Emily Gibson was from upstate New York.
On January 1, 1861, Emily arrived in Japan as a Christian missionary. She was engaged to Zephaniah Cromwell, the leader of the mission.
Later in 1861, Emily begins translating a series of scrolls known as Suzume-no-kumo (Cloud of Sparrows) that tells the secret history of the Okumichi clan into English. Purely by coincidence, the first scroll she translates is the first one written, dated 1291.
Emily was still translating the series of scrolls. She was intrigued by a leather-covered box that showed evidence of having recently been unsealed. The scroll she selected was written in the simple hiragana script; the previous scrolls had been written in the kanji script used for more complex ideas. When she unrolled the first scroll, she read that Lord Narihira planted American Beauty roses at Cloud of Sparrows Castle because he had learned from a "visitor" that the arrival of the American beauty would secure success for the Okumichi clan. The problem for Emily was that, although Lord Narihira planted the roses in 1575, there was a reference to them in Suzume-no-kumo dated 1311. Emily asked Hanako for her opinion about the writing on the newest scroll; they agreed that the text was written by a woman. Emily showed Hanako a kimono that was in the leather-covered box and Hanako told her that the kimono was cut in a modern style and would suitable for the bride at a wedding.
After visiting Cloud of Sparrows Castle, talking with Tsuda and learning about the discovery of the leather-bound trunk and its delivery first to Genji then to her, She went to the ruins of Mushindo Monastery with Hanako. At Mushindo, she encountered Lady Shizuka, although she was slow to accept the fact. The next day she survived an attempt on her life by Taro and his Samurai; Hanako died defending her.