By: Alan Gratz
Toyo is a son of a samurai, living in "turn-of-the-century" Japan. Koji, Toyo's uncle has just committed Seppuku for rebelling against the emperor, who is trying to modernize Japan. Part of the modernization was getting rid of the social status and traditions of the samurai. Koji fought to keep the samurai tradition alive, and was "allowed" to commit Seppuku instead of being executed. Without a chance to fully understand "bushido", the way of the warrior, or why his father seems intent on following Koji's footsteps, Toyo is thrown into his life at his new school. at his new school, he finds that the first-years are abused and picked on by the upperclassmen, and he can't even get the position from the current shortstop, who is clearly worse than he is. After Toyo goes through a beating from the upperclassmen, which seems to be a rite of passage, Toyo is able to play on the baseball team. With nothing going his way, Toyo tries to understand bushido, which his father has been teaching him, while trying to find a way to improve both his baseball skills, and the skills of his team. After a relentless search, Toyo solves both his problems in "one swing", one could say. He finds that he is able to understand and apply "Bushido" to baseball, which helps him tremendously. He improves so much, that his teammates want him to teach them "Bushido" so that they can improve just like him. Problem is, Toyo's father finds Toyo's application of "Bushido" to a western sport like baseball distasteful. With his school team's game against their rivals coming up, and his father refusing to accept baseball, will Toyo continue with his baseball team, or will he decide instead to listen to what his father says?