A young woman is forced by circumstance into a loveless marriage while still in love with another. This episodic tale follows their story through three decades of bitter conflict which engulfs their children and those around them.
Heibei, the son of a wealthy landowner, returns home from the war in 1937 wounded in the leg and permanently disabled. He lusts after and thinks he loves Sadako, the daughter of a tenant farmer on his family's property. Sadako is in love with and engaged to Takashi, another soldier who is still off in the war. Heibei has his father blackmail Sadako's family into an arranged marriage between himself and Sadako, and when she refuses, he rapes her. With nowhere now to go, Sadako marries Heibei, but for the next 24 years, the roots of the loveless marriage poison everyone involved.
—Jim Beaver <email@example.com>
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