Children Full of Life

Children Full of Life

2003, Society  -   128 Comments
Ratings: 8.60/10 from 708 users.

Mr. Kanamori, a teacher of a 4th grade class, teaches his students not only how to be students, but how to live. He gives them lessons on teamwork, community, the importance of openness, how to cope, and the harm caused by bullying.

In the award-winning documentary Children Full of Life, a fourth-grade class in a primary school in Kanazawa, northwest of Tokyo, learn lessons about compassion from their homeroom teacher, Toshiro Kanamori.

He instructs each to write their true inner feelings in a letter, and read it aloud in front of the class. By sharing their lives, the children begin to realize the importance of caring for their classmates.

Toshiro is an amazing example of what all teachers across the world should be like. He truly understands what teaching children is all about and certainly made a positive difference in the lives of these 10 year olds.

Directed by: Noboru Kaetsu

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128 Comments / User Reviews

  1. Children should always be taught about death as early as possible, from the goldfish found floating in his bowl, to the beloved old dog who died while away at college. Death is everywhere & children can't be shielded from it. Bottling it up inside only brings more destruction of the life down the road.

  2. God I loved it
    I cried while watching this
    I wish my teacher and my class were like this
    Bot,mostly I wish there will be more and more teachers like him.

  3. This documentary was so heartwarming. Especially for the time we have reached as a socity, human connection is close to nothing when it comes to connecting with others around us. All conversations are simple and have no meaning. No emotions are felt. Everyone is just out there looking out for themselves only. Children need to be taught the importance of human connection , feeling emotions and understanding that it's okay to show emotions like sadness.

  4. How to contact with Mr. Kanamori? I recently watched the documentary on how he taught the children how to live a life with respect and empathy. I have raised a few questions for him so that I wrote a letter to me, unfortunately, I do not know how to contact him.

  5. In all my 74 years I have held the believe that GOOD teachers mold the children and thus our world, this teacher is a person beyond my wildest hopes! GREAT VIDEO!

  6. So inspiring. Thank you so much for this.

  7. Mr. Kanamori showed his young students, and me, how to relate to each other with empathy but also the process of getting to a point of empathy and understanding. As an adult and a teacher he also demonstrated that he would listen to young people / students and be proud of their viewpoints. He is a teacher's teacher.

  8. Amazing, teared up. one of the best moment in life.

    1. You are completely right!

  9. I teared up when they made the card for the mum of the deceased husband. Breaking all the taboos of talking about one's emotions, sharing their experiences and grieving on past memories makes this a powerful documentary. I am astounded at the emotional intelligence of these students, a testament to Mr. Kanamori's teaching style.

  10. Wow! These talks are pretty deep in perspective and meaning for these nine to ten year Olds. It is very brave in my view and I wonder how they are able to open up so readily in the face of the context of one of life’s more sharper corners, let’s say. The kids are showing such depth and vulnerability in class. Wow!

  11. I tried teaching 4th grade and used the same tactics and I was fired by the Okemos, Michigan Public Schools! All the children had parents that taught at Michigan State University in East Lansing. I love teaching and the kids loved me and I was hired by people who wanted progressive teachers like me. There was a change of leaders and I was fired.

    1. I am sorry to hear that, Richard. Unfortunately empathy is too often overlooked in contemporary societies...

    2. That is reality. You must be mediocre and stick to curriculum to keep your job. Despite what you may learn in college, your boss just wants you to lay low.

  12. I wish I had had a teacher like the one in this documentary! Surely these children's lives were changed by this experience. As adults we carry so much of our childhood, without even realising it. Every child should be taught these things. Touching and inspiring documentary

  13. I love it but I kept thinking about what happened to everyone *-* I still wondering

    1. Yes, it would be nice to see those kids grown up today. See if their fourth grade year at school, and especially this teacher, has had a lasting impact on their lives.

  14. This is one of the most powerful stories I've ever seen and heard. My heart is filled with more love to share than ever.
    Thank you so much for the purpose of life indeed is joy and we can achieve it thru compassion, knowledge and understanding

  15. i don't know how this kind of teaching can be implemented everywhere ,maybe we can start sharing this documentary more.

  16. Kids and adults used to learn most by observing. Now they are lied to about what they see and don't see. They are easily manipulated by their emotions and egos. Hats off to the teacher who teaches good things rather than emotionalizing them to the socialist-communist new world odor agenda, as is the plan.

    The masses are viewed by the banksters and elite much the same as Christopher Columbus viewed the natives of the Caribbean (Arawak), "they would make good servants..."--from the docu Red Cry on this website; and have set out long ago to make that a reality through the "education" (indoctrination) system.

  17. Its hard for me to find the words to describe how profound this story is. I think if we as people learn to care for others, help others, be empathetic, learn acceptance, listen, stand up for each other, and be happy there would be much less suffering in the world. This documentary is beautiful......thank you.

  18. Kanamori Sensei, I am so moved by your exceptional pedagogic approach and the mastery of how you educate young students the most important lesson in life " empathy". It's amazing to imagine the future of these youngsters as they continue their higher education. They will truly become amazing adults that can change the world without a doubt. It's so Sad that USA and European education systems no longer focus on educating a children to become compassionate human beings, they instead focus on training individuals to become ego-maniacs self-centered and money loving who lack integrity and empathy. Japan has a lot to teach the world !!

  19. This is a great documentary! Something I have been teaching myself, and others for quite some time now, and being an example of in my life. If you don't like how our teachers teach, that's fine. But don't blame them for our children not learning these principles. It is our job as parents, and yes, I am a parent, to instill these values into our children from the start. It is our job to become examples of this for the future generations. It is our job to teach by example, and to BE the CHANGE we wish to SEE in the world.

  20. So Educational .... FOR ALL OF US ! This, IS The Way School should be taught EVERYWHERE !!! Outstanding & Incredible Documentary, THAT should Also Win a Nobel Peace Prize; To the "Life Changer/Instructor".

  21. Empathy is a hard thing to learn. Good thing these kids have someone to teach 'em.

  22. Mr. Kanamori San, I was absolutely amazed and touched by your style of teaching to the grade 4 students in Japan. Hats off to you! Actually, this is what exactly His Holiness the Dalai Lama has been promoting for the past few decades and now I can really see the difference it brings! So important for all of us wherever we are. Especially the teachers in the montessori set up to teach, compassion, empathy, sharing, and cooperation in this world. I am so blessed to see your documentary and I hope many people will watch this and try to learn bit by bit. Thank you so much.

  23. Amazing children, amazing teacher. Truly.

  24. This video was very interesting. It shows that no matter where you are in school, you should always be happy. The teacher Mr. Kanamori, is being a true role model and making sure everyone is happy because they deserve to be happy. When the students are talking about getting bullied and one student shared that she was bullied before and didnt want to be made fun of again, so she didn't know what to do when someone else was being bullied, Mr. Kanamori told her that they all understood she was upset and tried to make her feel better. Also, when two students father died, he had one of them talk about it and after she shared her story of her father, she felt better knowing that she had people in her class that wanted her to be happy. When they found that another students father died and he didn't come to school, the teacher told them they should try their best to cheer him up because he is going through a rough time. My favorite part of this was when a student got in trouble and couldn't do the rafting activity and then another student stood up for him and all the other classmates said that he should be able to do the rafting. I like this part because it shows that the students all cared for each other. My least favorite part was when everyone was sad and crying. This was a interesting video, I learned about how schools are taught in a different place.

  25. The video wasn't that bad. My favorite part is when everyone was happy. My worst part was when everyone was sad.

  26. I think this documentary is a very powerful demonstration of teaching as a vocation not just a job. If we (assuming we are adults) adopted this level of compassion and thoughtfulness in our daily lives then society as a whole would integrate children into this way of being. We would all benefit and the future generations to come. This documentary and Mr Kanamori's outlook and approach to teaching (and no doubt his own life) is truly an inspiration.

  27. As a teacher I hope I can learn from Mr Kanamori's synthesis of human and academic lessons.

  28. TZhe deepest respect, I can express ........ Kanamori is a beacon of humanity, we wanna see in a future ....a near future ....

  29. A true teacher and leader. What an inspirational and beautiful documentary. I'm so grateful to have seen it. Profound and moving. It is exactly this sort of guidance we need all around the world, in all our schools, if we as a species are to make the most of ourselves and our experience here.

  30. you are great artist and your student is best art

  31. We have such wonderful teachers here in the USA. I remember when I was asked to make a presentation to my son's 3rd grade class about Poland as I am the daughter of Polish Immigrants. I brought Chleb Zwykly na Zakwasie (Sourdough Rye Bread), Borsche (beet soup) and Pączki (a polish cherry filled donut). I sung a Polish Christmas song, in the polish language. I printed and distributed a translated Polish coloring book describing a short history of the country to each student. While making copies of the coloring book in the copy room the principal of the school came in to review the document. She told me not to copy and distribute the "Catholic" parts. Poland's history IS Roman Catholic.... When the principal left my son's teacher told me print and distribute the Catholic pages. If there was any problem she would deal with it.
    Several weeks later my son brought home thank you letters from each child in the class telling me their favorite part of my presentation. I still have those letters as the feelings they convey still touch me...One child was quite impressed with beet soup, one child said he 'loved' my singing. Some signed pages they completed from the coloring book. Nearly all commented on the cherry filled donuts. The the teacher told me she kept an additional copy of the coloring book to help her teach about Poland to future classes. Great teachers do exist here, too!

  32. I think the way the teacher uses guilt and public shaming is criminal. This is not how you teach to be happy, this is how you pave the way to suicide.

    1. Absolutely thought the same in the beginning. However, when the kid's friend stood up for him followed by other kids, I then realized why his public shaming was justified in this case. Mr. Kanamori simply might have wanted to check other kids' reaction on his decision.

  33. (02/23/2016) This was an emotional documentary. From tears to smiles and tears again and more smiles. I think more teachers should adopt Mr. Kanamori's style of teaching mixing academics with life challenges. The students are learning to annotate and express their feelings, establish relations, team building, and making important decisions all by Mr. Kanamori. Beautiful!!!

  34. This is great!! Yes it is very imperative to teach young students, the self-discipline and generousity.

  35. It left me in an emotional wreck. This made me dwell in the past very much and brought me up to realize how easy it was to let go of my beloved relative. Some schools don't encourage this type of teaching, and students don't tend to bond altogether. Events such as Point Break offers youths in high school to bond over very trivial matters such as bullying, losing a loved one, and games that require teamwork. This documentary is very eye-opening to students who have never experienced the proximity of having a family at home and at school. It is very interesting and worthwhile.

  36. Also, this was very different because I don't wear uniform in school, I don't speak Chinese, and in school we don't play in mud. Lastly, one that was similar was people in are school do get bullied and people do talk about one of there family matters that died.

  37. Wow, this video was very touching. I loved when Yuto's friend was standing up from him. Also, how they express there feelings. Everyone in the video was very caring and warm-hearted.

  38. How many times can a 19 years old cry during the span of 40 minutes? I lost count. Childhood is when people are the most easily swayed and influenced - the time when they are molded. Lessons like these help shape them into empathetic friends. I realize something though, children in different cultures react differently to the same lesson. I don't think this certain method of teaching will be very effective in the US, simply because children don't lesson as much.

    1. I'm agree with you in some way but I don't think is about the kids' reactions, unfortunately is about the society they live in, In Japan the teachers are seen as respectful figures also by the kids' parents. I bet you in US there will be some parent trying to suing the teacher for teaching "abusing" their kid for make them cry, that is, sadly, the way it is in US society

  39. if only more teachers could be like this!

  40. I would love to meets Mr Kanamori in person.

  41. these kids are 9 and 10? the kids, the teacher, the teachings, it almost the work of angels. these kids make me feel pride for my admiration of the Japanese. i cant help but compare American schools with these ones, they should take a tip or two!

    i feel like, this shows a bit more careor the people and less for the money, than many other places. like society and its rules aren't only there to make everything more profitable, but to actually help bring people together.

  42. We woulld have a much better world if it was filled with these types of teachers. Inspirational.

  43. Amazing teacher wish i had some like that when i was at school

  44. An amazing, inspirational teacher. A pleasure to watch!

  45. who directed this documentary

  46. it's staged

  47. I am a big mush ball so I will not watch the movie but I will wish I had a teacher like him from your comments.

  48. I am sorry, but I do not understand your reaction to this movie. Of course that children should be taught empathy and true friendship but this teacher is forcing children to show emotions all the time and it is mental abuse. All the children in the movie sometimes feel forced to cry. It is not fake, but it is taught and little bit manipulated, so not natural. I see he means well, but he is harming the children. Drama queen. And his methods are way too exadurated when he is dealing with small things like talking during work. I think that the world is becoming a cold place and we are all in need for some warmth, but there are right ways to feel unity and warmth, and there are ways to fake it.

    1. Perfect of example of someone who needed a Mr. Kanamori in their life.

    2. i'm sorry for your experiences. i don't know what it's like for you, but i've found I am quite often out of touch with people's feelings.

      Sometimes things feel fake because it is not how i would react, nor was it really something that was tolerated (or not attacked) when i was growing up either.

      I don't claim to know what your life was like, but perhaps this may be part of the reason why it seems fake to you.

    3. There are so many things that you are showing that you can't understand, that I find no worthy to try to explain them to you.

      We need many more Mr Kanamoris teaching life, but not only, we also need to improve our education. Japan is in the edge in many ways, at least we should try to learn from the top countries methods (PBL, cooperative learning, etc...)

  49. I'm speechless, truly amazing man, truly amazing children, that what life is about. I send it to my daughter, she is a 4th grade teacher

  50. Awe inspiring, I cried most of the way through this...... alot can be taken from this to teach our own children empathy and to care for others. We as a nation are selfish in our ways, only caring about what affects ourselves. Bullying starts at a very young age these days,as young as 3 as does ignorance ...but I believe this is a " learnt by example trait " .Children are not born to hate they are learning by example and only we as parents can change this !

    1. Beautiful! This is the second viewing for me and I cried throughout. What an inspiring human being. He loves, honours and respects his students and they in their turn adorn him with the same passion. How truly fortunate they are to have spent 2 years with this man. He has left an indelible mark that these students will carry throughout their lives. His is a life well lived to have given himself to these children with his whole heart and soul, very well done!

  51. This is a phenomenal teacher and we need to have more teachers like this in the US. This really teaches children coping skills, empathy, and how to be a friend etc. Some adults could learn from this teacher and the children as well. Kudos to this teacher, well done!

  52. To watch this program should be prerequisite to any teacher before getting degree, I love this teacher. His methods could change our world!!!

  53. Truly inspirational. But- a grown man embracing a crying 10 year old boy in the toilets? - in Australia, you'd go to jail for that, mate. So this sort of connection and emotional maturity will never happen here, I'm sure.

  54. What a beautiful experience .... to watch these children learn about life and happiness and loyalty and laughter and tears. I couldn't take my eyes off their faces. Beautiful, life honoring..... we need more of this for our children and for ourselves. Thank you.

  55. It would be amazing if we Brazilian had classes with this purpose: to teach people how to face life and be happy.

  56. Cried twice. I believe these students will have happy lifes under the teacher's direction......These children really said something helpful in their letters. What kind of person would I become if he had ever been my teacher? Certainly much happier!

  57. I balled my face off.

    What an amazing man -- my favourite part was when the one boy was challenging his penalty for the other boy who kept talking -- Mr. Kanamori closes his eyes and just listens. If only more people could do this - let their pride go and simply listen - I think we would all be much better off.

    Oh, and playing in the mud is essential to childhood and should be encouraged throughout grade school.

  58. Wow. This really is incredible. Thank you so much for letting us know that better alternatives are available to us and our children <3

  59. such a cool teacher! gr4 in 2002? these kids are my age! i wonder how everyone including the teacher is doing today

  60. Really inspiring.... teachers worldwide should learn from this great teacher. Ppl should think of how to replicate this and create many more Kanamori's

  61. "The solution should match the problem."
    I love it.

  62. What an amazing documentary, What an amazing teacher, what an amazing world it would be if every child had someone as amazing as Toshiro Kanamori in their life!

  63. What an amazing documentary, What an amazing teacher, what an amazing world it would be if every child had someone as amazing as Toshiro Kanamori in their life!

  64. watching this i creid i love it. i wish all teachers could teacher like he did all around the world

  65. Awe inspiring. I'm pleased people like Mr. Kanamori are there for the children. I wish as an American I had experiences like this but am glad it does exist somewhere! Good job, Mr. Kanamori!

  66. indeed the great documentry childiren full of life !!

  67. know this exists in "this" reality bubble we call Earth is so freaking inspiring. wow

  68. I cried watching this documentary. It is fascinating. Mr. Kanamori is not a teacher, he is a master of life, and the children, they are very smart and special. Congratulations for Mr.Kanamori, the children and this movie's producers.

  69. Cried my face off.

  70. As someone who was born, raised, and educated in America and who was married, employed and socialized into American culture, (now on the verge of retirement), I can say with sadness that either we have a long way to go to catch up to older cultures or we are truly lost.

  71. This was a great documentary. Seeing these students having to deal with the death of a parent made me think of my own former spouse who killed off the father of her three children with the help of her divorce lawyer and the family destructive court of Santa Clara California.

    A parent does not have to literally die for the children to loose a parent. This can easily be accomplsihed by divorce and the vindictive nature of a former spouse.

    After watching this program I wonder how much my three children miss me if at all.

    For women who remove a father from the family with the assistance of a divorce lawyer and family court, they destroy the lives of everyone involved simply to satisfy their need for revenge and their vindictive nature.

    It is unfortunate but fathers are killed off everyday in the United States and Canada this way without a second thought to the children or the fathers.

    This was a heart warming story of how one teacher and the students in the class learned to help each other through their good times and bad times.

    May my former three children have the same support in their classrooms from their teachers and friends to be happy.

    Arnold Vinette
    Ottawa, Canada

  72. "A mutual effort at understanding" says it all really.
    Hayao Myasaki should make a film about this teacher:)
    Great doc 10/10

  73. ez2b12: I have to say, you took a touching documentary and analyzed it and asked all the right questions. I agree with so many of your points, and I have to say that your questions are almost difficult for me to answer, because of how many factors there are at play.

    I currently have no children, and often considered the idea of doing a degree of home schooling with them when I do have kids, but socializing my children would be the biggest obstacle by far to contend with, and might be the largest and single-most important factor in my decision.

    The thing about OUR public schools (I grew up in Eastern Canada) is that the teachers do not have the authority to educate our children in a way that even slightly resembles parenting, because that is the supposed job of the parent. The parents do not want anything that might slightly be considered any form of indoctrination taking place in our schools. Developing the morals of a child I think might be considered as much.

    Maybe it is directly relational to the fact that most adults in western society aren't able to relate to one another on a level such as these grade 4 students?

    So, to your question: Why do we perpetuate the problems within a flawed system by not doing anything about them?

    Well, I'd like to see any teacher try to get away with singling out a student to take responsibility for their actions in western society. Parents would lose their sh!t over something like that. Singling out a student who has done something wrong is paramount to singling out the parent for their parenting skills. I think that most parents would see such a tactic as undermining, and be trying to protect themselves from the embarrassment of knowing that their kid did something that required forceful responsibility of those actions. Who wants to be the parents of the kid in the paper for doing something terrible and of whom public outcry is asking where the parents were when all of this was taking place?

    I also think that living in a world where we expect and require levels of privacy that are virtually unrealistic (ie: facebook & privacy) plays a role in our problems. These students were very open and honest about their feelings, whereas most of us are very private about them. We're told to mind our business, and people are expected to grieve out of sight. Never would you see so many people opening up in such a way in front of others in western society.

    And I would also think that many teachers would probably have no idea how to approach such a strategy in education. This teacher has very obviously embraced these morals in such a way that they are ingrained in every aspect of his character. You cannot teach a moral of compassion when you rarely feel compassion yourself. You cannot teach empathy if you do not seek it.

    So how do we get to a point where western society could have an educational system which provides such valuable life skills such as compassion, empathy and caring for our children? (I'd like to know what you think, too) I think we need teachers who embrace those aspects of life to come forth and start teaching those skills, and we need the parents to understand just how valuable those skills actually are and trust that teacher to do their job without taking it as a personal attack on the skills of parents.

    But as for this documentary, what an incredibly intense experience for fourth graders! Just watching this, within the first few moments, my eyes were watering and I was trying to envision such levels of honesty and compassion in my grade 4 class. And all I could think about were the bullies and the people being picked on and the people who strove desperately to keep to themselves (which I generally belonged to) and how even looking back on it I have a hard time imagining feeling compassion for the bullies now; but so much of that is directly relational to not actually knowing anything about them. Never having that connection of a common ground which seems to take away animosity.

    This film was very inspirational, and I want to send it to every peer I know who want to be teachers or who are teachers.

  74. Haha, Dave, I'm so sorry I had to laugh at your comment and all the grammatical & spelling errors in it. I'm no English teacher, but it certainly put a smile on my face. I'm really looking forward to watching this documentary, now.

  75. The teacher touched my heart. So wonderful!

  76. Excellent...will definately apply his teaching and follow too.

  77. i came upon this site by mistake, and i'm happy i did. i'm home, sick, so i've been randomly browsing the net.

  78. Such a beautiful doc.!!

  79. What an inspiration! When I was 10 I learned nothing about this kind of compassion and caring and love with my peer group at school. Amazing.


  80. I too was amazed & deeply moved by this documentary. Mr. Kanamori is in many was inspirational. That being said...I have some reservations about his methods. Publicly humiliating a student in front of his peers is unacceptable to me. Sure, the boy may have been talking too much in class, but the climate in that classroom is such that the boundary that marked 'excessive talking' was unclear.

    Allowing students an emotional outlet,encouraging empathy, mutual support and compassion is admirable. BUT, for children who come to school in order to be happy, they sure spend a lot of time crying and upset! What I fear here is the extreme emotional vulnerability of these children in relation to their teacher. When he became angry at the boy who allegedly talked too much, the student who spoke out in his defence was clearly frightened. Mr. Kanemori shut the entire class out emotionally. Standing with his arms across his chest, his face an expressionless mask, his head up & his eyes closed, he did not model the behaviour and attitude of a respectful listener. Again, students were crying. I've seen cult leaders use similar tactics in order to gain control over their followers. Emotional manipulation is unacceptable to me, whether it is in a classroom or at home. Affection is not something to be given & abruptly withdrawn. I am not accusing this teacher of being a calculating malevolent manipulator; I just hope that upon reviewing this film an re-thinks some of his methods.

    Such teaching methods would indeed be difficult to implement in many Western countries. Also, in settings where there is great diversity within the classroom and school, parents are bound to have equally diverse viewpoints upon these subjects.

    This places teachers in a difficult position. Students spend a vast quantity of their time in the school environment. To NOT teach them some values such as mutual respect and empathy would be irresponsible.

    The Africans say that it takes a village to raise a child. The trouble in the West is that we are deeply mistrustful of the village: behind every bush lurks a drooling maniac seeking to prey on our children. Overwhelmingly, that predator is seldom a stranger, but someone in the child's own family. That many of our children learn to be guarded, aggressive or disturbed in other ways should come as no surprise. Western teachers are taught that we must NEVER hug or touch the children. When the little girl 'confessed' to having bullied a classmate & broke down in tears, the teacher stepped behind her, put his hands on her upper chest and told her to breathe deeply. A gesture like that would cost a teacher here his career! Even a pat on the back is unacceptable. You can still give out high fives but keep that hand sanitizer close by! Our litigious society has rendered it impossible to let kids in school splash about in mud or sail rafts in a big pool without a team of whistle-bearing life guards & without putting life-jackets on every student. Forget giving 4th graders hammers and real nails & forget about the teacher getting in the water with the kids. In comparison to this Japanese school, we do not seem to be so free after all.

  81. I'm so glad there are such wise, compassionate souls in the world. Those children are immensely fortunate.

    I feel like giving a copy of this to every single adult I know and saying 'THIS is maturity, THIS is compassion! Now why don't YOU have a go at it!'

  82. And I even misspelled my name.

  83. Correction: "... this is when I get quite warm somewhere just above your stomach." I meant my stomach of course.

  84. A true teacher

    I strongly recommend this documentary from the BBC, about a teacher who gives the kids something which is by any standard useful to them. Be prepared to shed a tear, beacuse the children are so touching, one must be made out of Roman concrete not to leak a bit while watching.

    I am particularly impressed by the children's independence and the teacher's perspective and wisdom. He gives the children tasks that they solve in defiance against his authority. He imposes an unfair punishment on a student to get them to defy him. It is precious!

    Later, he is impressed by their courage and eloquence, and this is when I get quite warm somewhere just above your stomach. I am also impressed by the children, but I am as much impressed by the fact that the teacher is impressed. It rings like a clear bell in my mind that he is impressed, though it's his own teaching that made it possible.

    That's how I can believe in the future: When teachers of his caliber run around freely, spreading the special form of light, he calls understanding: "I made the effort to make yourself understood and to understand others. A joint effort of understanding."

    It is so simple to say that it is almost not beautiful. But only almost. And he says things like that through out the film. The film won an award. The teacher, in my opinion, should have the Nobel Peace Prize.

    And his "method" - or rather philosophy, although not formulated as much as demonstrated - should be made known throughout the world for all teachers, principals, parents and anyone else in that order. That is probably why the movie won an award: it shows one possible path, personified by a single teacher's simple teaching, under the motto: "We are here to be happy. If one is unhappy, we're all unhappy."

    You bet your sushi we are!

    Sit back and enjoy!

  85. loving movie.. it did made me cry...
    Expression of human emotions - openly and trustfully - can be the ultimate freedom that we could hope for...
    Hope is just around the corner

  86. ..... i must say i am surprised the slang version of Japanese being edited surprised me; Guess it could be derogatory i apologize if it offends anyone :-(

    Peace, Love, and Harmony to all

  87. This is definitely on my top 10 documentary of all time.
    Reasons being
    1. New educational field that brings socially bright and understanding citizens to the world.
    2. Shows alot of the morality of human nature to a small developing mind when they are most impressionable. Which i think isn't being done enough today.
    3. Implementable into all parts of society across the world.
    4. The japs did it :-P

    "Because we look around us and see the absolute failure of religion and societal norms to bring about a healthy and productive person. Now we get to the deeper question, why if we see this failure do we perpetuate the same disease and ignorance that we always have? Is it simply to hard to change? Is it that we can not see how to get to that healthier place from where we are presently? I don’t know, I’m asking."

    My answer is that we don't have as much of a control over our governments as they would let us believe. More hurdles are put in place everyday to prevent the people to cause change; the government can simply bypass these hurdles. That and everyone lawsuit happy cause our monotheistic system is a disease on the impoverished. So its survival of the fittest to even *fit in* the society we are creating. Activism is the best stress reliever i can think of. Possibly the only remaining good one out there get involved... listen to others... spread the word... people = power. Oh yea and support things that are wholesome i would defiantly rally to see this in the US hands down.

    You won't find a solution by saying there is no problem.
    William Rotsler

    We can't solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.
    Albert Einstein

  88. Kanemori-san has certainly taken up the cross and lead the children to a greater self -awareness. Banzai! I'm sending this to all my contacts. ...because character counts. We need to share this.

  89. it is so beautiful to see a love filled man passing it on and teaching children how to love and care openly... this will only bring more of the same.... and in this world, we need more and more of openhearted love in an unselfish way..... i hope more and more people see this and are inspired to think of the happiness of those around them, and know if one person is not happy, then no one is really.... x maia

  90. This was an amazing movie and life lesson for the 10year olds in Kanamori sans class. It was a beautiful thing to see the compassion the kids showed for each other throughout the 2 years. They truly are very fortunate to have been given the gift of Kanamori san.

  91. As I'm studying to be a teacher this was a perfect example what teaching should be! Nowadays the studies are too much concentrated on the many traditional forms of teaching and leaving the student wondering which should be applied to a certain situation. I found this document more helpful than most of the lectures I've heard, totally recommending this to my fellow-students! It feels like Mr. Kanamori has been contemplating these issues for a while (e.g. Zen).

  92. This man deserves a nobel prize for peace. Such acts are what will really make a differense for a brighter future with more empathetic humans.

  93. Very nice doc. Highly recommended.

  94. I simply love the way he teaches the children!!

  95. beautiful and touching! 10/10

  96. I love this documentary. It would be nice when every country would have such a wise teacher. Everybody could learn how to teach children to be a better adult!!! We wouldn't have so many war and problem...

  97. I feel lucky to have had a teacher like Mr. Kanamori, but it wasn't until high school. He was my senior english teacher. Much like these students, he would have us write about a subject in the beginning of class. Sometimes the subjects were silly, sometimes philosophical, and sometimes emotional. And every Wednesday was free write. Than, if we wished to, a few students would share what they wrote and often it would start a class discussion. I can not even begin to count how many times these discussions would actually take up the entire period, but they were necessary in that they broke down walls. We made friends and learned what it was like to be in a different walk of life. We'd openly talked about religion, race, drugs, and sex, and we all felt safe to do so. Sometimes as classmates we would have strong disagreements, but our teacher never let us get out of control. He made us all question our morals and taught us to be good people. We also learned that what we thought to be different probably really wasn't all that different. In the end, we are all people. I always say that if it wasn't for him, I probably wouldn't have gone to college and held a 3.2 GPA. Heck, I may not have even graduated high school. Don't get me wrong, it's not like we never did any work and constantly just talked about feelings. It's just that how we act in society should at least be as important as where we are in society.

    We need more teachers like this. Teachers that are willing to step up and do more than just the bare minimum. I can't stand it when I hear a teacher complain (in jealousy?) about how a truly excellent teacher makes the rest of them seem bad; or how they can't be like that because they have 150+ students; or how it's not their responsibility to raise the students. I would like to tell them what these same teachers tell me when I complain about an assignment being too difficult to do: "That's just an excuse." It's an excuse to not do the human thing. We should all be taking care of each other rather than just our self-interests. I think one of the most important ways to do that is to teach our children how to be human, not animals.

  98. @ ez2b12 -
    Lamentably, I think you are spot on.

    I also thought of the parental lawsuit possibility. Not only for the kids sliding in mud, but remember when they were building their rafts - they were using real hammers and nails!!! Now they're even barring "unsafe" things from playgrounds, like "jungle jims."

    I wish I had the answers to the questions in your last paragraph. I can only offer guesses as to why western societies have fallen prey to a creeping fear...fear of our neighbors, fear of terrorists, fear of our institutions, fear of "the other." How is it that we are now crouching behind our four walls of our suburban houses, watching that boob tube for the latest scare...while a scant 65 years ago we were sending men off in droves to fight the greatest conflict in history?

    Well, maybe the latter question may be explained by Mark Twain - "It is curious that physical courage should be so common in the world and moral courage so rare." To me, the most remarkable point in the film came when the boy was standing up for his friend who was being disciplined by the teacher. That boy was demonstrating MORAL courage. At ten years old!!!

  99. Omg thats YODA!

  100. @ Druidia

    Unfortunately you are absolutedly right about the US not allowing this. The first thing they would freak about is the playing in the mud and jumping from creek banks, like thier kids are made of glass or something. But sure enough if you did this in the US someone would get hurt and sue the school and that would be the end of that. Plus like you said they would not allow this type of intrusion into thier kids life style. They would say this is the job of the parents and the school should just teach academics.

    Facts are though that the parents do not take this responsibility on at home, at least very few do, and in the end most kids here get this type of instruction through some religiouse indoctrination or not at all. Besides these lessons are best taught in a social context not at home in isolation. You must observe the child in a social context, like school, in order to see where they are lacking and how they will react to certain issues or stimuli.

    But here we distrust our own institutions to the point that we do not want them to shape our children socially- just educate them concerning academics. We seem to think that morality and social interaction should be shaped by religion or at least be guided by parents. Why is this? Why do we feel that the institutions we supposedly shaped through democratic processes should not be able to guide our children to healthy social and moral values? In my opinion it is because we know that our system is corrupted and breeding more corruption daily.

    Becuase we look around us and see the absolute failure of religion and societal norms to bring about a healthy and productive person. Now we get to the deeper question, why if we see this failure do we perpetuate the same desease and ignorance that we always have? Is it simply to hard to change? Is it that we can not see how to get to that healthier place from where we are presently? I don't know, I'm asking.

  101. This teacher and his students are testaments to the potential of human beings. It really acts to erode my middle-aged cynicism. This is what education should really be - teaching kids to realize their own innate happiness.

    I am wondering there something in the Japanese culture/character that permits this in school? Or, perhaps more importantly, permits their parents to allow such teaching?

    In my native country, the USA, I fear that parents would object to the teaching of such "touchy-feely" subjects as "religious indoctrination" (counter to their own religious beliefs). In other words, "just readin', writin', and "rithmetic."

  102. Corina, it translates:

    "The difference between a teacher and a master is that the lessons of the master are for life"

  103. How could I translate what I once heard...well, if any Portuguese or Brazilians out there could help me translate this PROPERLY:

    "A diferença entre um professor e um mestre é que as lições do mestre são para a vida"

    Just so you guys can comprehend a bit, basically, what I have just said is that a TRUE teacher's lessons are for life.
    Mr. Kanamori is a true teacher.

  104. I feel encouraged to know that there is at least one teacher, Mr. Kanamori on the planet who knows well how to foster the important life skills and inherent values that children need to learn and develop. What a wonderful role model he is. I just wish that my children could have had the opportunity to have been taught by this exemplary man. Kudos to you Mr are one in a million..God bless you!

  105. Easily the most important thing we can teach our children is self-awareness, how to cooperate/share with others, a desire to QUESTION THE STATUS QUO, and express critical thinking, but sadly the current education system clearly avoids this style of teaching, prefers to stimulate the false ego, with very little emphasis on critical thinking skills. Don't believe me, spend an afternoon in any school within the inner city.

    I think the education system is intentionally designed and intentionally underfunded to create assembly line workers with assembly line mentalities. Fit flap A into slot B, and receive your food pellet.

    The public school system is no more than a public control system.

  106. One of the most touching doc's I've ever seen. Tear jerker for sure, but, in the best way.

  107. Domo arigato Kanamori san

  108. I was an english teacher for 3 years in china, I never taught the children anything on the teaching plan, they are very strict to the children in china, and I didnt agree with this method, In stead I taught the children to dance, draw and to have lots of fun, there English improved dramatically.

  109. What a wonderful teacher and what great children. They will part ways but he will never really leave them. He planted something in their hearts that will grow into a lovely field of flowers.

  110. OOOOOOO....Sooooo touching!!!!
    Mr. Kanamori, you are soooo beautiful!
    Why can't this whole world be like you, and what you teach!
    You are EXTREMELY.....perfect!!

  111. oh man!! its like a breath of FRESH air for my soul. so relieving to see brothers doing something really relevant in peoples lives. this is a MUST OWN doc.

    Mr. Kanamori, you are right up there with the greats.

  112. This made my chest ache it was so beautiful!
    I am all for having kids be comfortable with emotions and understanding other people's feelings and learning it as young as possible.
    It would be fantastic if this sort of thing was taught in all schools. Sadly, Teachers... no, people like Mr. Kanamori are a rare find.

  113. Absolutely amazing why didn't I do the kind of things those kids did at school!

  114. A genuine teacher -- something all human beings and educators should aspire to in our lives. To open ourselves to our fullest human potential so that we can participate more fully in what it means to be HU-MAN.

  115. my greatest respect - i try to do the same!

  116. Isn't this a beautiful documentary. This guy should be the role model of every teacher and his program should be taught to every child. He obviousely teaches these children not only academics but social skills and healthy ways to look at yourself and change what you do not like. No wonder Japan is light years ahead of us in education. I can't say enough about how this documentary shows us the inadequecies of our own system. Thanks for posting this Vlatko, I knew you'd like it.
    I had decided to change my major from eudctaion (History teacher) to physics. Now I am thinking about staying with the physics but teaching as well. This documentary inspired that change of thought. The biggest draw back is the money situation though. Teachers don't make much where I live and by the time I get out of school i will owe a fortune in student loans. This type of decision is why i preach against unchecked capitolism so much. The system is set up so that we lose good teachers to this very delima. I'm not syaing I would have been some super teacher but I do have a passion for it. Besides this effects a lot of poeople not just myself. We have to start valueing teachers and education more in this country. We always complain that thier is no one to choose from in our elections- no wonder they where all educated here. So were the people that designed and perpetuate this diusfunctional system we call politics and government. If we want good selection of leaders in the future we must start valueing education in the present.

  117. prices in usa for college are insane
    i think u have a bether future raising your kids up in japan

  118. Toshiro Kanamori = TEACHER OF THE YEAR!! I can only hope someone so wise and caring will teach my kids.