National Geographic : 1970 Mar
second largest metropolis, Osaka, a sprawling commercial complex on the Inland Sea. Near by, fast-growing Kobe challenges Yokohama as Japan's busiest seaport. Each day, throughout Kansai, an interlac ing system of subways, high-flying turnpikes, and the world's fastest scheduled trains speed eight million commuters from thundering mills and precision assembly lines to the tran quillity of small gardens, comfortable kimo nos, and formal cups of tea. I joined the throng and headed down the Meishin Expressway to preview the half-billion-dollar Expo '70. Its 815-acre site lies 20 miles south of Kyoto and 9 miles north of Osaka (map, opposite). Nearly Eighty Nations Participate On arrival, I met Mr. Kazuo Akiyama, Expo's overseas information director. Deco rating his desk was the familiar Expo '70 emblem: five circles representing petals of the cherry blossom. "The flavor of Expo '70 is basically inter national, not Japanese," Mr. Akiyama ex plained. "Nations from six continents are represented. The plan, the architecture, and the exhibits all suggest a city of tomorrow." Most visitors will arrive by express trains and expressways that dive underground to emerge at the main gate, set sensibly in the middle of the complex. Nearby stands the 200 foot-high "Tower of the Sun," Expo's theme building, thrusting up through an eight-acre transparent roof that shelters the Omatsuri Hiroba, or Festival Plaza. The tower, with escalator service, offers exciting exhibits on the evolution and future of mankind. Fanning out from this hub, a monorail and miles of moving sidewalks will whisk visitors through a concatenation of glittering con trasts. Furukawa Electric Company has built the world's highest pagoda-of steel and con crete. A dragon-prowed royal barge floating on an artificial lake represents Burma. More futuristic is the elliptical United States Pavilion, its translucent roof largely supported by forced air. The displays, cov ering 21/2 acres, portray U. S. accomplishments ranging from the Apollo moon landings to sports history; from folk and fine arts to archi tecture. Another advanced design, from Aus tralia, presents a building hung like a lamp shade from a soaring cantilevered "skyhook." "We're offering cosmopolitan entertain ment," Mr. Akiyama said. "Greek drama, a Chicago fire brigade, 'Holiday on Ice,' the Jap anese Feudal Lords' Parade, Frank Sinatra, 300 20 elephants from Thailand, and the Lenin grad Philharmonic." Expo '70, with its theme of "Progress and Harmony for Mankind," is expected to at tract some 50,000,000 fairgoers during its six months of operation. Although the influx will strain the region's already saturated streets, trains, and hotels, officials feel that they can accommodate all visitors. Political problems could complicate the situation, for this June the Mutual Security Treaty between Japan and the United States comes up for renewal. Although the U. S. has already agreed to return Okinawa* to Japan in 1972, some predict that student rioting this spring may be more violent than ever. It was bad enough when I was there. Kyoto University was one of about seventy Japanese colleges and universities closed by student strikes during 1969. On one of my visits to the campus, I saw pro-Maoist students rallying in front of the administration building. Behind them, high on the clock tower, hung a portrait of Che Guevara, the Cuban Communist killed in Bolivia in October 1967 (page 306). Across the street another student faction had barricaded the Faculty of Liberal Arts building with a wall of desks and chairs. Group leaders, wearing red crash helmets, shouted slogans through portable loudspeak ers (page 307). I could catch a few of the words, like "Okinawa" and "Beikokujin" -l iterally, America people. Students Focus on Many Grievances Warily I approached a demonstrator pass ing out handbills. His youth was partly con cealed by his long hair, square sunglasses, and wisp of a beard. He was quite cordial. "Actually we are not condemning the Amer icans," he said. "Our fight is against the Mu tual Security Treaty. American planes bomb ing Viet Nam are taking off from Okinawa. We want an end to the storing of nuclear weapons on Japanese soil, and we want Oki nawa returned on our terms." I wanted to tell him the war that brought us to Okinawa was not our idea, but he was too young, surely under 20. It wasn't his idea, either. His first point-on the storage of nu clear weapons-was understandable. The Japanese are the only people who have known the horror they can bring. "We are protesting other wrongs within our own system," he added. "Why is it, we *Jules B. Billard wrote of "Okinawa, the Island With out a Country," in the September 1969 GEOGRAPHIC.