Tokyo man to lose home to make way for stadium - again

Tokyo man to lose home to make way for stadium - again
Resident Kohei Jinno, 79, shows a photograph of himself (2nd L wearing suit) taken on January 2, 1957 in front of his previous home, at his shop inside Kasumigaoka apartment complex which is located near the National Olympic Stadium in Tokyo September 18, 2013.

TOKYO - Kohei Jinno fans out the black and white photos of his family posing proudly in front of their central Tokyo home, a house they were forced to leave ahead of the 1964 Olympic Games to make way for construction of the main stadium.

Now Jinno, 79, has to move again.

The public housing complex where he and his wife live, close to the stadium and the site of his former home - currently a parking lot - is slated to be destroyed as part of construction of a new stadium for the 2020 Summer Olympics, which Tokyo won the right to host again earlier this month.

"Fate has not been kind to me. It may be great fortune for the nation, but having to leave this place fills me with sadness," he told Reuters.

"I just feel that had it not been for the Olympics, my life would have been so different."

The current National Olympic Stadium, which holds an almost iconic place in Japanese hearts for being the site of the opening and closing ceremonies of the 1964 Games, which Japan was the first Asian nation to host, is set to be demolished in 2014 to make way for newer facilities.

FUTURISTIC VENUE

Its replacement, a futuristic spaceship-like venue by Zaha Hadid, who designed the aquatics centre for the London 2012 Games, will have 80,000 seats compared to the current 50,000 and play a key role when Japan hosts the Rugby World Cup in 2019.

Jinno, who grew up with nine brothers, was born in a house that is now a concrete carpark by the National Stadium in downtown Tokyo. After that house burned down during World War Two, they moved to a home 20 meters away, where Jinno ran a tobacconist's from a shop attached to the family house.

Ahead of the 1964 Olympics, their house and about 100 others were forced to move to make way for the stadium and a surrounding park. The site of their home was paved over for the carpark, the greenery that blanketed the area was cut down, and a nearby river buried in concrete.

His job gone, he was forced to wash cars to make ends meet, living in a tiny room with his wife and two children. In 1965 he moved into a municipal housing complex and was eventually able to reopen the tobacconist's, which he still runs today.

Recently, he and his wife were told they must move again, leaving the home where they raised their children. Jinno reckons they have at most two years left at the same address.

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