Tokyo2016 A Bid for More Olympic History

Jun 15th, 2009 | By | Category: Featured Articles, Museums, Tokyo and Vicinity


The decision on whether Tokyo will once again be honored as the host city of the Olympics is just a few months away.  On October 2nd, the Olympic bid committee will decide whether Tokyo will be chosen to host the Summer Olympics in 2016.

The Summer Olympics were hosted by Tokyo in 1964 and is still home to a number of the venues that played an integral part in the success of those games.  One of those venues is the National Stadium that now houses The Prince Chichibu Memorial Sports Museum that houses a large collection of Olympic memorabilia and displays that cover the history of the games starting with first Olympiad.

Origami Torch Tokyo2016

The National Stadium was built in 1958 for the 1964 Olympics and today serves as a venue for soccer and rugby matches.  The Prince Chichibu Memorial Sports Museum opened in 1959 and is dedicated to the memory of Prince Yashuhito Chichibu (1902-1953), commonly referred to as the “Sporting Prince” by the people of Japan, who was a lover of sport and an honorary head of many athletic organizations after WWII.

Exhibits at the museum include the winner’s podium from the 1964 Tokyo Olympics, torches, athletic uniforms, tickets, scale models and posters that in combination provide an impressive overview of the history of the Olympic Games.

Yoshinori Sakai was a key figure in the 1964 Tokyo Olympics, he had the honor of being the final torch bearer and is pictured above lighting the Olympic cauldron.  Today he is active in supporting the Tokyo2106 bid committee.  A little older bit still very fit, he made an appearance at an event I had the pleasure of attending in Tokyo over the weekend.

This time his torch was made of origami flowers, his audience, the adorable students of Fukuda Kindergarten in Hatagaya, and his track much more low key – a small oval around the kindergarten playing field.

Yoshinori Sakai 1964 Tokyo Olympic Torch Bearer

In the official interview after the events Sakai-san talked about his memories of the 1964 Games saying that all of Japan had come together to show the world how Japan had succeeded in its economic development, and to promote the message of peace.  He hopes for the same in 2016.  Shibuya246 has posted some more great pictures from this event and was kind enough to translate Sakai-san’s comments for me to use here.

Learn more about Japan’s Olympic history at the Prince Chichibu Memorial Sports Museum.  The museum is located five minutes on foot from Sendagaya Station or two minutes on foot from Kokuritsu-Kyogijo Station (Exit A2) in Meiji Jingu Park (access map).  Admission is Y300 and the museum is open daily from 9:30 to 4:30 (closed on the second and fourth Tuesday of the month).

Visit the Japan Olympic Committee website to learn more about Tokyo’s 2016 Olympic bid and join them in “Uniting our Worlds”.

Image Credit:  Wikipedia, Tokyo1964cauldron & personal collection

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  1. […] I was invited to an event held at the Fukuda kindergarten (福田幼稚園) in Hatagaya, Shibuya, over the weekend and attended with Shane Sakata from The Nihon Sun, a blog with great information on Japan travel. […]

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