Last Updated on June 19, 2019, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 279
Isobe is a businessman whose wife, Keiko, recently died from cancer. She asked him to find her reincarnation on her deathbed; this shocks him but eventually sends him on a trip to India to find her. While Keiko was alive, Isobe cheated on her. Now that she's gone, he struggles with the depth of the love he felt for her. Ultimately, he realizes that he will never love anyone but her no matter what form she appears in—even when he can't find her reincarnation.
Mitsuko was Keiko's nurse. Her marriage failed and she often thinks of a man she seduced when she was younger. She seduced him to see whether he would turn away from his Catholic faith. She goes to India to find the man she seduced.
Otsu is the man that Mitsuko seduced. He holds anger against her when she first leaves him but eventually comes to terms with it. He lives in India where he works to help people who are dying in Varanasi.
Numada is the author of children's books that feature animals. He's recovering from tuberculosis. He connects with animals more deeply than people and believes that a pet bird is tied to his survival from the disease. When he was growing up, his parents forced him to leave his dog Blackie behind in Manchuria when they returned to Japan.
Kiguchi was a soldier in World War II. Along with Tsukada, he fought in Burma. Tsukada ate the body of another man, and when he met the man's family years later in Japan, he killed himself. Kiguchi goes to India to hold a memorial for the men who died with him in Burma.