National

Kengo Kuma, designer of new National Stadium, laments Tokyo Olympic marathon's move north

JIJI

The designer of the new National Stadium, the main venue for the 2020 Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games, expressed his remorse over the change of venue for the Olympic marathon events from the capital to Sapporo.

The venue change was “very regrettable,” Kengo Kuma said in a lecture Tuesday at the Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Japan in Tokyo’s Chiyoda Ward. The starting and finishing lines for the marathon races were initially set at the stadium in Tokyo.

The new National Stadium, whose roof is made of wood, is designed to harmonize with the gingko tree-lined Jingu Gaien outer gardens of the Meiji Shrine.

“It’s impressive to see marathon runners running along the ginkgo trees,” Kuma said. With such runners, “the streets look completely different,” he also said.

“I wanted to see (Olympic marathon runners) enter the stadium of wood from the Gaien forest,” Kuma went on to say.

While showing some understanding over the venue change, the architect said, “The Olympic Games are designed to celebrate the (host) city.”

It is “a little sad” that the marathon events will not be held in Tokyo as they are supposed to “celebrate the most beautiful part of the city,” he continued.

Last week, the Tokyo Metropolitan Government accepted the International Olympic Committee’s decision to move the 2020 Summer Olympic marathon and race walk events from Tokyo to Sapporo to avoid the summer heat.

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