COVER TEXT ILLUSTRATION

  Rusuban Sensei is the first story by Miyagawa Hiro (1923- ) published in book form. It became the first of Miyagawa’s subsequent school stories describing the close relationship between a motherly teacher and her pupils.
  Miss Kimura comes to an elementary school as a substitute for a teacher on maternity leave. She comes in contact with a class of third graders. The story consists of ten chapters, and each chapter is the story of different child so that it can be read as an independent story. For example, Chapter Three deals with Kimiko who does not talk with anyone in school nor eat school lunch. Miss Kimura lets her eat in another room with her friend Yoshiko and encourages her to communicate by writing in a notebook. Kimiko gradually opens her heart. In Chapter Four, Mitsuo becomes jealous of Kimiko who is cared for by the teacher and he bullies her. However, Kimiko participates in physical training as a result. Mitsuo has a chance to talk with the teacher privately and confesses his lonely feelings.
  The whole story eventually describes the growth of Mitsuo. After talking with the teacher, Mitsuo becomes considerate of other classmates. At the scene of parting with Miss Kimura, he takes the initiative to fly a kite with classmates for her and asks her to come back as a regular teacher.
  Rusuban Sensei describes an ideal relationship between teacher and pupil. Although it can be seen as a fantasy from today’s point of view, it nevertheless makes us feel comfortable. Especially, Miss Kimura’s motherly physical contact with the children is depicted warmly and affectionately.
  It first appeared in the magazine Biwa-no-mi Gakko [School of Loquat Seed]. Soon it was published in book form with illustrations by Kikuchi Sadao, who was a creator of animation. His vivid illustrations of the characters make the story even more familiar.