Jiro, a spoiled young man, returns to his hometown in search of his old nanny and the pleasures of a magic pillow she is reputed to own. As he lays his head on the pillow, his future unfolds in a dream of fame and fortune. His entire life passes by in enviable sequence – he sees his seduction by a beautiful woman, his rise to presidency of a powerful company, his influence as politician and dictator. Even the death that waits for him waits among poetic blooms.
Hanako, a young geisha, waits in exquisite sorrow and longing for Yoshio, her lover. The young man has pledged his enduring love and promised to return, so Hanako waits in an unending cycle of dawn and dusk, in torment and in madness. Jitsuko, an artist and a spinster, hears of the geisha’s plight and takes her into her fold for selfish reasons. Jitsuko is moved to obsession by the younger girl’s yearning and seeks to perpetuate the geisha’s sorrow and to hide her from the world.