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    An analysis of Japan’s soft power strategies through the prism of sports mega-events

    Jeong, Joonoh and Grix, Jonathan ORCID logoORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0001-7315-1641 (2023) An analysis of Japan’s soft power strategies through the prism of sports mega-events. Sport in Society. ISSN 1743-0437

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    Abstract

    This article investigates the use of sports mega-events by nations in East Asia to leverage ‘soft power’. The focus is on Japan and its ‘soft power’ strategies, building on existing work by adding a novel tripartite analysis to understand Japan’s domestic, regional and international rationale for hosting sports mega-events. The empirical data for this study is drawn from government documents and bespoke in-depth interviews (N = 10) with experts involved in sport. This, alongside engagement with the extant literature in the field, allows a more nuanced understanding of Japan’s rationale behind hosting the 1964 Tokyo Olympics, the 2019 Rugby World Cup and the city’s second hosting of an Olympics, the 2020(1) summer Games. Key findings include the use of sports mega-events to ‘open up’ Japan’s society and bolster domestic politics, to maintain their regional status competing with China and South Korea and to improve the nation’s global status.

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