This gentle, sensitive Japanese drama features Hideko Takamine as a schoolteacher who begins her long career in 1927. The film follows the woman's progress through World War II and also traces the individual destinies of her first 12 pupils.
The emphasis is on the maintenance of traditional Japanese values in the face of an increasingly militaristic government and how the effort to remain loyal to those values affects the teacher, her husband, and her students. As everyone grows older, ideals are shattered and compromised, and beauty is subjugated to ugliness.
The film closes with an emotional reunion scene that evokes memories of similarly structured Hollywood historical dramas. Filmed in 1954, 24 Eyes was not released outside of Japan until 1957. Its U.S. premiere occurred in 1960; its television debut took place 14 years later on PBS.