Ms. Kotani believes in her ill-behaved and ill-kempt students, especially the nearly autistic one with an obsession for flies. A Rabbit’s Eyes is a touching novel about a young and idealistic first-year elementary school teacher, her hardscrabble class of outcasts, and the reward for her belief in them. A call to action, from Japan’s schoolteachers’ favorite author.
Kenjiro Haitani’s love for children is not only sincere, but grounded in experience. The background for A Rabbit’s Eyes is his 17 years of teaching in an elementary school. Though he does not have a family of his own, he considers his students the promising future of a world that doesn’t deserve one. When A Rabbit’s Eyes came out in 1974, Japanese readership surprised him with their endorsement of his love, which is equal parts compassion and criticism, making it not only a bestseller but a constant reference for what the public school system in Japan can aspire to. To this day, A Rabbit’s Eyes and Haitani are cornerstones of popular Japanese fiction for believers in children.