Kazu Fukuzawa, owner of the After the Show Retreat in Setsugoan. Kazu lives remote from civilized and noisy life, on the high grounds in the hills near Tokyo. In both her garden and her restaurant, every detail is calculated to please and soothe the eye. Seeking to combine rustic simplicity with elegance and aesthetic sense, Kazu hopes that her garden conveys a sense of detachment from worldly pleasures. Her natural state is ecstatic wonder, and she exudes love as the sun gives out heat. Her energy is an eternal delight to her visitors. Her harmonious life is challenged when she marries Noguchi. Although at times she identifies herself so deeply with the political views of her husband’s party as to forget herself as an independent individual, she gradually becomes like an actress playing a role in a play based on the ideology of the radical party. In the end, however, she chooses not to submit to the dictates of society, politics, or even her husband. Instead, she returns to her sources of spiritual solace: her garden and restaurant.
Yuken Noguchi, an intellectual of the radical party. Although he is married to the peaceful Kazu Fukuzawa, Noguchi seems to be in total disharmony with himself, with society, and with nature. He hides behind an ambiguous smile, laconic conversations, artificial attitudes, cold manners, acidulous reactions, and expressionless eyes. His stingy frugality...
(The entire section is 457 words.)