Official 1964 Tokyo Olympics torch, consisting of a blackened aluminum alloy bowl and a stainless steel cylinder, measuring 25″ in length and 6.75″ at its widest point. Manufactured by Nippon Light Metal Co., the bowl is engraved “XVII Olympiad Tokyo 1964” with a set of Olympic rings; the cylinder has been inserted upside down, so that the Tokyo Games logo is at the top, reading: “Showa Kaseihin Co., Ltd., 3-1964.” The cylinder is firmly held within the handle, and not easily removed as would be typical. Exhibits oxidation to cylinder, and scattered wear and marks to black bowl.
The Olympic torch was carried for 51 days by 870 runners for a total of 26,065 kilometers. Designed on the principle of the coal-mine safety lamp, the Tokyo Olympic torch was filled with priming powder and fumigant, a two-component ignition material that needed to be wind and rain resistant, and which could both easily ignite and extinguish. Its effect was similar to that of a flare, and it proved a safe and reliable instrument over the course of its hemisphere-trotting relay. Although a typhoon and various plane issues caused a one-day delay late in the schedule, the triumphant final relay by Yoshinori Sakai through Tokyo’s National Olympic Stadium on October 10, 1964, served as a defining moment for a still healing post-war Japan. This torch beautifully represents the moment the fifth ring of the Olympiad touched down on Asian soil.