October 10, 1964: Tokyo Reborn

On October 10, 1963, I was born.

One year later, on October 10, 1964, Tokyo was reborn.

Japan was on the rise in the early 1960s and the XVIII Olympiad provided an opportunity for Japan to show the world that it was not only back on its feet, but sprinting!

To recall the energy, ingenuity and enthusiasm of Japan that October in 1964, here is a wonderful gallery of pictures from the Yomiuri Shinbum Group.

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The famed National Gymnasium, designed by Kenzo Tange, under construction

Chapter One: Tokyo Reborn: See the Olympic venues under construction.

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Testing the Seiko timing system that automatically captures swim finish times

Chapter Two: Made in Japan: See the emergence of Seiko and IBM, taking Japan and the Olympics to the next level of technological achievement.

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Traditional happi coats were distributed to Olympians.

Chapter Three: “Omotenashi”: See the myriad ways in which Japan made visitors welcome, and gape with admiration.

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Japanese athletes training hard.

Chapter Four: International Sports Festival: See how the Japanese athletes trained and groomed for their big coming out party, and how overseas athletes were welcomed to Japan.

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Yoshinori Sakai lighting the Olympic cauldron on October 10.

Chapter Five: Olympic Flame: Follow the torch, and see how Japan celebrated one of its greatest. proudest days of the Showa Era.

Thanks to those Tokyo Games 52 years ago, October 10 was declared a public holiday in Japan – Sports Day – and has become a time of the year when schools all over Japan put their children through a variety of sporting activities, with their proud parents cheering them on.

It’s a day of health.

It’s a day of sport.

It’s a day of pride.

I think I’ll keep it as my birthday.