From the Emperor: Memories of the Tokyo Olympic Games in 64

Tokyo (AP)-Since Emperor Naruhito, every Japanese of a certain age remembers Tokyo in 1964 Olympic Games. Even younger Japanese make connections by storing old photos, telling stories, or remembering parents or aunts and uncles who watched the Olympics on TV for the first time.

These are the first Olympic Games Use satellite live broadcast, and finally run on cinder orbit; a bridge between the elderly Olympic Games And modern.

People recalled the construction of new bullet trains, urban highways—not all of which were completed for the Olympics—and complaints about cost overruns, just like today.

Emperor Naruhito’s grandfather, Emperor Hirohito, opened the Olympics, and he has his own memories. He was a 4 1/2-year-old kid at the time and recalled with guests last week, including the first lady of the United States Jill Biden.

“I have a deep memory of the closing ceremony of the 1964 Tokyo Olympics. Olympic Games, Athletes from different countries marched side by side, rather than divided by country,” the emperor said.

American Robert Whiting arrives Tokyo In 1962, lived in Capital of japan In 43 of the past 59 years, he has written several books about JapanThe latest is “Tokyo Junkie”, which traces the growth of the city and his own maturity.

“Historicists call the Tokyo 64th Olympics the greatest urban transformation in history. Therefore, it is difficult to idealize something with such a profound impact,” Whiting said in an interview. “This city is completely transformed from polluted stagnant water. No one wants to visit this high-tech metropolis where the James Bond people came here to shoot movies. The city has undergone material changes, but it has also brought the Japanese people. It’s a psychological stimulus.”

Some memories.


Nishimura Kezhong -He was a superstar in 1964.Nishimura, a 28-year-old pilot who flew with the Blue Impulse aerobatic team, depicted five Olympic Games The bells at the opening ceremony are in the sky Tokyo.

“Our leader came up with the idea of ​​depicting the five rings, and we trained for about a year,” the retired Japan Airlines pilot told The Associated Press. “It is very difficult to draw five circles for five planes. There was no radar at the time to allow each of us to set the correct speed and maintain the correct distance.”

He added: “I am the third pilot to draw a black circle.”

He said that the air sketch took about 40 seconds and he knew the pressure had been turned on.

“It’s about rebirth Japan After the war, and how the country was rebuilt. We can’t mess it up. We also know that air forces all over the world will pay attention. After finishing, we fly higher and then turn around to see what we did. I saw the stadium and the five rings are the same size and shape. perfect. “


Nagai Mariko -She is a college student and worked as an interpreter in the swimming pool where Don Scolland won four gold medals in the United States.

“This is not actually an interpreter’s job,” Nagai joked. Since then, he has been interpreting for the Prime Minister of Japan and the President of the United States, and has served as an English-Japanese interpreter in these places. Olympic Games.

“It’s not even a translation, it just makes announcements in English,” she said. “I will sit at the announcer’s desk with the Japanese announcer. The result will come out, and I will read the result in English.”

She also gave an introduction.

“In the first lane, Mr. XX from the United States. In the second lane-something similar.”

“I think this is the greatest pleasure I can have as a student,” Nagai added. “It was the Olympics. I was a helper and I would get paid. I got the uniform and everything-suit jacket, skirt, handbag, shoes and everything. It’s fun. It’s really fun.”


Watanabe Setsuko – she is at Tokyo In the community near the old National Stadium, she recalled watching the opening ceremony on the roof of her building in 1964.

“I can clearly see the stairs leading to the cauldron and the torchbearer walking up the stairs to light the flames,” Watanabe said in an interview with the Associated Press.

The torchbearer who lit the cauldron was the 19-year-old Sakai at the time, who was born in Hiroshima on August 6, 1945-the same day the Americans dropped the atomic bomb on the city.

She also recalled the performance of the aerobatic team “Blue Power” depicting the five Olympic rings in the sky.

“At that time I was a junior high school student. The school had lottery tickets. Those who won the lottery could go to the Olympics. I was the last to win the lottery because my last name Watanabe was last in the Japanese alphabetical order, but it was surprisingly me. Won.”


Kuroki Seiichi -His father Masatoshi Kuroki was a marshal at the opening ceremony of the 64th Olympic Games.He said he knew nothing about his father’s experience until Tokyo This time I was appointed as the host, and the topic came.

“This Olympic Games I am very grateful for giving me the opportunity to discover many things about Dad for the first time,” he said. “Really, without this, I might not know all these details. I’m glad I know. “

In an interview, he showed the name tag and patch with the famous sun logo worn by his father. He also showed a certificate of appreciation from the Olympic officials.

“When I asked him questions such as what you did at the Olympics, he seemed very happy because it was like his legacy,” he explained.


Shunichi Sekikawa -A retired elementary school teacher. When he was a student, he and his classmates were invited to run with the torchbearer and raise a banner showing the five rings.

“I did this because the teacher asked us to do this,” Guan Chuan told the Associated Press in an interview. “The impression at the time was that the flame came from Athens, Greece. If we let it go out, it would be absolutely outrageous. I take this very seriously.”

He said he received a red and white Mizuno costume, which was smaller in size to fit children.

“I have completely forgotten it, but my mother kept it, so I found it many years later. It is useful to show my students something that represents that era. They can’t believe that I am one of them.”

He also said that the athletes he remembered most since 64 were women-the gold medal women’s volleyball team and hurdler Yuda Yuko known as the “Oriental Witch”.

“We did not consider it at the time, but no female students were required to participate in the torch relay,” he said.


Shibata Takumi -A retired asset manager. He is 11 years old and in the sixth grade. All students in the school hope to buy Olympic tickets. One day, his teacher came and said that he had tickets. Ask the students what.

“The teacher said he had football tickets, and we said:’What is that?'”

He said that the teacher explained that this is a game that “people cannot play with their hands”.

“We said it was meaningless,” Shibata recalled.

Shibata said that he and his classmates refused the tickets.until Japan Won a bronze medal in football at the 1968 Olympics, which made the sport popular.

He also recalled earlier that not everyone had a TV.

“TV is something the neighbors share,” he explained. “So at 6 pm, the kids from the house next door will come to my house. I don’t even have the right to choose my channel.”


This story has been corrected to fix the spelling of the emperor’s name as Deren, Not Naurhito.

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