Japan: One Colossal Binge

Undeterred by an unseasonal dusting of snow, Emperor Hirohito and several other members of the imperial family trooped into their private box last week as the strains of Kimi-ga-yo, Japan's national anthem, wafted over the Senri Hills near Osaka. While multicolored flags and paper cranes swirled about them in the brisk breezes, cannons boomed a five-gun salute and a 100-piece orchestra blared Fanfare of the 21st Century, a piece specially written by composer Masaru Sato. Then two giant robots clanked into Festival Plaza, disgorging 110 members of a children's band who launched...