64 Olympic flag maker’s diplomatic dream lives on

64 Olympic flag maker’s diplomatic dream lives on
Tadamasa Fukiura talks about his expectations for the 2010 Tokyo Olympics while showing various national flags.

JAPAN - Nearly five decades ago, Tadamasa Fukiura was a young college student put in charge of making flags for the 93 countries and territories participating in the 1964 Tokyo Olympics.

The task inspired a lifetime commitment to assisting other nations, and he hopes that the upcoming 2020 Tokyo Games will help deepen Japanese people's understanding of the rest of the world.

As Tokyo has been chosen as the host city of the 2020 Olympics and Paralympics, Fukiura said, “I hope the event will be a catalyst for the Japanese to understand those visiting countries and their people more deeply,” said Fukiura, head of the Eurasia 21 Research Institute, a nonprofit advisory organisation focusing on diplomatic policy based in Minato Ward, Tokyo.

When Fukiura heard on Sept. 8 that Tokyo would host the Olympics in seven years, he said excitedly, “It’ll be a good opportunity to wipe out the dark mood in Japan.”

At the time of the 1964 Tokyo Olympics, Fukiura was a senior at Waseda University.

Because of his extensive knowledge of national flags, he was appointed as a specialist of the organising committee in charge of the opening and closing ceremonies.

His serious interest in national flags started with a world map hung in his home when he was a child. He was fascinated by the flags illustrated in various colors on the map. When he was a university student, he published a book on the subject.

As a result, Fukiura was put in charge of making official flags used at the opening ceremony and other occasions.

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