Mitsuya Majime is an eccentric young man who somehow gets by in the Sales Division of the Genbu Books publishing company, until he is transferred to the Dictionary Editorial Department to take advantage of his uniques perception of the meaning of words. He joins the team that will compile a new dictionary, "The Great Passage".
He'll work with a veteran editor who is nearing retirement, an elderly professor who has devoted his life to study of the Japanese language, and a brash young man who gradually develops an appreciation for the charms of dictionary compilation. In the midst of this eclectic team, Mitsuya becomes immersed in the world of dictionaries.
Then Mitsuya has a fateful encounter with a woman. Although he is an expert with words, he is unable to find the most appropriate words to express his feelings to her. The Dictionary Editorial Department is overwhelmed with problems.
Will "The Great Passage" ever be completed? And will Mitsuya ever be able to fully express his feelings?