Sakini, a middle-aged Okinawan interpreter for U.S. occupation forces following World War II. His skillful use of native Okinawan customs, Japanese folk wisdom, parody of Western ways, and naïveté reveal his perceptions of Americans and America. Sakini effectively bridges cross-cultural barriers.
Colonel Purdy, a stout U.S. Army officer assigned to democratize Okinawa following World War II. He is a single-minded individual who follows orders without question. He has rules and signs for the most trivial of situations; when alone, however, Purdy reads Adventure Magazine on work time. Outwardly, he guards his reputation, especially because of what his wife might say, but he is not above reversing orders to suit the whims of his superiors.
Captain Fisby, a U.S. Army officer in his late twenties, assigned as aide to Colonel Purdy. He had been an associate professor of humanities and is regarded as a misfit in military matters. Sakini constantly manipulates him into making all sorts of compromises and changes. Gradually, Fisby becomes so acculturated that he disobeys virtually every order that he is given, but in so doing he succeeds in making Tobiki a model village. His role demonstrates that a system is only a framework, within which ideal and reality may differ.
Lotus Blossom, a beautiful, petite Okinawan geisha girl. She has difficulty performing her duties as a geisha because Captain Fisby, to whom she has been given, is ignorant of the true role of the well-trained geisha and assumes her to be a prostitute.
Captain McLean, a psychiatrist in the U.S. Army. He is short and rather fat. His assignment is to make a psychological report on Captain Fisby, whose assimilation of the...
(The entire section is 772 words.)