The 1964 Tokyo Olympics had a profound impact on the capital city and the nation. In the opening installment of a five-part series that will run during the next two weeks, best-selling author Robert Whiting, who lived in Japan at the time, takes a look back at the preparations for the event.

The 1964 Olympics was one of the most remarkable events in modern history. The staging of the games marked Japan's re-entry into the world community after two decades of shame and struggle caused by defeat in war and put the cap on what is regarded as the most explosive urban transformation in history.