What are the differences between Hana & Taro?

Expert Answers
allie-draper eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Hana and Taro are very different in many ways, but they come to respect and admire each other's strengths.

One of the initial obstacles that stands between the two is Taro's age; Hana is disappointed to find him ten years older than she is. The romantic partner she dreamed of is much better embodied by a young man like Kiyoshi Yamaka than by her grave husband who seems to have grown out of the excitement of youth.

Taro isn't as clever as Hana is, and lacks her flare for business. His shop is failing until Hana is able to make some adjustments and help turn things around. Hana is also more socially savvy than her husband—she recognizes that Taro will never take a loan, and so convinces Ellen to help her convince Taro the money is payment for his work painting her house.

Taro's principles are strong and inviolable; while Hana sticks to her convictions, too, she finds herself tempted by the young Kiyoshi and goes further than she means to when they kiss. Taro, by contrast, is firm and immovable, particularly where the safety of his family is concerned; he stands up to the men who come to let him know he and his family are not welcome in their new neighborhood. Courage is something he and Hana have in common.

Hana excels at keeping her spirits up and remaining optimistic in the face of adversity (even her daughter's disinterest); Taro, by contrast, is prone to periods of depression when his business is failing or when he feels he has been stripped of purpose in the camps. He does, however, recover his optimism before his death.