The 1964 Tokyo Olympics had a profound impact on the capital city and the nation. In the fourth installment of a five-part series running this month, best-selling author Robert Whiting, who lived in Japan at the time, examines the symbolism of Japan's gold medal-winning women's volleyball team.

It was left to the maniacally trained, and wonderfully adept, Japan national women's volleyball team to salvage the nation's pride. Its gold medal victory on the final evening of 1964 Tokyo Olympics competition at the 4,000-seat Komazawa Gymnasium would go down in Japanese sporting lore as one of the top 10 great sporting achievements of the 20th century, reaching No. 5 on a list compiled by the Asahi Shimbun at the end of 1999.