Satoko Kitahara was a wealthy young woman who lived in Tokyo in the years after World War II. She was well-educated, spoke several languages, played the piano and was trained as a pharmacologist. But she lived in a city in ruins. Some of the poorest people Tokyo, mostly widows and orphans, lived near the river in a place that came to be called “Ants' Town,” because the people who collected rubbish for a living were hard working and community minded. Satoko left her wealthy life behind to live with these people and help them gain respect and self worth.