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For Eric, a black serviceman stationed in Japan during the Vietnam War, a fresh predicament to his growing pacifist sentiment materializes as he develops a relationship with Karen, a white American student. In a time of ideological conflict, the two must negotiate a minefield of racial hostility.

The story is told from the private room of a hospital, where Karen’s father, whose sexual transgressions are a source of family shame, lies bedridden and mute. Unable to stop his daughter’s accounts of her relationship, violent confrontations between the Zengakuren student movement, draconian methods taken by the authorities to maintain order and Japan’s complicity in the war, he is her ultimate captive audience.

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