(En)forcing the Tokyo 2020 Olympics : Japan and racialized digital disengagement

Miyake, Esperanza; (2023) (En)forcing the Tokyo 2020 Olympics : Japan and racialized digital disengagement. In: Digital Disengagement. Bristol University Press, Bristol. ISBN 9781529234657 (https://bristoluniversitypress.co.uk/esperanza-miy...)

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This chapter problematises the racialisation of digital engagement and digital solutionism, and how they reinforce dominant ideologies of power, race and digitality. I examine how Tokyo Olympics 2020 was promoted and ultimately realised during a global pandemic, despite mass protests and the tremendous human and financial costs incurred by Japan. I offer the double notion of both forcing and enforcing digitality. In the context of Tokyo 2020, not only was opt-out not a viable option, but one that actively carried a financial penalty, thus making compliance necessary. As such, I critique how the forcing and enforcing of Tokyo 2020 was grounded upon geopolitical inequalities of engagement and disengagement. In the process, I explore the naturalisation of digital, social and economic dis/engagement as situated within a pandemic time-space which brought together the need for material labour, digital productivity and consumption. Ultimately, I argue that Tokyo 2020 represents a moment where digitality – presented as the 'safe', revolutionary solution – was weaponised, commodified and exploited by both the International Olympic Committee and Japan, as interrelated and mutually complicit forms of racialised digital engagement, both serving their own ‘project’ of economic, political and socio-cultural dominance.


Miyake, Esperanza ORCID logoORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0001-5504-7648;