The film tells the story of Japan’s transition from a feudal system to a modern state, from the late 19th century to 1941, when Japan entered the war with its attack on Pearl Harbor. It approaches this little-known period of Japanese history through the life and career of Count Makino Nobuaki. Born in 1861 to a Samurai family, Makino was a politician and imperial court officer during the 1920s and 1930s. Through his eyes, we witness the transition stage of modern Japan struggling to balance the march toward westernization with the preservation of national tradition. The film charts the course of Imperial power in the 1930s, one of the most momentous periods in the nation’s history. Serving as Emperor Hirohito’s chief counselor on the monarch’s position in Japanese society and policymaking, Makino attempted to exert a moderating influence on national policy to keep Japan from militarizing and going to war. In vain!