Mariko Nagai walked outside Yoyogi National Stadium — the late-architect Kenzo Tange’s masterpiece from Tokyo’s 1964 Olympics — and pictured the city in that era. She was a university student from northern Japan who landed a job as an interpreter at the dazzling swimming venue, where American Don Schollander would win four gold medals. “I wouldn’t say Japanese people were confident about the ability to become one of the advanced nations,” Nagai said. “But we wanted to show how much recovery we had made.” Tange’s jewel, with a soaring roofline that still defines modern architecture, symbolized Japan’s revival just 19 years after the ravages of World War II. A centerpiece in ’64, it will host handball in Tokyo’s 2020 Olympics, a link between the now-and-then in the Japanese capital. Tuesday will mark two years before the opening ceremony of the 2020 Games. A new National Stadium is rising on the site of the demolished one that hosted the opening in 1964. Tokyo organizers, though, chose to re-use several older buildings, partly to cut costs. They include the Nippon Budokan, the spiritual home of Japanese judo and other martial arts that became a well-known rock concert venue in the ensuing decades…. Read full this story
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