Operation Olympiad seeks to represent the ways in which Tokyo and Japan came to prepare for the international Olympic Games in 1940 and the international conflict simultaneously. Alessandro Perini aims to remind us of the importance of Japan’s rich Olympic history in light of Tokyo again being awarded the right to host the Olympic Games in 2020.
The event was intended to coincide with the 2600th anniversary of Japan’s imperial line and this symbolic occasion has subsequently been the focus of academic research. Tokyo’s Olympic vision emerged in the first years of the Showa era (1926-1989), driven by a desire to prove that Japan and its modern capital, rebuilt after the devastation of the Great Kanto Earthquake, were capable of hosting a major international event. However, the original Tokyo Olympics, which were to have been held in 1940, were canceled because of Japan’s deepening conflict with China. In retrospect, one of the most controversial aspects of Tokyo 1940 is the fusion of militarism and sport which is presented side-by-side in this work.