The Insect Woman covers 45 years in the life of long-suffering Japanese woman Tome Matsuki, played brilliantly by Sachiko Hidari. Thrust into the cold world at age 20, the pregnant Tome takes a factory job. She gives this up for the relative comfort of the life of an American GI's mistress. Once her American benefactor heads home, she seeks shelter in a house of prostitution, eventually becoming the Madam. Late in life, she is introduced to the daughter she'd abandoned years earlier, whose life has followed pretty much the same path as her mother's had. The winner of 14 Japanese film awards, The Insect Woman details the decline of cultural values as mirrored by one single misspent life.