Ryuji Tsukazaki, a sailor and Fusako Kuroda’s lover. Having crossed the seas countless times on a freighter, Ryuji is thoroughly at home on the ocean and enjoys his work but lately has had passing thoughts of settling permanently on land. He also sees himself as destined for some kind of glory, although he cannot yet define in his own mind what kind of glory he will receive. He meets Fusako Kuroda and her son Noboru and becomes her lover, as well as a hero figure for the son, who is fascinated with his strength. Ryuji and Fusako decide to get married; he further determines to retire from the sea and work for her in the fashion boutique that she owns. Ryuji’s determination to retire from the sea enrages her son, Noboru, who wants Ryuji to retain his hero status by remaining primarily at sea. Ryuji finally receives his ironic “glory” by means of a painful death at the hands of Noboru and his friends, who seek to punish him.
Noboru Kuroda, a thirteen-year-old boy and the son of Fusako Kuroda. Noboru, like his friends, is a nihilist who believes that there is little meaning in life; nevertheless, he is fascinated with the strength and vastness of the sea and with Ryuji, who lives on and in the sea. Noboru believes that Ryuji partakes of the sea’s strength. When Ryuji becomes Fusako’s lover, Noboru is delighted, seeing direct links between himself and his mother, his mother and the...
(The entire section is 593 words.)