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Publisher: Houghton, Mifflin

An emotionally crucial period in the lives of four young Japanese in post-war Tokyo lends substance to a novel which deals pointedly with the remorseful, conquered country. Ko-ume, an accomplished geisha, receives a visit from her brother Takeo, in quest of a loan for some black market dealings. Minoru, the son of Count Imayama who is in turn a staunch patron of Ko-ume's ""boss"" O-Man, is deeply interested in Ko-ume in spite of the tradition that is a damper on marriage plans. He meets Takeo and offers him a place in the Count's incipient lumber business. Through a temporarily pleasant association, Takeo becomes entranced with Monoru's sister, Michiyo. Intervention arises from the Count's need to sever relations with O-Man through financial inabilities and the Countess' desire to maintain social position- progresses through to Minoru's brutal quelling of a communist influenced labor union at the lumber camp where of course, some of Takeo's sympathies lie; Ko-ume's tragic suicide; Minoru's marriage to a nobleman's daughter; but Takeo's happy reunion with Michiyo-helped along by Christianity. Deepening the story and giving it ponderable irony are the Westernizing influences- ones that cause the Countess to take up the cause for the emancipation of women; the communist activities as contrasted to geisha-housed conversations about democracy and imperialism held by politicians at pleasure; the interplay of personal loves. Though the American-educated author's second work (his first was Long the Imperial Way an expose of the Japanese army) becomes at times trite and contrived as he engineers his political discussions, there is much to be said for his simplicity and calmness of expression and his awareness of the many-lavelled progress of human emotions. A much needed picture of contemporary Japan.