Date: 20th November 2018
Driving around Shodoshima meant that I spend no time waiting for buses or trying to fit my trip around the bus schedule, which resulted in me completing my schedule for the day ahead of time.
I was at the Olive Park around lunch time and thought that it was a great idea to try the restaurants there. Unfortunately, only one restaurant was open and the queue list was too long to wait around. I had a quick look at Japan Guide’s Shodoshima Travel Guide, and saw that the Soy Sauce Factory or the Twenty-Four Eyes Movie Village were nearby. I decided on the movie village even though I have not watched the movie at that point since I do not fancy being in a place full of soy sauce.
It took me roughly 25-30 minutes from the Olive Park and I was glad there were restaurants around the movie village. I had a quick meal of Ebi-fry with rice and was soon walking towards the movie village.
Twenty-four Eyes (Nijushi no hitomi, 二十四の瞳) is a 1954 Japanese film directed by Kinoshita Keisuke. The movie is an adaptation of a novel of the same name, written by Tsuboi Sakae, who was a Shodoshima native. After the remake of this film in 1987, the film set was opened as the movie village seen today.
I watched the 1954 film before writing this post and though I was hesitant at first as it was in black and white, I was surely glad I did. The film was set between 1928 and 1946, which sees Oishi-sensei and her experience with a group of 12 students (12 x a pair of eyes = 24 eyes!) in their first grade.
The story is set in Shodoshima itself, so it gave me a good feel of how the mountains and sea still looked the same back then (something which was also repeatedly narrated throughout the movie). It was also interesting especially in the beginning (1928) where the locals found it bizarre that a lady teacher was wearing western clothing and riding a bicycle reflecting the gender stereotype at that time.
As the story unfolds before and after WWII, the impact the war had on the teacher and her fellow students is one of the major themes of the movie. The effects of poor financial situations are also heavily depicted in the movie, showcasing few examples through some of the students.
The film was heartwarming and was a tearjerker by the end of it, but I learned a lot from it. I would definitely recommend watching Twenty-Four Eyes if you are planning to visit the movie village or even Shodoshima. The movie village will still be interesting enough for those who did not though.
The movie village consists of a number of buildings which you can enter, the most prominent being the schoolhouse. Some of the buildings serve as restaurants, cafes, and souvenir shops. Additionally, there are two museums here – one of the author Tsuboi Sakae, and one of Japanese cinema.
There was even a shrine here.
Thanks to looking up this place at the very last minute, I did not notice that the old schoolhouse which was used as the filming location in the 1954 movie was just less than 1km from the movie village! It was an actual schoolhouse until 1971 when it closed down. It is now open to the public at a small fee.
- Movie Village: 750 yen
- Tanoura School House: 220 yen
- Combined Ticket: 830 yen
Opening hours: 09:00 – 17:00 (08:30 in November)
No closing days
Take the Tanoura Eigamura Line (田ノ浦映画村線) which departs from Tonosho Port, Ikeda Port, Olive Park, Kusakabe Port, Marukin Soy Sauce Factory, or Sakate Port, alighting at Eigamura. There are 4 buses a day and the fee is 300 yen.
- 55 minutes from Tonosho Port
- 35 minutes from Ikeda Port
- 25 minutes from Kusakabe Port
- 13 minutes from Sakate Port
- 40 minutes from Fukuda Port
- 65 minutes from Obe Port
Tanoura School House