What is more symbolic of Japan than sakura, the cherry blossom? This is the story of Masaaki Takaoka, a mid-twentieth century rural high school teacher, who worked on creating a specimen which would grow anywhere in the world. It is WWII and with his students drafted to war and departing he determines that his students and he would gather under the school's sakura tree upon their return. Only one student lives to return. Masaaki goal becomes to create a strain that blossoms anywhere in the world for the spirits of the dead students to find. It is a tale of daring to do something beautiful in the midst of war, killing and militarism.