“The Kids Diner” (Kodomo Shokudo)
Has Won the 44th Japan Catholic Film Award
A movie drama, “The Kids Diner” (Kodomo Shokudo) 2019, directed by Dir. Taro Hyuugaji, has won the 44th Japan Catholic Film Award. Its Award Ceremony and Screening was scheduled on June 6, 2020, at Nakano Zero large hall in Tokyo. (Due to the COVID-19, we are forced to cancel this event, and will have a small ceremony and a talk between Dir. Hyuugaji and Fr. Haresaku, SIGNIS Japan advisory priest, privately in July.)
The movie depicts from the children’s eyes why today we need to have kids diners. The Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare says now in Japan one out of six children are under poverty. Children should be the future and hope of our society. Nevertheless, children are the victims of our social maladjustments. You cannot miss this drama. This will surely make you think on the poverty of the children.
Yuto, the 6th grade, lives with no difficulty for food. His parents run a small diner in downtown. One day he happens to see two girls living in a mini-wagon in the dry riverbed. Abandoned by their parents, the small sisters cannot eat well nor go to school. Yuto cannot leave them as it is, but he does not know what to do. “You, adults, see them, but do nothing about it!” shouts the boy to his parents. Those words are also directed to himself, unable to help them and frustrated. But later overcoming his worries, he starts to act. The viewers’ hearts will be pierced with the painful glances between Yuto and the sisters.
To Such Belongs the Kingdom of God
By Fr. Peter Masahide Haresaku, Advisory Priest of SIGNIS Japan
A well-known episode in the New Testament struck me while contemplating to express my deep emotions on the film “The Kids Diner” (Kodomo Shokudo). People were bringing little children to Jesus in order that he might touch them; and the disciples spoke sternly to them. But when Jesus saw this, he was indignant and said to them, “Let the little children come to me; do not stop them; for it is to such as these that the kingdom of God belongs (Mt. 10:13-14, NRSVCE).
Why the disciples rebuked them? They feared the children might interrupt the lectures and activities of their master. They thought it was thoughtless to bring children to adults doing important work! But can we, adults, say the world we built is so beautiful? Now we need to realize that it is children who teach us the essential matters at any ages.
We see a huge concrete bridge in this film. The adults walking on it never pay any attention to those who are below it. Children, however, see deceptions and contradictions in the world with their clear eyes. I could not hold my tears when I watched the transparent gaze of the boy, the main character, looking at a piece of pork cutlet on his dinner dish and remembering the girls below the bridge. This gaze is truly needed nowadays.
Yes, the kingdom of God belongs to such people. We must learn from those children. How wonderful it would be, if anyone gives a piece of cutlet to a hungry child like this boy? To such film, bearing a power to transform the world to the kingdom of God, belongs the Japan Catholic Film Award.