| Teramachi 3-Chôme 12-Banchi is a story of a family running a photo studio in a local town around 1940, a rare example of a Japanese family story. |
The Fukuchi Photo Studio is located on 3-11, Teramachi, at the end of the street named Suzuran Dôri [Lily of the Valley], the main street of the town. The family consists of Fukuttsuan, the father and the photographer, Shige, the mother, nine children, Mr. Sôta, a student and assistant of the studio, and Okate-san, a housemaid. As the story proceeds, the family begins looking after the three children of Mr. Miyagawa, a close friend of the father, and mother has a tenth baby.
Teramachi 3-Chôme 12-Banchi consists of twelve chapters. In the first chapter "Uma ni Notta Shasinya San" [A Photographer on a Horse], the new school year begins in spring, the father comes to an elementary school on a horse. This scene was described from the viewpoint of Hitoshi, the third son. The fifth and sixth chapters are about summer, the eighth and ninth autumn, and the eleventh and twelfth winter. Each chapter describes the events and accidents that happen in the family.
Fukuttsuan is stubborn and sometimes gets very angry at his children's behavior. He deeply believes in the Nichiren sect of Buddhism and holds morning and evening services every day. Shige works very hard to manage household affairs of her large family. While Masahito, the eldest son, is mild-tempered, Takeshi, the second son, is the infamous boss of the kids, and the fighting of Takeshi and others are brazen. Some fondly remembered memories, such as playing at the riverside in summer, of bathing in the sea, or of fair stalls at an autumn festival, are also described in this story.
While many family stories such as Die Familie Pfaffling, Little Women, and What Katy Did, are mother-daughter stories, Teramachi 3-Chôme 12-Banchi is the story of a father and his sons. This story is based on the experience of Watanabe Shigeo (1928 -), who was the "son" of Kikuchi Photo Studio at 3-11, Teramachi, Shizuoka City. The big fire in the last chapter is based on a real fire in Shizuoka in 1940. Watanabe dedicated Teramachi 3-Chôme 12-Banchi to his father.
Illustrations by Ôta Daihachi add a strong sense of reality. Kôdansha Pocket Book edition was published in 1976.