A mild, even bland, story of Americans in Japan -- at intervals through the decades leading through the war, as David Prenter, a newspaperman whose wife had left him, serves as the ""friend of the family"" of Merion, and Englishman, who is to marry David's cousin. Merion, pukka sahib, and conventional in his British form and reticence, confided in David his affair with a Japanese girl, Setsue, who had borne his son but refused to marry him. David is instrumental in starting Setsue on a successful career, and later introduces Merion to Irma, who marries Merion. But in the years that follow Merion is never free of his relationship to Setsue, maintains her as his concubine, is eventually killed flying to see her after the war. And Irma and David find happiness together for the last years... Placid, pleasant reading,- but little more.