Japanese cars of the golden era courtesy of the Shizuoka Prefecture archives

The Shizuoka Prefectural government has an amazing video archive, as it turns out. Footage from the 1950s to the 1970s include a number of short films about public works projects, including the construction of roads. These clips are chock-full of vehicles from Suzuki kei cars to Hino trucks, long before they were classics. They’re well worth a watch, and you might even catch the random Hakosuka Skyline just driving by like it’s no big deal.

This 1964 video called “Our Roads” depicts the efforts of the prefecture’s road works organizations. Included are the construction of the Tomei Expressway, the opening of the Nihondaira Parkway, and the highway planning department’s road beautification activities. 

By 1967 traffic had increased significantly on public streets. The need for an expressway connecting Tokyo with Nagoya gave birth to the Tomei Expressway. Called the “Second Tokaido” it refers to one of the five main cross-country routes of the Edo period, a time long before the invention of the automobile. This video shows its construction.

From 1969, it’s the opening of the Tomei Expressway. A parade of Toyota Crowns inaugurates the opening. Later, a 510 Nissan Bluebird traverses the freshly paved asphalt. The video also gives us glimpses of Fronte kei cars being assembled at a Suzuki plant, the development of a major interchange area, and the opening of the shinkansen‘s Mishima Station.

Here’s footage from the construction of a toll road in 1971. Lots of in-period shots of everything from Toyota Crown highway works vehicles to Hakosuka Skylines.

A 1972 public service video tells pedestrians how to cross the street safely. There’s lots of diagrams showing how long it takes for a car at speed to stop, but the real sights to see are said cars in the background.

In addition, Shizuoka Prefecture shares many other videos about local festivals, sporting events, the fishing industry, and more. It’s hard to imagine that the happy kids in these movies are senior citizens now. Memories fade, but that’s what makes this footage a valuable window into the past. We’re glad someone went though the effort of preserving and digitizing it.

This post is filed under: Showa Snap.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *