JAPAN: The Falling Curtain

As the slender young woman in the ivory-colored dress stepped out of the limousine in front of the Tokyo palace of Crown Prince Akihito, it was all that the police could do to restrain the 8,000 cheering teen-agers from mobbing her. "Suteki! Suteki!" the teen-agers cried —"Glorious! Glorious! Our future Empress!'' Michiko Shoda, 24, daughter of a flour magnate, and the first commoner in at least 15 centuries to be betrothed to the heir to the Japanese throne, had come with her parents to pay a ceremonial call on the young prince. After the usual formalities, the prince's tutor delicately...