In late 18th century Japan, a young divorced woman struggles to become a doctor. The central theme of the story is her personal growth as she overcomes the barriers of traditional beliefs and assumptions in a male-dominated society, while battling against poverty and ill-health. Written in simple prose and easy vocabulary, the political, cultural and academic atmosphere of Japan is well drawn. An enjoyable and uplifting read.
'Gentlemen, it is truly unbearable - unspeakable - that our glorious medical college, run by the Imperial Court's designated physician no less, has today admitted a female medical student. Why? Our honourable profession is being degraded to the work of women and children. It's not enough that educated women are breaking up the home - now they are proceeding to crush the medical profession. It's outrageous!'
The other students immediately began clapping and roaring their approval.