This lively tale of Kenji, a likeable boy growing up in Japan today, offers fine background material debunking the stereotyped picture of Japan as the land of cherry blossoms and fans. It shows the heavy responsibilities of a young boy whose father died after the war. Kenji's mother feels obligated to barter his young sister so that Kenji may continue his education. His reaction to this dilemma and his dual feelings toward an American girl classmate provide humor and pathos with insight into Japanese culture. This strong plot unfolds with the immediacy of some of James Michener's work and with spiritual character delineation reminiscent of Pearl Buck's The Big Wave.