Using official materials and media commentary, this article examines two large-scale spectacles and their implications for post-war Japanese nationalism. Discursively, the Olympics and the World Exposition presented a clear vision of Japan: as a nation at the forefront of the international scene, fit to act as a champion of the non-Western world and firmly unified internally. In concrete ways, the two events strengthened the process of national integration that was gathering pace in the nineteen-sixties, especially through the provision of new networks of transport and communications. They also helped to rehabilitate the post-war Japanese state, so that it could more readily be seen as a benign entity devoted to the national interest and the people's welfare. The article illuminates a key moment in the emergence of new national self-images and in the construction of national life in post-war Japan.