I think authorities in Japan have tried to do good by hosting the Olympics and then have been plunged into a thankless and no-win situation of trying to host the event during a worldwide crisis.
Politics will be addressed later in this article because there’s a fundamental issue about the Winter Olympics that must not be swept under the carpet or sportswashed.
First, though, the good stuff!
An incredible array of talent has been brought together, lots of Studio Ghibli staff, for example, to create Tomorrow’s Leaves. The short film will be released on the 23rd and online here.
Yep, anime is on the official Olympics website!
The Olympic Foundation for Culture and Heritage (OFCH) commissioned Japanese animation company Studio Ponoc for this special project, to celebrate the Olympic spirit, engage a broader international audience and reinforce the links between sport, culture and education that are fundamental to the Olympic Movement.
Yoshiaki Nishimura is the producer, and Yoshiyuki Momose (Grave of the Fireflies, The Tale of the Princess Kaguya) directed.
Tomorrow’s Leaves synopsis
The annual arrival of the message leaf causes concern – something is undeniably wrong.
Its usually vibrant and lasting colours quickly fade, and it suddenly withers and crumbles.
Five envoys, from five diverse lands, are dispatched to find out what has happened.
The envoys travel to a distant land, quietly guided by tiny spirits. Each envoy has its own strengths and vulnerabilities. They compete and support each other as they draw closer to their destination, facing treacherous terrain and difficult conditions. Through athletic challenges and the uniting power of sport, they discover the positive fundamental values that come with playful competition.
Together, the envoys approach near the source of the message leaf.
Can they restore life to a future in peril?
The serious stuff
Some believe you can bring people together through sport. Often that’s correct, but sometimes it becomes corrupted, and sport is used to wave off unethical behaviour.
Sportswashing can hide all sorts of sins, but the decision to host the Winter Olympics in China may be the leviathan and most horrible example of it that we will see.
China is actively engaged in atrocities in Tibet, Inner Mongolia, Hong Kong and the Xinjiang Uyghur region. China is committing genocide against Uyghurs. It is buying silence with international investments and now, through the Winter Olympics, with sport.
The European Parliament and others have voted for a boycott of the Winter Olympics.
It just means that their officials will not attend.
I won’t tell you what to do, but I aim to give the Japanese Olympics my support and then The Olympic Foundation for Culture and Heritage will get no more of my time.
Current 2022 Winter Olympics sponsors
Here are some of the current 2022 Winter Olympics sponsors, according to Wikipedia.
- Alibaba Group
- The Coca-Cola Company-Mengniu Dairy
- Dow Chemical Company
- General Electric
- Omega SA
- Procter & Gamble
- Samsung Electronics
- Visa Inc.
What are your thoughts? Strike up a discussion and leave a comment below.