This coming-of-age story is set in post-World-War-II occupied Japan, a time of extreme culture shock. The protagonist is a sixth-grader, a young artist whose classmates tease him incessantly because he is overweight. In self-preservation, he becomes a bully. His loneliness is palpable until he befriends two newly arrived students at his school, a Korean boy--an ethnic outsider in Japan--and a delicate young Japanese girl, Harumi. Through the intervention of one special teacher, and his friendship with Harumi, he comes to learn the meaning of love and the joy which comes from giving of oneself. Although this beautiful story comes from a unique time and place in history, its themes are universal and very contemporary.