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TOKYO 077


somehow represented the very best of us as a species; that its feats might inspire us, rather than simply inspire us to buy trainers; that this was genuinely a sport operating by the laws of the body, not the laws of the market. Or perhaps this too was always delusion. Te 1964 Games, when Tokyo first hosted the event, is something for Japan to live up to, even today. For some, 1964 was ‘the greatest year in the history of Japan’. No small claim, but the Games’s success came to symbolise the country’s rise from the ashes of devastation and demoralisation after 1945, when it was a physical and psychological wasteland. Arising


from the rubble just 19 years later as a modern, peace-loving, open country that welcomed the world, Japan embarked on the greatest Asian economic miracle of the 20th century, one that belonged to the global community as much as any other nation. Friendly, productive, innovative and, above all, modern, the Olympics of 1964 created a sense of national pride, and left an indelible mark in the psyche of the Japanese for generations, a cathartic release from the purgatory of defeat, subjugation and painstaking recovery. Digging out an old 45 record, it all floods back. ‘Tokyo Melody’, written by Helmut


Zacharias in 1964, was used by the BBC for its television coverage of the Olympics – and it made the Top Ten. It was the first Olympics to be telecast internationally. Kenzo Tange designed the main stadium, and there was an unparalleled use of graphic design with, for the first time, a systematically designed set of pictograms for sports and services, devised by a team managed by Masaru Katsumi, Yoshiro Yamashita and Yusaku Kamekura. Kamekura was also responsible for the famous identity and poster. He once told me that he had actually forgotten about the competition for the official emblem until he got a call on the


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