Nijushi no Hitomi 二十四の瞳

(Hiragana Times article edited to be more reader friendly)

A Nostalgic Story of a Teacher and Students on a Small Island

Nijushi no Hitomi (Directed by Keisuke Kinoshita)
二十四の瞳(伊木下恵介 監督)
The book “Nijushi no Hitomi” (Twenty-four Eyes) by Sakae Tsuboi might be a familiar story to many Japanese, but most likely a considerably fewer number of people have seen the black and white 1954 film based on the famous story.
壺井栄が書いた小説「二十四の瞳」は多くの日本人によく知られた話だ。しかし、おそらく少数の人しか、この有名な物語をベースにした1954年制作の白黒 映画を見ていないだろう。
Just one of the 50 films directed by the prolific Keisuke Kinoshita, Twenty-four Eyes easily stands out as one of the most memorable of the late, great director.
The story centers on a vibrant, young teacher, Hisako Oishi, played by Hideko Tankamine, and starts from the very beginning of her teaching career, educating first-year students on the island of Shodoshima in the Inland Sea, Kagawa Prefecture.
ストーリーの中心は活気あふれる若き教師、大石久子だ。演じているのは高峰秀子。瀬戸内海に位置する小豆島(香川県)で彼女が小学校の新任教師として1年 生を教えるところから物語は始まる。
Initially, the film takes place in 1928 and old, traditional values are on full display.
Miss Oishi goes against the grain by riding a bicycle on her long journey from home to school, all the while wearing a modern suit rather than a kimono, drawing the ire and gossip of the island women.
大石先生はそれに逆らって家から学校までの長い道のりを自転車 で通勤する。着物でなくハイカラなスーツをいつも着ていて、島の女性たちの怒りを買って陰口をたたかれる。
Her modern ways are more of a practical measure rather than meant as disrespect.
彼女の新しいスタイルは古臭いものに対する軽蔑 というよりもむしろ実用的な目的だった。
Miss Oishi teaches 12 students, who quickly develop a close relationship with her.
This loyalty eventually changes the attitudes of the grown ups.
Not long after, however, as the result of an innocent prank by the children, Miss Oishi injurs her leg, making it impossible to ride her bike to school, and therefore must transfer to the higher grade school near her home.
しかしほどなくして、子どもた ちの悪気のないいたずらの結果として、大石先生は足をけがして学校へ自転車で通うことができなくなってしまう。それによって家から近い上級生が通う本校に 異動しなければならなくなる。
Fast forward four years when her original 12 students reach grade 5 and she once again becomes their teacher.
The reunion is sweet, but the harsh realities of life start to interfere with the children’s lives.
再会は嬉しいものだったが、苛酷な現実が子どもたちの人 生を変え始めていく。
One girl has to quit school and work far away.
Another girl’s family must sell everything and leave town.
And yet another girl must give up her dream of being a singer in order to help out at her family’s restaurant.
またもう 一人の少女は、実家の食堂を手伝うために、歌手になるという自分の夢を諦めなければならない。
Besides poverty, Japan’s war in Asia affects the inhabitants of the island, as the boys dream of becoming soldiers, much to the chagrin of their teacher, who’s simple desire not to see anyone killed puts her at odds with the nationalistic sentiment of the time.
貧困以外にも、アジアでの日本の戦争が島の住民たちに影響を及ぼす。誰も殺されるのを見たくないという彼女の純粋な願いは、当時のナショナリズムの気運と は相反するもので、少年たちの兵隊になるという夢に先生は無念を感じる。
Add to all of this her disenchantment with teaching, as the atmosphere of censorship and paranoia at her school slowly sap her enthusiasm, eventually leading her to resign and start a family.
こうしたことすべてにより彼女は教えることに幻滅を感じ、学校内での検閲や疑心暗 鬼に次第にやる気をなくしていく。ついに彼女は辞職して家庭を持つこととなる。
By the end of the movie, 20 years have passed and we see an older Miss Oishi reunited with the remaining members of her original class.
War and disease have taken some of them, but enough return to show their gratitude to her.
戦争や病気で何人かの命が奪われたが、多 くが戻ってきて先生に感謝の意を表す。
Miss Oishi takes up teaching once again, returning to the small school where she began her career.
Takamine portrays Oishi with absolute charm and grace, from her youthful exuberance to older melancholy.
高峰は、若者のはつらつとした青年期から寂し い老年期まで、完璧な魅力と優雅さをもって大石先生を演じている。

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