Kon Ichikawa viewed the world as a place of beauty and sadness. He eschewed protocol and craved the informal. He begins Tokyo Olympiad (Tokyo Orinpikku) with a punch to the face—almost literally. First, the rising sun is viewed through a telephoto lens in lingering close-up—Japan, and its national symbol. Then an abrupt cut to a mighty steel ball crashing into aged buildings, demolishing facade after facade to make way for the new. A new Japan, recovering from the shame and cinders of World War II, making ready at last to welcome the world after a quarter of a century’s delay. A new Tokyo, seething with crowds, replete with futuristic new stadia. For Tokyo had been scheduled to host the 1940 Olympic Games, and even as late as the spring of 1938, the Olympic rings could be seen on public buildings in the city. But the country, concentrated on sending troops west to China and Manchuria, had to withdraw on June 16, 1938.
Starring Abebe Bikila
Director Kon Ichikawa