Study Guide

Heart of a Samurai Chapter 1

By Margi Preus

Chapter 1

The Storm

  • We start with part 1, "The Unkown."
  • Setting: January 1841 (12th Year of Tempo, Year of the Ox), off the coast of Shikoku, Japan
  • Our story opens with five guys off the coast of Japan: Manjiro (our main guy), Denzo, Jusuke, Toraemon, and Goemon.
  • They're desperate for fish because they have hungry mouths to feed at home.
  • Dark clouds roll in, and Manjiro notices that something's up with the weather.
  • He keeps asking questions, which—it turns out—is a major trait of his, and which also completely annoys the older guys.
  • The storm comes and the guys are swept out to sea.
  • The guys are out on their boat for days, with just the mackerel they caught to eat.
  • Obviously, they're totally scared—not just about not making it back to their island, but of what they might meet, the "barbarians" in particular.
  • It's been eight days and they've run out of fish and water.
  • Luckily for them, they notice an island which has birds on it, signaling not only land, but food as well.
  • The boat drifts over to the unknown island.