1964 Tokyo Olympics Torch Relay When Did The First Woman Carry A Torch

Here are some quick facts, trivia and fun information about the 1964 Tokyo Olympics torch relay which is the first time ever a woman carried the Olympic torch

So let's talk about an aspect of the 2020 Olympic Games that's as thrilling as your last-minute game-winning serve or your "I'm going to fling myself into the stands to get this shank" dig - I'm talking about the 1964 Tokyo Olympics Torch Relay!

The 1964 Tokyo Olympics Torch Relay

Do you know why the '64 Tokyo Olympics were super special?

It's not just because Japan was hosting the Games, but because for the first time in history, a woman got to carry the Olympic flame during the 1964 Tokyo Olympics torch relay.

WATCH!! How cool is this? 

As Tokyo 1964 torchbearer carries Olympic flame again

At 74-years-old and having survived cancer three-times, KATOU Tamotu was part of his second Olympic Torch Relay. It was 56-years ago that he ran a leg of the Tokyo 1964 Olympic Games Torch Relay.

So, let me serve up (see what I did there?) some cool facts about the 1964 Tokyo Olympics torch relay along with some other hot moments in Olympic torch relay history.

Quick Facts About The 1964 Tokyo Olympics Torch Relay

1. Serving It First:

In 1964, Yoshinori Sakai, born on the day Hiroshima was bombed, lit the cauldron.

But a woman, too, was among the torchbearers - an important first!

Take a look at Olympic history and watch the Tokyo 1964 Olympic Games - Olympic Flame & Opening Ceremony

2. Relay Style:

The '64 torch began its journey in Olympia, Greece before it then traveled through 11 countries including Turkey, Lebanon, Iran, and Pakistan before finally reaching Japan.

3. Epic Journey:

The 1964 Tokyo Olympics torch relay traveled an impressive 20,065km. That's 496.25 volleyball courts lined up end to end!

When the torch was handed over to Anna Korakaki she became the first woman to be an Olympic torchbearer after it was first lit in Olympia, Greece in 2020.

4. Safety First:

Did you know that the flame was ferried over oceans by plane?

Of course there was a backup plan - a person carried a closed lantern inside the plane to make sure the flame never died out.

56 years after the 1964 Tokyo Olympics Torch relay the 2020 Tokyo Olympics Torch Relay started on the 25th of March, 2021.

When Was The First Summer and Winter Olympic Torch Relay?

The first Olympic Torch Relay occurred in the 1936 Summer Olympics with the first flame lit back then...relayed on foot to Berlin.

For the Winter Games, the first Torch Relay occurred  in Oslo in the 1952 Games that began in Morgedal Valley, Norway.

56 Years Later What Happened During the 2020 Tokyo Olympics Torch Relay

Now, let's fast-forward, 56 years after the first time a woman carried the torch in the Olympics in 1964 to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics (held in 2021 because of COVID-19) to see what's new on the torch front.

The Olympic torch relay was previously scheduled to begin on 12th March, 2020 in Greece and arrive in Japan in July, 2020 but this was cancelled due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Peep This! 2020 Summer Olympics Torch Relay Map

2020 Summer Olympics torch relay map

Simplified map of the 2020 Summer Olympics torch relay route. Notes: the curves do not follow the actual path of the torch and only the location listed below are shown.

  1. Naraha
  2. Minamisoma
  3. Aizuwakamatsu
  4. Koriyama
  5. Nasukarasuyama
  6. Utsunomiya
  7. Maebashi
  8. Takasaki
  9. Nagano
  10. Matsumoto
  11. Takayama
  12. Gifu
  13. Nagoya
  14. Toyota
  15. Ise
  16. Kumano
  17. Wakayama
  18. Hashimoto
  19. Kashihara
  20. Nara
  21. Suita
  22. Osaka
  23. Naruto
  24. Tokushima
  25. Kan'onji
  26. Takamatsu
  27. Sukumo
  28. Kōchi
  29. Matsuyama
  30. Yawatahama
  31. Hita
  32. Ōita
  33. Miyazaki
  34. Ebino
  35. Kagoshima
  36. Ibusuki
  37. Nago
  38. Itoman
  39. Yatsushiro
  40. Kumamoto
  41. Nagasaki
  42. Sasebo
  43. Karatsu
  44. Saga
  45. Fukuoka
  46. Kitakyushu
  47. Yamaguchi
  48. Hagi
  49. Ōnan
  50. Matsue
  51. Hiroshima
  52. Fukuyama
  53. Okayama
  54. Tsuyama
  55. Kurayoshi
  56. Tottori
  57. Himeji
  58. Tamba-Sasayama
  59. Kameoka
  60. Kyoto
  61. Ōtsu
  62. Nagahama
  63. Minamiechizen
  64. Fukui
  65. Kanazawa
  66. Nanao
  67. Takaoka
  68. Toyama
  69. Minamiuonuma
  70. Murakami
  71. Yamagata
  72. Sakata
  73. Akita
  74. Kazuno
  75. Aomori
  76. Hachinohe
  77. Shiraoi
  78. Sapporo
  79. Kuji
  80. Rikuzentakata
  81. Morioka
  82. Onagawa
  83. Rifu
  84. Sendai
  85. Shizuoka
  86. Numazu
  87. Fujinomiya
  88. Kōfu
  89. Fujiyoshida
  90. Fujisawa
  91. Sagamihara
  92. Yokohama
  93. Sanmu
  94. Chiba
  95. Matsudo
  96. Mito
  97. Tsukuba
  98. Tokorozawa
  99. Kumagaya
  100. Saitama
  101. Tokyo, Tama area
  102. Tokyo, Ōshima
  103. Tokyo, Ogasawara
  104. Tokyo, Special wards and Olympic Stadium
2020 Summer Olympics torch relay map
L9A8M, background map by Bourrichon, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The theme for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics Torch relay across Japan was "Hope Lights Our Way".

This was aimed at sending the message to people around the world about accepting, uniting and encouraging each other.

The Olympic flame, which symbolizes peace and hope, is carried around the host nation and symbolized the joy and passion of the Japanese around the Olympic movement and was one of the most powerful symbols of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.

The flame was displayed in different locations in the Tohoku region (Japan) to give hope to the areas affected by the tsunami and earthquake of 2011.

Held across all the 47 prefectures of Japan with the journey starting from J-village National Training Center, Fukushima prefecture the Olympic Torch Relay will be taken around Japan for a period of 121 days covering about 98% of the Japanese population.

The torch relay began in Fukushima on March 25, 2021 and ended in Tokyo on July 23, 2021. 

On WendyzLive youtube channel she shares her Japan diaries leading up to the Tokyo Olympics ..here she has a front row view of the Olympic torch being carried by Japanese Olympic athletes in Ashikaga Tochigi on the way to the official stadium site. 

More Fun Facts About The 2020 Tokyo Olympics Torch Relay

5. Girl Power Again: Volleyball player, Kotoe Inoue, was one of the torchbearers. She's a bronze-medal-winning Olympian.

How cool is that?

6. STEM to the Rescue: The Tokyo 2020 Torch Relay had some serious tech vibes. The torch design was inspired by a cherry blossom (adorable!) and created through the cutting-edge technology of Aluminium Extrusion.

Let's also dig into a few other times women carried the Olympic flame.

7. Going Global: For the 1968 Winter Olympics in Grenoble, France, Alain Mimoun, a male Olympic champion, passed the torch to a female student.

8. Making History: Canada's 1976 Summer Olympics saw two teenager girls lighting the Olympic flame together. A first till then!

9. Save the Best for the Last: The 1996 Atlanta Summer Olympics saw swimmer Janet Evans run up a long flight of stairs and hand the Olympic torch to boxing great Muhammad Ali who ignited the Olympic cauldron.

Wow! Best Olympic moment ever!

Our fingers are crossed for more exciting torch moments in Paris 2024.

Maybe we'll see a Volleyball player as the final torchbearer?

Who knows? But for sure, the women who pass on that iconic flame will continue to inspire and light the path to gender equality in sports.

Until then, keep up your passionate game, future torchbearer!


More Trivia and Fun Facts About The 1964 Tokyo Olympics Torch Relay

Now to our trivia round, 'Spiking Torch Facts: 1964 Tokyo Olympics Relay'.

Q: Why was the torchbearer for the 1964 Games chosen?

A: The torchbearer, Yoshinori Sakai, was born on the day Hiroshima was bombed. His selection symbolized Japan's post-war recovery and peace.

Q: Has the Olympic torch ever gone out during the relay?

A: Interestingly, yes! But there's always a backup flame.

Q: When, where and what is the longest Olympic torch relay in history?

A: Gear up for this - The Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics had the longest relay covering a staggering distance of 57,770 km!

Q: Is the Olympic flame always burning?

A: Symbolically, yes. Practically, they keep backups to ensure it 'never' dies out.

Q: Why was the 1964 Tokyo Olympics so important?

A: It was the first time the Olympics were held in Asia and it marked the debut of the very first woman torchbearer.

Q: What does the Olympic torch symbolize?

A: It symbolizes the light of spirit, knowledge, and life.


  1. Improve Your Volleyball Performance with Private Volleyball Coach April Chapple
  2. Volleyball Tournaments Manhattan 6 Man and Other Summer Tournaments
  3. 1964 Tokyo Olympics Torch Relay When Did The First Woman Carry A Torch

Arne Müseler / www.arne-mueseler.com, the copyright holder of this work, hereby publishes it under the following license:

Arne Müseler / www.arne-mueseler.com

Aerial view of Tokyo Aquatics Centre

  • CC BY-SA 3.0 dehide terms
  • File:New national stadium Tokyo 1.jpg
  • Uploaded: 15 January 2020

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