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Sapporo Snow Festival

The Sapporo Snow Festival began in 1950 when a group of high school students had the idea to build a series of ice sculptures in Odori Koen. At that time Japan was recovering from the aftermath of war; in fact, the occupation of the country in 1952 but not completed with the Treaty of San Francisco. The context was devastating, with a difficult economic situation, unemployment and lack of several of the largest industries in the country.

It took barely a few years before the event becomes extremely popular and in 1955, five years after his first draft, the soldiers of the new basis of Self-Defense Force in Makomanai, joined the celebration and participated well. In principle, creating sculptures was an activity that allowed men to occupy your time on something, but later proved himself an excellent group exercise which strengthened the ties between soldiers and a good way to test the leadership, resolving difficulties in the skills and initiatives of rookie officers.

The participation of this force was probably ensured the success and continuity of this event, since the soldiers were the first to launch a truly gigantic building works and the wonderful rinks for children. These sculptures were evolving and with over the years became a symbol of the city. Photos crossed borders of Sapporo and the news reached the rest of Japan, attracting local and foreign tourism.

But in 1972 the Sapporo Snow Festival changed forever. In that year the date of the festival coincided with the 11th edition of the Olympic Winter Games. It was the first time these Olympics were held in Asia. For the event a new subway line was built, major stadiums like Okurayama they were reconditioned and other establishments were opened. The giant ice sculptures were televised worldwide. By then the Sapporo Snow Festival was already an international event.

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