• Kyodo

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A photo exhibition showcasing the 1964 Tokyo Olympics and major domestic and international events around that time, as well as select photos of present-day Japan, will open Sunday in the run-up to next year’s games.

The exhibition at the Tokyo International Forum features about 130 photos of the Olympic and Paralympic Games as well as key events that helped shape the world in the early 1960s.

Photos include shots of the old and new national stadiums, weightlifter Yoshinobu Miyake — Japan’s first gold medalist at the 1964 Games — and spectators watching the marathon from the back of a truck, as well as pictures of old and present-day Ginza and Shinjuku.

The nonprofit Japan Press Research Institute is staging the photo exhibition through Dec. 25 under the theme of “Passion, Olympics and 1964.”

“The year 1964 represented a mixture of new and old Japan,” Yutaka Nishizawa, chairman of the institute, says in his greetings. “If the year 1964 was described as being a swell of momentum, maturity may be the motif of 2020.”

Kyodo News has assisted the institute with the exhibition.

Meanwhile, there was a new development Saturday over Kumamoto Prefecture’s attempts to have popular character Kumamon join the torch relay for the 2020 Games.

An official at the organizing committee said that when it comes to the torch relay, “a special exception is not permitted.”

The Kumamoto Prefectural Government had sounded out the organizing committee of the Tokyo Olympics on whether its cuddly black bear-like character could participate in the relay, but the idea was rejected partly because the character “is not a human being,” the officials said.

To be eligible to be a torch runner, one must be born before April 1, 2008.

According to the local government, Kumamon, originally created to promote the March 2011 opening of the Kyushu Shinkansen service, is neither a person nor a bear and his age is a secret. As for its gender, it says the mischievous character is a “boy.”

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