On October 23, 1964, during the Tokyo Olympics, Japan and the Soviet Union contended for gold in women’s volleyball. In a stunning victory, Japan won 3-0 in a match which still retains the highest ratings for a sports program in Japanese history at 66.8%. The Western press referred to the slightly-built but skillful Japanese team as the Witches of the Orient.
Although broadcast by NHK, it was standard practice at the time to re-record over the expensive tapes used to record television programming, and it was long thought that nothing but highlights of the match remained. Recently, however, NHK has discovered a sports lover in possession of recordings that had been broadcast live overseas during the match. The match will now be broadcast for the first time in full since the Tokyo Olympics on BS1 on January 2, 9 p.m.