Japan: Emperor's Year

The line began forming at midnight, though the weather was so cold that the imperial moat in the heart of Tokyo was glazed over with ice. Next morning, as the gates swung open, a crowd of 8,000 Japanese in holiday dress shuffled across the famed double bridge and onto the expanse of grass where the great wooden palace had stood until leveled by American bombs. Shyly smiling, stooped but trim, Emperor Hirohito stepped to the front of a white platform and waved a languid New Year's blessing to the crowd.

Eight times the park emptied and filled, bringing 174,000 Japanese...

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