JAPAN: Hiroo Worship

Not since the 1954 arrival of honeymooning Marilyn Monroe and Joe DiMaggio had there been such delirium at Tokyo International Airport. A record crowd of more than 4,000 was on hand to greet the returning hero as he flew home from Manila. Press helicopters hovered outside his Tokyo hospital window, while newspapers devoted full-page spreads to him. Prime Minister Kakuei Tanaka personally took writing brush in hand to inscribe ten poetic characters. The message: "The air of a heavenly hero will prove awesome through a thousand autumns."

The subject of these worshipful...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now


Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!