Joji Kawai, a wealthy engineer from the countryside, an insecure man of twenty-eight when he meets and falls in love with Naomi in Tokyo. Lonely and bored, he is attracted by Naomi’s Eurasian appearance and decides to develop her into the perfect, modern woman. He persuades her to move in with him; sends her to English, music, and dance classes; buys her clothes; and indulges her various whims. Gradually, he realizes that she is unfaithful, manipulative, and no longer under his control. He kicks her out of their home but later takes her back on her terms, giving her complete freedom to make her own friends, have affairs, and live an idle, luxurious life in a Western-style house in Yokohama.
Naomi, a fifteen-year-old waitress at the Diamond Café when she meets Joji. She is from a poor, apathetic Tokyo family and loves a good time. Under Joji’s tutelage, she becomes a beautiful but willful and selfish young woman. She frequently calls him “papa,” and he calls her “baby.” She wants no children or responsibilities and is enamored of all things Western. Joji likens her to their film idol, Mary Pickford, and at the dance at the El Dorado club reflects that she is a wild animal but vital and sensual.
Kumagai Seitaro, a brash, vulgar Keio University student. He becomes Naomi’s principal lover and encourages her wild and coarse behavior....
(The entire section is 467 words.)