On a post-war peaceful day in Japan, Toyomatsu Shimizu, a barber as well as a good father and husband, is suddenly arrested by the Prefectural Police as a war criminal and sued for murder. According to the accusation by GHQ, Toyomatsu "attemped to kill a US prisoner", which was nothing but an order by his superior and failed after all with hurting the prisoner by weak Toyomatsu. Also, Toyomatsu was driven to corner at the trial by the fact that he fed the US prisoner some burdock roots to nourish him. Toyomatsu believes nothing but being not guilty, but he is sentenced to death by hanging. Prior to the execution, Toyomatsu writes a long farewell letter to his family, the wife and the only son: "If I ever incarnate, I hate to be a human being any more.... Oh yes, I would like to be...a shellfish living on the rock-bottom of the sea."