|Date: 8 April 2020|
Topic: Legacy of the 1964 Tokyo Olympics
Speaker: Ms. Akiko Kuno
Venue: Tokyo American Club
Time: 11:30 Social Gathering 11:50 Luncheon
Fee: ¥5,000 members ¥6,000 guests
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Countdown for the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games has already started to provoke a heated national mood for the Olympics approaching in three months. At significant cost, the new National Stadium has been completed and the Olympic Village on the man-made island of Toyosu will soon be open. Names of Japanese athletes qualified for participating in respective games are being announced daily. By utilizing every possible means, leading Japanese commercial companies eligible as official sponsors to use Olympic emblems are busy trying to promote their sales with attractive catch phrases to customers such as “If you buy this or that product, you can get an entrance ticket for the Olympic Games!”
Behind this bursting mood of the Olympic Summer Games, it seems that the 1964 Tokyo Olympic Games have already become history. People who were on the spot to organize and were actually involved in the 1964 Tokyo Olympic Games are mostly gone or aging, so there are few participants who are able to talk about its hidden legacy.
Akiko Kuno, a longtime CWAJ member and 1985 President, is one of the few still alive who is able to bring to life and share with you exciting episodes which she experienced when she worked with the 1964 Tokyo Olympic Organizing Committee as a new graduate from university.
She especially regrets that no one realizes that in 1964 the Olympic Flame taken from the sun in Greece was relayed by 780 young runners from 13 different cities of the Middle East and South East Asian countries and carried to Okinawa. During her presentation, she will show a 20-minute documentary video produced by NHK in which she talks about the untold, exciting stories of the overseas torch relay in which she participated as the only female member of the Mission.
Akiko will also invite you to take a look at her invaluable photos and memorabilia of the 1964 Olympic Games taken from her personal archives so that you can feel the excitement of the Japanese people in 1964 and compare that with what is now going on in Tokyo for the 2020 Games.
Akiko Kuno, Vice President of the America-Japan Society, Inc. (AJS) where she held the position of Executive Director for more than 15 years, is a longtime member of CWAJ. She joined CWAJ in 1979. After volunteering in roles of Co-Chair of VBS (now VVI) in 1980, Print Show Committee in 1981 and Vice President in 1982, she became President in 1985. Her heavy responsibilities with AJS necessitated her stepping back from CWAJ activities for about two decades. However, after the Tohoku Great
Earthquake in 2011 she returned to CWAJ and became actively involved in various programs such as the Fukushima Relief Projects and the CWAJ 70th Anniversary Symposium.
When Akiko graduated from Keio University, it was the year of the 1964 Tokyo Olympic Games. Without hesitation she applied for a job with the Olympic Organizing Committee as she wanted to challenge herself and use her English language ability which she had acquired while studying in the U.S. She worked for the international affairs section which dealt with officials from the IOC and international sports organizations. In early July 1964 she was selected as a member of the Overseas Olympic Torch Relay Mission. She was also assigned as a personal secretary to Avery Brundage, President of IOC while he stayed in Tokyo before and during the Tokyo Olympics.
She is the author of “Rokumeikan no Kifujinn Oyama Sutematsu”, Chuo Koronsha (Unexpected Destinations: The Poignant Story of Japan’s First Vassar Graduate, Kodansha International) and “Showa Tenno Saigo no Gogakuyu”, Chuo Koronsha.
Luncheon Program Coordinators
– Menu –
|~ Crispy Sakura Shrimp Caesar Salad Garlic Croutons, Parmigiano Reggiano|
|~ Seared Pepper Steak Porchini Risotto, Spring Greens, and Red Wine Sauce |
~ Vegetarian Option: Vegetable Ratatouille with Quinoa Pilaf
|~ Strawberry & Rhubarb Tart|