By Nick Butler

The Opening Ceremony of the Tokyo 1964 Paralympic Games, exactly fifty years ago ©Hulton Archive/Getty ImagesFive days of celebrations to mark the 50th anniversary of the Tokyo 1964 Paralympic Games are due to begin in the Japanese capital tomorrow.

The celebrations, held in conjunction with Tokyo 2020 and the International Paralympic Committee (IPC), will begin exactly half a century after the 1964 Games began on November 8.

A series of articles, videos, images and info-graphics on Tokyo 1964 will be published online, via the IPC website here, with these showing the evolution of the Paralympic Movement and Para-sport in general over the last half a century.

"Whilst looking ahead to the future and the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games, it is also important we remember and recognise the past," said IPC President Sir Philip Craven.

"In six years' time, Tokyo will become the first city ever to stage the Paralympics for a second time and this 50th anniversary allows us to celebrate how far the Paralympic Games have come since 1964.

"The Games will return to Tokyo in 2020 as the world's third biggest sporting event, but the highly successful 1964 Paralympics faced many challenges, all of which will be highlighted over the coming days."

Sir Philip Craven has welcomed the anniversary milestone to celebrate 50 years since Tokyo 2020 ©Getty ImagesSir Philip Craven has welcomed the anniversary milestone to celebrate 50 years since Tokyo 2020 ©Getty Images

A total of 375 athletes from 21 countries took part in the Opening Ceremony of Tokyo 1964, the second edition of the Paralympic Games.

Watched by nearly 5,000 spectators, the Ceremony took place at Oda Field, located within the Olympic Village, and was attended by His Imperial Highness Prince Akihito and Princess Michiko.

Tokyo 2020 President Yoshiro Mori also expressed a wish that the Games in six years time will continue the city's of hosting major Paralympic events.

"By becoming the first ever city to have hosted both Games twice," he said.

"I hope that the Tokyo 2020 Paralympics will become known for further raising the profile of and enhancing Paralympic sports and sports for people with impairments around the world." 

Tokyo 1964 featured 144 medal events in nine sports.

United States topped the medals table winning 50 gold, 41 silver and 32 bronze medals.

Around 4,300 athletes from 170 countries are expected to participate in Tokyo 2020, competing in a final programme of 23 sports which is expected to be finalised next month.

Contact the writer of this story at [email protected]

Related stories
October 2014: Tokyo 2020 will propel Paralympic Movement to "unimaginable heights" predicts IPC President
August 2014: Tokyo 2020 celebrate Paralympic values with six years to go until Games
January 2014: IPC "impressed" following Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Orientation Seminar
January 2014: IPC officials travel to Tokyo for 2020 Paralympic Games Orientation Seminar
October 2013: Japanese Government promise to use Tokyo 2020 Paralympics to help improve facilities for disabled