A young man has an affair with an older woman. He is very jealous of her husband and decides that they should kill him. One night, after the husband had plenty of sake to drink and was in bed, they strangle him and dump his body down a well. To avert any suspicions, she pretends her husband has gone off to Tokyo to work. For three years the wife and her lover secretly see each other. Finally, suspicions become very strong and people begin to gossip. To make matters worse, her husband’s ghost begins to haunt her and the law arrives to investigate her husband’s disappearance.
In 1942, British soldier Jack Celliers comes to a japanese prison camp. The camp is run by Yonoi, who has a firm belief in discipline, honour and glory. In his view, the allied prisoners are cowards when they chose to surrender instead of commiting suicide. One of the prisoners, interpreter John Lawrence, tries to explain the japanese way of thinking, but is considered a traitor.