Hiro Tanaka prepared for a life as a samurai warrior. But his world changed when Japan's feudal system was abolished by the Emperor. Now, he must find a new vocation. Disillusioned with fighting and violence, he travels alone, going north to the island of Hokkaido. Many other samurai wander through the country and are known as Ronin. Some have forsaken their honorable way to prey on the less fortunate. Hanako Shimizu experienced first-hand the devastation caused by these disreputable wanderers. The previous winter, they raided her farm and killed her husband.