Study Guide

Heart of a Samurai Chapter 5

By Margi Preus

Chapter 5

Oil

  • Everyone on the ship celebrates because the whale is a total cash cow.
  • Except, that is, Manjiro and the Japanese boys; they're horrified by the dead whale and the way it's being used, getting hacked up by the sailors who are saving its blubber for oil and taking its ambergris (used to make perfumes).
  • But the rest of the whale? The meat and all? Tossed away.
  • The work of hacking up the whale and turning its blubber into oil goes on for days.
  • Manjiro wants to help out, but Denzo and Goemon stop him; they think he's being "poisoned" and "corrupted" by the "barbarians."
  • Manjiro heads back to his bunk to think about all of this.
  • He looks for his box where he keeps all the little souvenirs he's acquired from his time on the ship—a bit of cheese, a tack, nothing big—but when he opens the box, it's empty.