At a night at the Imperial Theatre, an unemotional middle-aged businessman bumps into a geisha with whom he had an affair some years back and then forgot about while living abroad. They resume their relationship, and he takes her away to an onsen hot spring, only for her to run into an actor with whom she becomes infatuated. In retaliation, he turns his attentions to another geisha in the same house.

Set in the Shinbashi geisha district of Tokyo at the beginning of the Taisho Era (1912-26), this novel of sexual scheming and manipulation is representative of Nagai’s rediscovery of the fast-disappearing traditional culture of Japan after he had lived for over four years in America and France.

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