Born into the family of a wealthy yakuza boss, Shoko Tendo lived her early years in luxury. But labeled "the yakuza kid," she was the victim both of bullying and discrimination from teachers and classmates at school, and of her father’s drunken rages at home. Then, the family fell into debt, and Tendo fell in with the wrong crowd. By the age of fifteen she was a gang member; by the age of eighteen, a drug addict; and in her twenties, a willing participant in a series of abusive and violent relationships with men. Tendo sank lower and lower. After the death of her parents and her own suicide attempt, she began a tortuous, soul-searching reevaluation of the road she had taken. An unconventional act of empowerment (getting tattooed from the base of her neck to the tips of her toes) finally helped her take control of her life, leading to redemption and happiness.