Early on the morning of February 24, 1989, my companion and I set out from our lodgings in central Tokyo for the Imperial Plaza. Though we knew that Emperor Shōwa's funeral procession would not be leaving the Palace until 9:35, we planned our arrival for 6:30 because a policeman had told us the day before that a huge crowd was expected. He suggested we arrive at 4:30, but 6:30 seemed early enough since we surmised that the rain and the near-freezing temperatures would keep the crowds away. Later, we would discover that the crowds that day were indeed smaller than had been expected—570,000 people along the funeral motorcade's route rather than the 870,000 spectators that the Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department had originally projected (Asahi jaanaru, March 10, 1989; Asahi shinbun, February 25, 1989)—but by around 7:30 people filled the area fronting the Palace's main gate.

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