Advanced Referrals for the Book “1964: The Greatest Year in the History of Japan”

My book, 1964: The Greatest Year in the History of Japan – How the Tokyo Olympics Symbolized Japan’s Miraculous Rise from the Ashes, will be published by mid-July. Here are the advanced referrals from athletes, writers and academics.


A first rate look at the landmark Tokyo 1964 Olympics. Olympic historian Roy Tomizawa has delivered a well-crafted and authoritative account of what LIFE Magazine has described as the greatest Olympics ever. Should be read by anyone interested in the postwar development of Tokyo and the stunning transformation of the Japan’s capital that the 64 Games brought about, as well as those looking forward to the upcoming 2020 Tokyo Olympiad. It’s a real winner. – Robert Whiting, author of The Chrysanthemum and the Bat, You Gotta have Wa and Tokyo Underworld

“1964 – The Greatest Year in the History of Japan” is the story of how the Tokyo Olympics impacted post WWII Japan, explaining the pivotal role the Games played in Japan’s rise from the ashes. Every Olympics has its own character, and Roy Tomizawa‘s journey back in time uncovers the unique qualities of the 1964 Tokyo Olympics, discovering new stories while expanding on the often-told ones, offering up a new dimension to “UP close and Personal”.  Roy’s connection to his Japanese heritage is woven throughout this narrative which brilliantly delves into the passion, the pressure, the pride and the love of competition all Olympians have in common. Thank you for re-introducing me to my Olympics. I am looking forward to a second volume.Donna de Varona, 1964 two-time Olympic gold medalist in swimming, pioneer sports broadcaster, first President of the Women’s Sports Foundation, and member of the IOC’s Women and Sports Commission

An engaging and timely book on the Tokyo 1964 Olympics, rich with narrative from athletes that participated in the Games, and reflecting on the broader impact of the Games for Japan within the social and political context of the day.Dr Helen Macnaughtan, Chair, SOAS Japan Research Centre (JRC) and Senior Lecturer in International Business & Management (Japan)

“1964 – The Greatest Year in the History of Japan” is particularly meaningful and heartwarming to someone like me, a competitor in Tokyo 1964. Roy Tomizawa’s timely, graphic and picturesque reminiscence of Tokyo’s debut as Olympic host, mainly from first-person reports, is a must read for a wide spectrum of readers, from historians to sports aficionados to the entire stretch of the “Olympic Family,” especially those aspiring to be in Tokyo in 2020. – Tan Sri Dr. Jegathesan Manikavasagam, three-time Olympic sprinter from Malaysia, former Director of the Institute for Medical Research and Deputy Director-General of the Ministry of Health Malaysia, and current Advisor to the Medical and Anti-Doping commissions of the Olympic Council of Asia

Roy Tomizawa’s research and preparation allowed him to capture the mood and perspective of an integral moment in not only sports history, but in the history of a nation. Japan was only less than two decades removed from World War II when they hosted the 1964 Olympic Games in Tokyo. I lived among these proud people during the four years leading up to this event. In fact, my training during that time, at Meiji University, was vital to my making the US Olympic Judo team. If you want to be the best, you must train with the best. At that time, Japan, as a nation, and Meiji in particular, was the place to be if you wanted to perform well on the international stage in judo. During my time in Japan, I learned much about the Japanese way of life, their thought processes, and the psyche of a nation rebuilding after war. The 1964 games was to be their coming-out party, back on the world stage, and Mr. Tomizawa paints a delightfully accurate portrait of the scene as it unfolded. I thoroughly enjoyed this trip back in time to a moment in my life I will never forget. – Ben Nighthorse Campbell, U.S. Olympian (1964 Tokyo) and former U. S. Representative and U. S. Senator from Colorado

Politically and socially, Tokyo’s first Olympics in 1964 was one of the most interesting events of the post-war era and remains so more than half a century later. As the Japanese capital prepares for its 2020 encore, Roy Tomizawa provides context with revealing insights into this proud nation’s unique culture and the complex mood of challenging times, drawing on inspirational and emotional stories — sometimes triumphant, occasionally sad — from athletes and teams from Japan and other countries. “1964 – The Greatest Year in the History of Japan” is a well-rounded, strongly-researched and easy read. – Ron Reed, Award-winning sportswriter and former contributing editor for the Herald and Weekly Times, one of Australia’s most experienced Olympic observers

Roy has most wonderfully captured the background stories behind Olympic heroes and their many challenges, and has provided insightful political, social and economic context of how the 1964 Tokyo Olympic Games were so transformative for Japan. His book is an enjoyable and informative read for anyone interested in the Olympic Games and its Athletes. – Roger Jackson, Olympic Champion, Rowing, Tokyo 1964 and Past President Canadian Olympic Association

“1964 – The Greatest Year in the History of Japan” by Roy Tomizawa is an enjoyable read that weaves together descriptions of the athletes who took part in the first Tokyo Olympics with clear explanations of their cultural significance for the Japanese people. – David Wallechinsky, President, International Society of Olympic Historians and author of The Complete Book of the Olympics

I was there! Tokyo landed in the middle of my five Olympic contests participation.  Having to live up to until then unmatched hospitality of Melbourne and the cultural dimensions of Rome, Tokyo and people of Japan lifted themselves from grief and isolation and succeeded in hosting the world in Olympics innovation, in own way, beyond expectations. Recognition of details beyond the obvious lifted Roy Tomizawa’s writing beyond statistical listings to the fabric of the Olympic movement. In his stories the winner medals only dress up the billions of fibers of which the Olympic rings are made. Those are love of life, appreciation of human beings’ fabulous engineering, body-mind-spirit unity enjoyment, arts, industrial prowess and all-embracing communication skills that develop Olympians of Life, the champions and teams of radiance in the World.Olga Fikotova Connolly, 1956 Olympic champion, Women’s discus throw, 1960, 1964, 1968, 1972, competitor, Women’s discus throw

“1964 – The Greatest Year in the History of Japan” is a wonderful record and collection of political and sociological sport stories of Japan in 1964, highlighting the famous as well as some of the not-so-famous athletes who took part in the very first Olympics in Asia. This is a must-read about the Tokyo Olympics, and what a wonderful Olympic host Tokyo was in one of Asia’s shining moments of the 1960s. – Kunalan Canagasabai, two-time Olympian (Tokyo, 4 x 100m for Malaysia; Mexico, 100m & 200m for Singapore) and Senior Manager, Sport Singapore’s Singapore Sports Institute.

“1964 – The Greatest Year in the History of Japan” by Roy Tomizawa caught me completely by surprise. As I was a participant and medalist from the Netherlands at the Tokyo Olympics, this book is a trip down memory lane for me. However, the postwar history of Japan and the immense impact the Olympic Games had on Japan was an eye opener! I am so thankful to have been a part of these Happy Games, and now to have learned more about the cultural background and transformation of Japan. This book is worthwhile reading. Read it and pass on the Olympic torch –  from 1964 to 2020. – Ada Kok, silver medalist and past president of the Dutch Olympians Association

Historian Roy Tomizawa has written a compelling account of the Tokyo Olympic Games, a unique review of how those Games helped the people of Japan recover from the devastation of World War II and enjoy an astounding historical experience. With stories of brilliant performances by great athletes, dedicated coaches and a welcoming population of excited residents it runs the gamut from tragedies to the triumphs that went on to make 1964 the greatest year in the history of Japan. I strongly recommend it to everyone interested in the history and stories of the Olympic Games. A great read!  – Frank Gorman, silver medalist in the 3-meter springboard, USA, 1964 Tokyo Olympics