While the Japanese government declined to host the Olympic Games, it was also forced to postpone the holding of an exhibition that was scheduled to be held at the same time as the Olympic Games. As a result, two projects that were planned to commemorate the nation’s 2600th anniversary were cancelled. However, preparations steadily moved forward for the 2600th anniversary commemorative ceremony scheduled to be held in November 1940.

Shashin Shuho reported the progress of preparations for the ceremony and actual events on the ceremony day. For more details, see the “Japan celebrates its 2600th anniversary” on November 10, 1940 in the chronological table. The ceremony was held over the two days on November 10 and 11, with a total of 55,000 people taking part. In addition to the ceremony, a number of related events were also planned, including the East Asia Competition. A decision was made to hold this event in the suburbs of Tokyo from June 6 to June 9, 1938 ahead of this ceremony.

Document 10 is a document in which the Chairman of the Japan Sports Association Hiroshi Shimomura asked the Minister of Foreign Affairs Hachiro Arita to lend his support for the East Asia Competition. This document accompanies the “Prospectus of the East Asia Competition to commemorate the 2600th anniversary .” The prospectus states that an event that was originally going to be held in that year was the Olympic Games, but circumstances had changed and Helsinki was named the host city for the 12th Olympic Games. With the Helsinki Olympic Games about to be cancelled, and in light of global affairs, the chairman indicated that the decision had been made to hold the East Asia Competition. In addition to Japan, the participating countries would include “Manchukuo”, the Wang Zhaoming regime, Thailand, the Philippines, and so-called the South Sea Islands. The event was also to differ from the Olympic Games in its scale and nature.

Document 11 is issue No. 121 of Shashin Shuho, which was published on June 19, 1940. This issue covers the progress of the East Asia Competition. The article in the journal makes the following statement: “Three years have passed since Japan abandoned the Tokyo Olympic Games and began to focus on finishing this sacred war. With the participation of 2,000 young people from Japan, Manchukuo, the new Republic of China, the Philippines, Hawaii and Mongol, the East Asia Competition is the first major event to be held since the Far East Games ten years ago in 1930. It is our festival of people, in which the strong and growing friendships with our neighbors and the determination of Asian youth are on full display for all to see.”


Japan Center for Asian Historical Records, National Archives of Japan