We’re lucky to have some truly fascinating and valuable documents in our collections, including the invitation from the Mayor of the city of Tokyo, Hidejiro Nagata, for the uncelebrated 1940 Games in Tokyo.
This beautiful piece of art is made from a drawing of birds, gilding, India ink and the stamp of the Mayor of Tokyo. On 31 July in 1936, Tokyo was chosen as host city for the Games over Helsinki, but withdrew its candidature in 1938 due to the war.
You'll find the transcription of the invitation below:
The International Olympic Committee
Los Angeles, California, U.S.A.
Honourable [sic] Gentlemen:
On behalf of the City of Tokyo and its people, I, the undersigned, Mayor of Tokyo, herewith beg to extend a most cordial invitation to the International Olympic Committee that the XIIth Olympic Games be held in Japan during the year 1940, and that Tokyo be selected as the Olympic City. The city officials of Tokyo, and civic, business, and athletic organizations of Japan all join me extending the above invitation.
We are anxiously and eagerly looking forward to the year 1940 when we may be granted the honour [sic] and pleasure to celebrate as host the XIIth Olympiad, making the same a notable event in the history of the modern Games; and we shall also take that occasion to the 2,600th anniversary of the founding of the Empire of Japan, and thus contribute something unique to the Olympic Movement.
We hereby give assurance that the City of Tokyo will take most seriously its responsibility of making the Olympic Games a great success; and that nothing will be left undone to make the XIIth Olympiad a great and glorious achievement in case Tokyo be selected as the Olympic City for 1940.
May the Olympic Torch light the way to the Orient; and may our more intimate contacts increase mutual understanding among the nations for the good of humanity, and may it lead to a purer and more enthusiastic and more courageous friendship.
I remain, Gentlemen, Yours respectfully,
Hidejiro Nagata. Mayor of Tokyo.
Tokyo, Japan, July 11th 1932
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