Associated Press

A photographic tour of the city's late Summer Games.

On October 10, 1964, the Olympic torch arrived at Tokyo's National Stadium to mark the beginning of the Summer Games—held late to avoid the city's blazing seasonal heat. It was a heavily symbolic occasion for Japan. Its infrastructure destroyed and international reputation tarnished after World War II, the games showed the world that Japan was a peaceful and progressive nation once again.

Tokyo, annihilated in 1945 by U.S. air raids during WWII, saw its population rise exponentially in the decade leading up to the Olympics, surpassing 10 million residents by the time the games began, more than doubling its population from 1950.

Awarded the '64 Games in 1959, Tokyo went on a construction spree, with new buildings, highways, bullet trains, and subways all opening in time for the international event.

Courtesy of AP photographers of the time, here is a glimpse of the city leading up to the Olympics. Student protests, weird robots, and modernist architecture reveal a city long removed from its imperialist past:

New freeways were part of the facelift Tokyo got for the 1964 Olympics. Photo taken Dec. 16, 1963. (AP Photo)
The gigantic Miyake-Zaka underground highway interchange is seen under construction on April 13, 1964.  (AP Photo/Koichiro Morita)
Pachinko players in Tokyo, 1964. (AP Photo)
Tokyo volunteer firemen display their acrobatic skills on bamboo ladders during the New Year Parade of Tokyo Metropolitan fire brigade at Tokyo’s Meiji Park. Photo taken Jan. 6, 1964. (AP Photo/NM)
Firefighter uniforms are on display in a parade of the Metropolitan Fire Force in Tokyo, Jan. 10, 1964. Firemen are seen wearing heatproof uniforms with a “spaceman’s window” for vision. (AP Photo/NM)
Goro, a five-foot robot developed by a toy research firm, is surrounded by school children in the Japanese capital in Tokyo on Feb. 29, 1964. Goro could walk, bow, wink, and talk via radio transmission. (AP Photo)
Anti-American placards are seen at Waseda University, Tokyo, on Jan. 18, 1964, during a visit from U.S. Attorney General Robert Kennedy. The placards read: “We are opposed to Kennedy’s visit to our university,” “Hands off South Vietnam,” and “Get out of Panama.” (AP Photo)
Japanese youth at the time were known to play with American-made pinball machines and toy guns in the many game halls along Tokyo streets. Photo taken May 5, 1964. (AP Photo/Horst Faas)
Tokyo had an estimated 600,000 construction workers in 1964. Most lived in barracks-like dormitories like the one seen in this April 13, 1964 photo. Construction work attracted farmers and fisherman from around the country who would then send most of their pay home to their families.
(AP Photo/Koichiro Morita)
An electrified Mitsubishi ad towers over a street in Tokyo on Sept. 15, 1964. (AP Photo/NM)
Ladies Town, said to be the most gorgeous coffee shop in Tokyo at the time. Photo taken Sept. 15, 1964. (AP Photo)
An elaborate display inside the Matsuya Department Store in Tokyo’s Ginza district on July 28, 1964. (AP Photo)
Hotel Okura, built two years prior to the Tokyo Olympics and located next to American Embassy. Photo taken Sept. 18, 1964. (AP Photo/Mitsunori Chigita)
The stands of the Komazawa stadium used for the 1964 Summer Olympic Games. (AP Photo)
A scene from Tokyo Stadium at the opening ceremonies of the 1964 Summer Olympics, Oct. 10, 1964. (AP Photo)
A scene from the opening ceremony of the 1964 Olympic Games, Oct. 10, 1964. (AP Photo)

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