edited By Miyo Aramata Copyright 2023
    174 Pages 34 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    This book is an analysis of both contemporary Tokyo and the contemporary Olympic Games, emphasizing the role of late-stage capitalism and political economy in shaping both.

    The 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games were mired in scandal from the beginning of the bidding process all the way through to the end of the games. This was further exacerbated by the emergency postponement to 2021 due to the coronavirus pandemic, with many public opinion polls supporting further postponement or cancelation in 2021. The contributors to this volume look at the Tokyo 2020 Games in the context of other modern games and the struggle to use the games as an economic stimulus. They reveal the reality of the Olympic development in Tokyo based on evidence and concrete policy analysis.

    This is a valuable resource for scholars both of contemporary Japan and of the Olympics and other mega-events.


    Miyo Aramata

    1. Inter-City Competition and Rescaling of Global Cities: London, Tokyo, and Paris

    Miyo Aramata

    2. The Political Economy of Mega-events as Spectacles in the Global East

    Hyun Bang Shin

    3. The 1964 and 2020 (2021) Tokyo Olympics: Memorandum on Aspects of Urban (Re)Development

    Naoki Oshiro

    4. Mega Events and Urban Socio-Economy: Urban Development through Tokyo 2020 and Osaka 2025

    Ryo Koizumi

    5. National Projects and their Local Consequences: Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games and the "Symbiotic Society Host Town"

    Atsushi Naruse

    6. Bobsleigh Tracks, Materiality and Affect: A Note on the Olympic Legacy

    Susumu Yamaguchi

    7. Securitization at the Tokyo 2020 Games: The Transformation of Public Space before and after the COVID-19 Pandemic

    Kazuaki Sugiyama


    Miyo Aramata


    Miyo Aramata is Professor in the Department of History and Geography at the School of Arts and Letters, Meiji University, Japan.

    Did we really witness the Olympics? Tokyo under the pandemic seems to have quickly forgotten the bizarre experience of mega-events with no spectators. This book is a critical challenge that explores the undisclosed secrets of a megacity still chasing global illusions in the age of digitalization and post-globalization. Yet Tokyo is by no means an exception to the world. The genealogy of mega events continues with London, Paris, and Los Angeles. Readers of this book will learn both the multi-layered urban meaning of mega-events and the new possibilities of cross-disciplinary urban research from the "thick description" of the city.

    Takashi Machimura

    Professor of Tokyo Keizai University, Professor emeritus of Hitotsubashi University, Former trustee of IJURR Foundation


    This is a first-rate collection of chapters that critically, analytically, and empirically refutes the view that the Olympic Games are merely a massive sporting event. The focus of most of the chapters is on the way in which ‘Tokyo 2020’ (the Tokyo Summer and Paralympic Games) – unprecedentedly postponed for one year due to the COVID 19 pandemic – was used by various stakeholders to attempt to create an economic stimulus, give urban planning a boost, and sow the seeds for greater capital development in Japan. Primarily the work of Japanese urban geographers, with a more theoretical contribution by Hyun Bang Shin (LSE) on mega-events as spectacles, the other chapters deal with topics such as the rescaling of former global cities, the wastefulness of the construction of elite sports facilities for short periods of time, and the increasing securitization of public space. This book is a great addition to the stock of works that critically reflect on the hosting of the Olympics.

    John Horne

    Formerly Professor in the Faculty of Sport Sciences, Waseda University, Tokyo, Japan