A Dazzling Display in Tokyo

Japanese automakers unveil their latest models

In John Updike's new novel, Rabbit Is Rich, Harry ("Rabbit") Angstrom is a wealthy car dealer who pitches new autos for a fictional Toyota dealership in Pennsylvania. "Japan can't make enough of these cars to keep the world happy," Rabbit tells a customer. "Here we're supposed to be Automotive Heaven and the foreigners come up with all the ideas."

Last week, at the Tokyo Motor Show, nine Japanese automakers demonstrated some of those new ideas amid fireworks and brass bands. Among the 1 million people in attendance the first...