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Tokyo 1964

First in Asia

The 1964 Tokyo Games were the first to be held in Asia. The carrier of the flame, Yoshinori Sakai, was chosen because he was born on 6 August 1945, the day the atomic bomb exploded in Hiroshima, in homage to the victims and as a call for world peace.

Evolving technology

A cinder running track was used for the last time in the athletics events, whilst a fibreglass pole was used for the first time in the pole vaulting competition. The Tokyo Games was also the last occasion that hand timing by stopwatch was used for official timing.

Memorable champions

Abebe Bikila of Ethiopia became the first athlete to win the marathon twice, whilst Soviet gymnast Larysa Latynina brought her career medal total to an incredible 18. It also proved fourth time lucky for Greco-Roman wrestler Imre Polyak, who finally won gold after finishing second in the same division at the previous three Olympic Games.

Olympic spirit

The first official Fair Play Trophy for setting an outstanding example of sportsmanship was awarded to Swedish yachtsmen Lars Gunnar Käll and Stig Lennart Käll. The Swedes gave up their race to come to the aid of two other competitors whose boat had sunk.

NOCs: 93
Athletes: 5,151 (678 women, 4,473 men)
Events: 163
Volunteers: n/a
Media: n/a

Homage and symbolism

The carrier of the flame, Yoshinori Sakai, was chosen because he was born on 6 August 1945, the day the atomic bomb exploded in Hiroshima, in homage to the victims and as a call for peace in the world.

Fair play rewarded

Swedish yachtsmen Lars Gunnar Käll and Stig Lennart Käll were the first recipients of the Tokyo Trophy for setting an outstanding example of sportsmanship when they gave up their race to save the life of a fellow competitor.

Honour to Japan

Japan wanted to show the world its talent for organisation. It success earned it three awards from the International Olympic Committee- the Olympic Cup, the Bonacossa Trophy and the "Diploma of Merit".

The end of a type of running track

A cinder running track was used for the last time in the athletics events.

The first time in Asia

It was the first time the Olympic Games were given to an Asian country.

New on the programme

Appearance of two new sports- judo (men) and volleyball (men and women).

A team sport for women

The first appearance of a team sport for women- volleyball

An innovation in pole vaulting

The first time a fibreglass pole was used in the polevaulting competition.

Ceremonies

Official opening of the Games by:
The Emperor Hirohito

Lighting the Olympic Flame by:
Yoshinori Sakaï, a student born on 6 August 1945, the day the atomic bomb exploded in Hiroshima

Olympic Oath by:
Takashi Ono (artistic gymnastics)

Official Oath by: The officials' oath at an Olympic Summer Games was first sworn in 1972 in Munich.

Tokyo 1964 Emblem

It is composed of the Olympic rings superimposed on the emblem of the Japanese national flag, representing the rising sun. Having examined a large number of proposals, the Games Organising Committee chose the design submitted by Yusaku Kamekura which was subsequently accepted as the official emblem of the Games.

Tokyo 1964 Medals

On the obverse, the traditional goddess of victory, holding a palm in her left hand and a winner’s crown in her right. A design used since the 1928 Games in Amsterdam, created by Florentine artist Giuseppe Cassioli (ITA -1865-1942) and chosen after a competition organised by the International Olympic Committee in 1921.

For these Games, the picture of victory is accompanied by the specific inscription: "XVIII OLYMPIAD TOKYO 1964". On the reverse, an Olympic champion carried in triumph by the crowd, with the Olympic stadium in the background.

N.B: From 1928 to 1968, the medals for the Summer Games were identical. The Organising Committee for the Games in Munich in 1972 broke new ground by having a different reverse which was designed by a Bauhaus representative, Gerhard Marcks.

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Tokyo 1964 Torch

Number of torchbearers: 100 603 (this high number is explained by the fact that in Japan, 1km was covered by the bearer of the flame, two reserve runners and up to 20 accompanying people)
Total distance: 16 240 km outside Japan, 925 km in Japan
Countries crossed: from Greece, Turkey, Lebanon, Iran, Pakistan, India, Nepal, Burma, Thailand, Malaysia, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Okinawa (Under US administration) and Japan. Three routes and two others flames lit with the sacred one inside Japan

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Tokyo 1964 Poster

It recalls the official emblem, composed of the Olympic rings superimposed on the emblem of the Japanese national flag, representing the rising sun. There was a total of four official posters, all designed by Yusaku Kamekura. They were all made by photoengraving using several colours, highlighting the technology of the Japanese printing industry. The posters themselves received a number of prizes for their excellence, including the Milan Prize for poster graphics. 100,000 copies were made.

Tokyo 1964 Coins
Tokyo 1964 Official Reports

“The games of the XVIII Olympiad, Tokyo 1964: the official report of the Organizing Committee” was published in 1966 in three languages, French (for the first time since Amsterdam 1928), English and Japanese. It was composed of two volumes.





  • Tokyo 1964
    • Tokyo 1964

      12 Mar 2014 |
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      “The games of the XVIII Olympiad, Tokyo 1964: the official report of the Organizing Committee” was published in 1966 in three languages, French (for the first time since Amsterdam 1928), English and Japanese. It was composed of two volumes.

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