Rings on the ropes 岌岌可危的五环

The 2020 Olympics will be memorable, but not in the way Japan hoped 2020年奥运会将令人难忘,但不是日本希望的那样

Even if disaster is averted, a sense of national renewal will remain elusive即使不至于以灾难收场,也难以带来民族复兴之感

Jul 15th 2021 | TOKYO

CLOUDS GATHERED over Komazawa stadium in Tokyo as the Olympic torch arrived on July 9th. Because of the pandemic, the traditional public relay was replaced by a small ceremony behind the stadium’s closed doors. Protesters outside held signs that read “Protect lives not the Olympics” and “Extinguish the Olympic torch”. As Kyogoku Noriko, a civil servant, put it, “Now is not the time for a festival.” More enthusiastic onlookers lined a nearby footbridge, hoping to catch a glimpse of the flame through the stadium’s rafters. For Honma Taka, an office worker, the torch offered “a bit of light within the darkness”.

奥运火炬于7月9日到达东京驹泽体育馆,乌云正在体育馆上空聚集。因为疫情,传统的火炬接力活动被取消,取而代之的是馆内的闭门小型仪式。抗议者聚集在体育馆外,高举“保护生命高于奥运”,“熄灭奥运火炬”等标语。公务员京谷纪子(Kyogoku Noriko)说:“现在不是举行庆典的时候。”更多热情的看客排着队站在附近的天桥上,希望能透过体育馆檐缝一睹奥运火炬之光。对于公司职员本间贵宽(Honma Taka)而言,火炬“是黑暗中的一线光明”。

Mr Honma longingly recalled a brighter day in the same park eight years earlier, when he joined thousands of others to celebrate as Tokyo won the right to host the games. Abe Shinzo, Japan’s prime minister at the time, said he was happier than he had been when he became prime minister. Mr Abe saw the Olympics as a chance to lend credence to his bullish catchphrase: “Japan is back”. He hoped the games would help the country snap out of its gloom after decades of economic stagnation, demographic decline and devastating natural disasters. The games, says Taniguchi Tomohiko, a special adviser to Mr Abe, were seen as a source of “a commodity that was in scarce supply: hope for the future”.

本间深情地回忆起八年前那个更美好的一天,就在这座公园里,他和数千人一起庆祝东京赢得奥运会主办权。时任日本首相安倍晋三表示,他比自己当上首相时还要开心。安倍视奥运会为一个契机,来印证那句豪迈的口号“日本回来了”。他希望奥运会能帮助日本走出数十年的经济停滞,人口下降和天灾重创的阴霾。安倍的特别顾问谷口智彦( Taniguchi Tomohiko)表示,奥运会被视为一种稀缺商品之源,这种稀缺商品就是对未来的希望。

The grand designs had a powerful precedent in the previous Tokyo Olympics, in 1964. Just two decades after defeat in the second world war, those games came to encapsulate both Japan’s rise from the ashes and its re-entry into the global community. Tokyo, which had been reduced to cinders by American firebombing, was smartened up. New roads and rail lines, including the first shinkansen, or bullet train, were built. “There was a feeling in the 1960s that everyday life was becoming richer: today is better than yesterday, and tomorrow will be better than today—and the Olympics became a symbol of this,” says Togo Kazuhiko, a former ambassador who was a student at the time. The excitement left a lasting impression on a generation, including Mr Abe, who invoked his childhood memories of 1964 when Tokyo won the bid for this year’s games.

这一伟大构想有一个极有影响力的先例,即1964年的东京奥运会。二战战败后仅仅过了20年,那一届东京奥运会就是日本从灰烬中崛起,并再次融入国际社会的缩影。曾被美军燃烧弹烧成灰烬的东京,又重建一新。新的道路和铁路,包括第一代新干线列车(或称高铁)一一落成开通。前外交官东乡何彦(Togo Kazuhiko)当时还是一名学生,他回忆道:“1960年代,人们觉得生活每天都变得更加富裕:今天比昨天好,明天会比今天更好——而奥运会成了这种感觉的象征。”这种兴奋之情给整整一代人留下了久久难忘的印象,其中也包括安倍晋三,东京赢得2020奥运会举办权时,他就曾提到自己对1964年的童年回忆。

If not for the pandemic, excitement may well have materialised again. The current Tokyo Olympics has had its share of controversies, from an over-budget stadium to rank sexism from the (now departed) head of the organising committee. Nor would a sporting event alone be enough to resolve Japan’s problems. But the games were shaping up to be a source of pride. Tens of thousands of young Japanese had signed up to volunteer. Japan planned to welcome 40m foreigners in 2020, when the games were originally scheduled. Tourists would have found an impeccably clean, safe, well-run metropolis. Akita Hiroyuki, a commentator for Nikkei, a Japanese daily, reckons that the Olympics could have been a “white ship” that catalysed the country to “wake up and open up”. (The Americans who forced Japan to open to the world in the 19th century arrived in “Black Ships”.)

要不是因为疫情,或许真有可能再现群情激昂之气氛。本届东京奥运会备受争议,从场馆超出预算,到组委会负责人(现已离职)的性别歧视风波。单凭一个体育赛事不足以解决日本所有问题。但本届奥运会本来正逐渐成为日本自豪之源。数万名日本年轻人报名成为志愿者。按照原来的计划,日本预计会在2020年迎来4千万外国访客。游客们会看到一个一尘不染、安全无虞、秩序井然的国际大都市。日本日报《日经新闻》的评论员秋田博之(Akita Hiroyuki)认为,奥运会本来会成为一艘“白船”,推动日本“苏醒过来并走向开放”。(19世纪迫使日本对外开放的美国人是坐着“黑船”来的。)

Instead, the games will be held without fans, foreign or domestic, in a city under a state of emergency. Ito Yuko, one of the fans gathered outside Komazawa stadium, lamented that the mood is “200% different” from 1964, when she first fell in love with the Olympics. Rather than coming together for the games, Japan has been riven by them. Recent polls show that as many as 80% of Japanese did not want them to go ahead this year.

然而,现在奥运会将在没有国内国外粉丝的情况下,在一座处于紧急状态中的城市里举行。聚集在驹泽体育馆外的其中一名粉丝伊藤优子(Ito Yuk)哀叹道,现在的气氛跟1964年“相差了200%”,她第一次爱上了奥运会这项赛事就是在1964年。日本非但没有因为奥运团结起来,反而变得四分五裂。最近的民调显示,多达80%的日本人反对今年按原计划举办奥运。

The sense that national leaders are pulling an unwilling population into a disaster has led to comparisons not with the previous Tokyo Olympics, but with the war that preceded them. Even Emperor Naruhito, who almost never speaks about politically sensitive matters, has made his concerns about pressing on with the games known.


Opposition to the Olympics stems only in part from fears of covid-19. Japan has managed the pandemic well by global standards, with just 15,000 deaths; Tokyo has seen just eight covid-19 deaths so far this month. But many Japanese feel that the success has been thanks to ordinary people who behaved responsibly and made sacrifices in their personal lives, whereas the government is stubbornly persisting with a risky undertaking. “It’s not just the health crisis, but the democratic crisis—it’s the lack of accountability,” says Nakano Koichi of Sophia University.

反对举办奥运会,仅部分原因是出于对新冠疫情的担忧。根据全球标准来看,日本疫情控制得很不错,只有1.5万人死亡。截至到这个月,东京只有8例新冠感染死亡病例。但很多日本人觉得防控成功要归功于在生活中恪尽其责,做出牺牲的普通人,而政府却固执坚持进行这项危险之事。上智大学的中野晃一(Nakano Koichi)说,“这不仅是一场健康危机,也是一场民主危机——是问责制的缺失。”

Many fume that the interests of sponsors, TV networks and the International Olympic Committee (IOC) seem to be more important than those of the Japanese people. That the games have moved forward despite public opinion shows they are “not for the people”, but for “the people to whom the money flows”, says Miyakawa Taku, a software engineer who joined the protest outside Komazawa stadium.

许多人心生愤怒,觉得赞助商、电视台和国际奥委会的利益似乎比日本人民的利益更重要。软件工程师宫川青井(Miyakawa Taku)参加了驹泽体育馆外的抗议活动,他说,奥运会仍在继续推行,尽管民意显示它并非“为了人民”,而是为了“敛财之人”。

Things could go badly wrong. A covid-19 outbreak in the Olympic Village could prevent events from being held and leave competitions with asterisks in the history books. A careless member of the press or an official delegation could sneak off and seed a larger outbreak among the Japanese public. Athletes from the developing world could bring a more infectious strain of the virus home, turning the games into a global superspreader event. Such a fiasco would reinforce a sense of Japan’s decline and leave the public more wary of engagement with the outside world.


Japan might also manage to keep the virus mostly under control and the sport on schedule. Executing the games in such difficult circumstances could instead serve as a reminder of Japan’s ability to overcome adversity. Either way, the legacy of these Olympics will be contested. “If this was a picture, we could say that the frame itself has become rotten,” says Sakaue Yasuhiro, a sports historian at Hitotsubashi University in Tokyo. “The picture might turn out to be beautiful, but it is still surrounded by this rotten frame.” ■

日本也许能设法使病毒得到基本控制,并保证比赛按计划进行。在如此困难的情况下举办奥运,反而也可以让我们意识到,日本有能力克服困境。不论如何,本届奥运会的影响将充满争议。东京一桥大学的体育历史学家坂上康博(Sakaue Yasuhiro)说,“如果把奥运比做一幅画,我们会说画框已经腐烂了。尽管画最后可能还是很美,但仍是被这个腐烂的画框所包围着。”



平均评分 5 / 5. 投票数: 2




没有账号? 注册  忘记密码?
'); })();