Day 23: September 20, 2013
TOKYO 2020! Olympic Committee celebrates Japan’s winning bid [photo courtesy of The Japan Times]
One virtue I have learned from Japan in my short time here: practice excellence
in everything. The core Olympic values are embodied by the people of Japan, for whom excellence, friendship and respect are a way of life.
Visit to 東京都庁舎, Shinjuku: the center of excitement for TOKYO 2020!
The Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building (東京都庁舎) stands 202 meters in height. An observation deck on the 45th floor is free and open to the public.
Who could pass up this view?
The mission statement from the TOKYO 2020 Bid Committee was read (in part) as follows:
We believe in the power of sport, and its ability to generate dreams, hopes, goals and positive change. We believe that a renewed commitment to the values inherent to Olympism – excellence, friendship and respect – will inspire our youth to strive for a positive future for themselves, their country and the world.
Quite powerful and inspiring to hear. Tokyo’s bid was paired with a short clip (much of which illustrates the Japan I have come to be familiar with):
In light of TOKYO 2020, I decided to do a short bit of research on the origin of these Olympic values and the philosophy of Olympism. Here’s what I learned:
Reactions in Tokyo at Olympic Stadium [photo courtesy of The Japan Times]
The notion of Olympism
advocates for the elevation of the mind and soul; overcoming differences in nationalities and cultures, embracing friendship, a sense of solidarity, and fair play; ultimately leading to the contribution towards world peace and the betterment of the world (Bid Committee, 2013).
The five rings,
The atmosphere in Tokyo, September 7, 2013 [photo courtesy of The Japan Times]
the well-known symbol of the Olympics, were developed in 1892 by Baron de Coubertin to express the solidarity of the world’s five continents.
Ecstatic Tokyo [photo courtesy of The Japan Times]
The practice of excellence
is built around the ability to inspire others. To evoke positive change using the platform you have been given. Japan’s commitment to pursue positivity and re-instill faith and hope following the 2011 earthquake and tsunami commemorates excellence in my book.
Excitement at the foot of the Metropolitan Government Building, Shinjuku.
To quote a most favorite author: “Devotees of human excellence develop not only their own talent but also the talent of those they touch.” Excellence, then, is: rising above ourselves, and lifting up those around us, by getting the most from our talents and gifts (Lowney, 2009).
Be it an opportunity to compete at the Olympic Games, pursue missionary work, or teach English in Japan, if excellence is rising above ourselves … to pursue it, engage your talents for the benefit of others.
In Japan, 卓越 “takuetsu” (excellence) is a way of life; a focus on building strong community and unity. Japan has promised to inspire the world in 2020. I wholeheartedly believe they will deliver. Congrats, TOKYO! See you in 2020.
“Keep your eyes on the stars and keep your feet on the ground.” – Teddy Roosevelt
Kameda, Masaaki. “Games nod pressures Tokyo to act.” The Japan Times. (http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2013/09/09/national/games-nod-pressures-tokyo-to-act/#.Ujw63Btgfvo).
Lowney, Chris. “Heroic Living.” Loyola Press (2009).
Tokyo 2020 Bid Committee. “Olympic Movement.” Tokyo 2020. (http://tokyo2020.jp/en/olympics/).