My B/W photos (Left to right): 1. International student wearing a facemask. 2-3. Social distancing. 4. Message in the windows of Tachikawa Sougo General Hospital: “Hospital at its limits. Stop the Olympics!”. 5. ‘TOKYO 2020’ Olympic banners and the ‘Olympic’ supermarket’s signboard at the top of building. – from the series “Tokyo 2020”.
The Olympic games opened on July 23. But I haven’t been vaccinated yet. Vaccination for the coronavirus has been delayed in Japan.
“You keep that,” said my dad. It was a copper medal commemorating the 1964 Tokyo Olympics, which were held before I was born. He told me that the start of shinkansen rail serviceswas timed to coincide with the Games, and thatsales of the colour TV sets that replaced black and white ones went through the roof. The second Tokyo Olympics was planned to take place56 years after the first, in 2020. But the Covid-19 pandemic broke out at the start of the year, and the Games were rescheduled for 2021. The global coronaviruscrisis remained unresolved, however, and cities in Europe and America went into lockdown. In Japan, where the law does not allow lockdowns, states of emergency were repeatedly declared in the major cities. In April 2021, Tachikawa Sougo General Hospital, a medical facility in one ofTokyo’ssuburbs, postedmessages in its windows warning that it was at the limit of its capacity to treat patients and calling for the Olympics to be cancelled. At present, with three months to go before the Games are due to start, the majority of Japanese citizens are still unvaccinated, while the Japanese government’s line is that the Olympics will go ahead.
This short documentary series is intended to allow us in future to look back on the once-in-a-lifetime year of the planned Tokyo Olympics.
Translated by Michael Normoyle and Yoshiko Furuhashi at M&Y Translations (Birmingham, UK)