There are a number of conflicts in Paterson's novel, but the most pressing one on the surface at least involves the Robinhood-like figure Saburo and the protagonist, Jiro's conflict over what should be done about Saburo's actions.
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"the whole novel lurks the mysterious Robin Hood-like bandit, Saburo, who continues his daring raids against the merchants and authorities despite the increasingly high price on his head. Jiro often wonders who Saburo is, whether he can be found, whether he should be betrayed, and whether he will kill anyone who learns his identity. These questions haunt Jiro and create a sense of intrigue."