| Nijûshi no Hitomi is representative of full-length stories for children during the Japanese postwar period. Together with Biruma no Tategoto, it is one of the earliest wartime stories for children. First serialized in the Christian magazine Nyû Eiji [New Age] from February to November 1952, it was published in book form the next month. Tsuboi Sakae (1899-1967) had received Minister of Education Award for her former works. Nijûshi no Hitomi attracted a great deal of attention and became a great success, being reprinted every month. In the book, some expressions were revised and a hope for peace was woven into the story. The illustrator is Morita Motoko who also drew for the Nyû Eiji version. The illustrations in the book form are different in that children’s faces drawn in close-up were used more frequently.|
Nijûshi no Hitomi received a favorable review from the press as being an impressive, heart-warming or ambitious work written in an exalted style. The story is set in Shodo Island in the Seto Inland Sea where Tsuboi was born. Love for mankind is described through a close relationship between newly-appointed teacher Miss Ôishi and her twelve pupils in a branch school. Problems such as how to overcome poverty and what is true education are also described with a light touch. Twenty-four innocent eyes of children gleaming with hope and the sorrow caused by the war strongly impress the reader. The terror of natural disasters and the beauty of the rural coastal view are skillfully narrated. Nine songs are effectively included in the story.
Nijûshi no Hitomi was made into a movie in 1954 and gave rise to a “Hitomi” boom. It increased its readers and Kobunsha published Kappa Books paperback version which became a best seller. In 1957, a Shincho Pocket Book edition was published. Kenkyusha published an English translation in 1957. A reprint of the original manuscript was published in 1985. Nijûshi no Hitomi was made into a television drama, and remade into a movie in 1987. Location sets were reproduced and preserved in Shodo Island in 2004. Nijûshi no Hitomi Movie Village was set up and many events are held there.