Director: Ryuichi Hiroki
Release Year: 2004
Synopsis: Kikansha Sensei, based on the popular novel by Ijuin Shizuka, is an inspiring movie about a teacher and his young students. The setting of the story is a small island in Japan's Seto Inland Sea. Sakaguchi Kenji, the star of the film, is an actor and model whose popularity has been on constant rise, having appeared in various commercials and television dramas like hit series Pride. In his big screen debut, Sakaguchi takes on an extremely difficult role and handles it with poise and passion. The director is Hiroki Ryuichi, whose 2003 masterpiece Vibrator won five awards at the Yokohama Film Festival, including one for co-star Terajima Shinobu. Kikansha Sensei gives Hiroki, known for his mastery of direction, an opportunity to explore new territories of the human condition. It also gives Hayashi Asuca, an incredible 14-year-old, a chance to showcase her talent performing the theme song. Hayashi's powerful female vocals flowing in the background enhance the thalassic beauty of Inland Sea and island chains. The story takes place sometime in the late 50's to early 60's. One day, a young man named Yoshioka Seigo (Sakaguchi) arrives at the only elementary school on a small island in the Seto Inland Sea to become a temporary teacher. When the kids encounter their new burly teacher and discover that he is a mute, they quickly tag him with the nickname â€œKikansha Sensei (Teacher Locomotive).â€ Initially, many of the grownup islanders are wary about hiring the mute teacher; but the kind-hearted Yoshioka slowly gains the acceptance of the adults and the love of the children. However, one day, tragedy strikes...