It's surprising that there is little mention in English about Masahiro Shinoda's late classic, Childhood Days (1990), which won the Japanese Academy Awards Best Film distinction for that year. It is a pretty straight forward memory of youth/coming of age film that seems stylistically less adventurous than the films he was making in the 60s and 70s. However, it is a poignant story in its own right. It is the story of a boy Shinji (Testuya Fujita) who is sent to Toyama to stay with relatives during WWII to avoid the air strikes that will inevitably rain down on Tokyo. While in Toyoma he faces bullying and must try to fit in with the unfamiliar country way of life. At school he faces bullying from the class captain Ohara (Yuji Horioka), but at home in private the two bond over their fondness for stories and reading. In fact one of the ways he is bullied is by entertaining the ragtag band of boys with stories remembered from books read. Thus, the bully has two sides-he's not just a sadistic meglomaniacal tyrant liek in most movies of this nature. However, the boys are not unlike those from Lord of the Flies, once power is shifted from Ohara to the old class second, Sudo (Noritake Kobinata) the terror and bullying continues. This film seems as though it may have been inspiration for another coming of age story set in the countryside that appeared in 1996, Yoichi Higashi's Village of Dreams. Needless to say, Shinoda was still capable of creating compelling cinema even in his late period. (He is sitll living but hasn't directed a film since 2003's Spy Sorge).