Olympics: Japan’s superfan looks to complete Olympic circle in 2020


TOKYO (Reuters) – For the general public, going to observe the Olympics is a once-in-a-lifetime possibility, but for 92-yr-old superfan Naotoshi Yamada it has ended up a quadrennial ritual during the last 5 and a half decades.

Yamada acknowledged to his Japanese compatriots as “Olympic Ojisan,” or “Olympics Grandad,” first skilled the Summer Games while Tokyo last hosted the gathering in 1964, and he has been there for every minute of everyone because.

“Mexico, Munich, Montreal, Los Angeles, Moscow. Japan did no longer even participate at the Moscow Olympics however I went to look that Games,” Yamada told Reuters in Tokyo.

“Moscow, Seoul, Barcelona, Sydney, Athens, Beijing, London. I went to all Games from the outlet to the last rite … There isn’t such a person like me. I am the simplest one on earth.”

Yamada, in his unique gold pinnacle hat, crimson jacket, and beaming smile, has ended up one of the most acquainted and colorful figures at the Games, regularly accompanied by tv cameras and cheered by different fanatics.

Now, he has one final desire — to live lengthy sufficient to witness the sporting spectacle when it returns to Japan subsequent yr.

“It may be the result of all my years cheering the Olympics,” stated Yamada.

Yamada changed into a relative stripling of 38 while he attended his first Olympics, no longer merely to witness the sporting spectacle however from an earlier preference to experience the world that was stimulated by a speech given at his university by using Emperor Hirohito.

The Emperor stated he desired the younger technology to rebuild our USA,” Yamada said.

“I felt that I wanted to do something for my use of a. I think that it is one of the reasons why I started to go to the Olympics.”

Yamada’s first Games out of doors Japan became Mexico City 1968, where he paired his classic Haori Hakama kimono with a Mexican sombrero.

Yamada said it became impossible for him to pick a favorite from the 14 Olympics.

“If you have … Extraordinary shades of crayons and someone asks which color is the fave one? Black? Red? Blue? Green? … Every color has its very own character,” said Yamada, a huge grin etched across his face.


“So I can’t inform which is my favorite one. Each of the Olympics has been charming.”

Yamada loves the international nature of the Olympic Games and has an extensive collection of souvenirs he has gathered over time, a number of them obtained thru swaps with different enthusiasts.

His haul of flags, stamps, pics and different objects are on show at a gallery in his fatherland of Nanto City, Toyama Prefecture.

“The Olympics is best the global competition for all humankind,” said Yamada.

“Athletes and tourists from more than 200 nations will gather in one region.

“For the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, so many people need to come to Japan.

“I think that 2020 may be top notch occasion.”

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