This biopic is centered on New Year's Day of 1894, when Kitamura is recovering from a suicide attempt. Japan is then under the spell of fervent patriotism because the government wants to build up public support for a war with China. Kitamura's literary friends and militant comrades come to visit. They wonder why Kitamura wants to kill himself. Kitamura at first refuses to receive them, then he sits down with them and looks back on his days as a civil rights militant, his stormy love life and his ardent but destructive desire to live literature to the full.