It is 1863, ten years after the United States Navy officer Commodore Perry and his black ships sailed into Tokyo Bay and awoke Japan, which had been closed off from the world for over 200 years. With Japan yet to emerge from its isolation, five samurai from Choshu (the current Yamaguchi prefecture) are smuggled to the UK to see and learn about this country’s sophisticated technology.
On their arrival they are overwhelmed by the prosperity they find here and resolve to absorb British technology and expertise, especially as regards mintage, shipbuilding and railways. This knowhow later helps the Choshu clan to transform Japan. They later become the founding fathers of Meiji-era Japan by assuming various key posts, including that of the first prime minister of Japan.