Tokyo, 1890. Through avarice, a series of misunderstandings, and failures of courage, the engagement of Kan-ichi (a student) and Miya (the daughter of Kan-ichi's debtor) is canceled to enable Miya to marry Tomiyama, a wealthy banker's son. In bitter despair, Kan-ichi breaks with his friends, drops his studies, and declares he has ceased to be human. He apprentices to a money-lender, and he's soon ruthless and wealthy. Several years later, Miya's in misery, her husband mistreats her. She goes to Kan-ichi to beg forgiveness; he pushes her away. He's now pursued by Akagashi, herself a cold-hearted loan shark. Can anything free Kan-ichi's hard heart from the golden demon?