Japan's 71 Olympic medalists received a hero's welcome as they rode through the streets of Tokyo's Ginza district on Aug. 20, being greeted by a crowd of about 500,000 well-wishers.
In open convertibles and atop open double-decker buses, the medalists in red jackets rode triumphantly through the fashionable Ginza, waving at the jam-packed sidewalks of people who were snapping photos and craning their necks for a view of the country's newest heroes.
Despite the broiling August heat radiating off all the concrete, most of the spectactors came away happy after glimpses of popular Japanese Olympians, including gymnast Kohei Uchimura and judoka Kaori Matsumoto, both of whom won gold medals in London.
Japan captured 38 medals at the London Games, the most the country has ever won, which included silver medals in both women's soccer and in women's table tennis, two firsts in those sports.
“I was thrilled that many athlete won medals,” said a 60-year-old man from Kanagawa Prefecture who braved the heat to watch the procession through the Ginza. “I hope this momentum will continue through Rio de Janeiro (the next Summer Olympics).”
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