Japan has been an enthusiastic participant in the Olympic Games since the Fifth Olympiad, held in Stockholm, in 1912. Although Tokyo was eagerly promoted as the site for the 1940 Games, they were canceled due to World War II. The hosting of the 1964 Summer Olympics (Tokyo) and the 1972 Winter Olympics (Sapporo) were, respectively, the first summer and winter games ever held in Asia. The 1998 Nagano Winter Olympics marked the third time that Japan has hosted the Games.
In 1952, the postwar military occupation of Japan came to an end, and Japan made a bid to the IOC for Tokyo to host the Seventeenth Olympiad, to be held in 1960. The bid was won by Rome, but Japan was not discouraged. In October 1955, the Tokyo Metropolitan Legislature approved a decision to bid on hosting the Eighteenth Olympiad, to be held in 1964.
A Japanese delegation visited Munich, Germany, for the fifty-fifth meeting of the IOC. Japan had set its hopes on winning the right to host the games and waged an aggressive campaign to wrest votes from rivals Detroit and Vienna. Finally on March 26, 1960, the IOC delegates put the matter to a vote.
For Japan, the hosting of the Eighteenth Olympiad in October 1964 was a historical landmark event that signified the end of the postwar period and underscored Japan's high economic growth. During the 5 years leading up to 1964, preparations for the Games literally transformed the face of Tokyo. Roads in the city and suburbs were widened. A huge Olympic Village sprang up in Yoyogi, and NHK built a new broadcast center nearby to cover the event. Total expenditures in preparation for the event were said to be the highest in Olympic history.
the judo competition at the 1964 Olympics in Tokyo.
The Tokyo Games attracted over 5,500 participants from 94 nations. Sixteen national contingents, mainly from developing countries, participated in the Olympics for the first time. The Opening Ceremony on October 10 recorded an 87.4% television viewer rating.
As host nation, Japan sent the largest team it had ever organized: 296 men and 61 women. Urged on by rousing cheers from their compatriots, Japanese athletes took medals in boxing, gymnastics, wrestling, track and field, weightlifting, and shooting. One of the most emotional events of the games was in women's volleyball, where the Japanese team won a hard-fought victory over the Soviet Union to take the gold medal.
Also at the Tokyo Games, a native Japanese sport-judo-was included as an Olympic event (men only) for the first time. Japanese athletes took gold medals in all weight classes except the unlimited division, which went to the Netherlands.
The Games saw the establishing of 47 new world records and 111 Olympic records. The 16 gold, 5 silver, and 8 bronze medals earned by the Japanese team marked its best Olympic performance in history, placing Japan third in the overall medal standings behind the United States and the Soviet Union.