A bridge divides the red-light district of Suzaki from Tokyo’s more respectable quarters, with a blinking neon sign clearly marking the border being crossed by those who pass through the gate. Penniless young couple Yoshigi (Mihashi Tatsuya) und Tsutue (Aratama Michiyo) arrive in search of work and a place to live. Just before they give up and cross over to the other side, the resolute Tsutue finds work in one of the sake bars that line the streets of the neighbourhood. Osami, the bar’s owner, has been raising her two children alone since being abandoned by her husband. Yoshigi gets a job as a delivery boy for a noodle restaurant. Tsutue deftly exploits her new position to attract the attentions of a well-heeled man. Meanwhile, bitterness and self-pity prevent Yoshigi from noticing that one of his co-workers at the noodle restaurant is attracted to him. In the end, the reunited couple find themselves back at the bridge, once again confronted with the question of where to go from here.
In unsentimental fashion and without judging his protagonists, Kawashima tells of the struggles and survival strategies of those on the margins of post-war Japanese society.