Synopsis by Bruce Eder
Zensaku (Makoto Fujita) is middle-aged patent consultant and inventor, living a sedate life as a married father of two grown children, decades after service in the army during the Second World War that left him physically maimed -- he is completely deaf in his left ear, and must wear a hearing aid in his right. He suddenly finds his existence turned upside down when his past and present collide amid two seemingly unrelated events. His restless son (Toshio Kurosawa), who is struggling to make the grades necessary for college, has fallen in love with a young woman who turns out to be the daughter of Suzuki (Kei Seto), a wealthy industrialist who was Zensaku's wartime commanding officer -- he is also the man responsible for Zensaku's deafness, the result of a beating he received for refusing to beat a helpless Allied prisoner. Equally troubling, his son has been drawn to the idea of enrolling in the Defense College, which will give him an education but also train him as a soldier -- Zensaku cannot face the possibility that his son would become part of the same Japanese military that maimed him and caused so much misery for the world (including Japan). At the same time, an encounter with an old flame from his youth forces Zensaku into a possible business deal with Suzuki, and a series of recriminations about his marriage. This leads to a confrontation with Suzuki in which the man claims to feel no guilt or sympathy for Zensaku -- indeed, Suzuki expresses little but contempt for Zensaku and his humanitarian impulses, or the latter's outrage that their possisble business deal may allow Suzuki to manufacture a flame-thrower that he plans to sell to the Americans for use in Vietnam. Zensaku must wrestle with these conflicts out of his past, and also with the renewed allure of his old flame, now suddenly available to him again -- if he is willing to walk away from his responsibilities as a husband and father.
deafness, handicap, inventor, office, physical-abuse