Tuesday, April 7, 2009

New documentary tells the story of Japanese temple bells during WW2

by Chris MaGee

Everyone knows I love documentaries, so I was really happy to see an extended trailer for a fascinating looking one posted over at Japanator this morning. Titled "Resonance: The Odyssey of the Bells" it literally follows the story of the temple bell donated by the people of Ohara-Isumi, a town 50 miles south of Tokyo to the Japanese war effort during WW2. With it's resources severely depleted during the final days of the war the Japanese government conducted widespread scrap metal drives, and the citizens of Ohara-Isumi felt that the most meaningful donation they could make would be their centuries old bell from the local Buddhist temple. After Japan surrendered in 1945 the American occupying forces discovered the bell and sent it back to the United States where it was put on display in Duluth, Minnesota. It was in the early 50's when the people of Ohara-Isumi discovered that their temple bell had not been melted down and turned into bomb or shells casings that they contacted the mayor of Duluth to try and arrange a return of the bell, which in fact took place in 1954. Due to this momentous exchange Duluth and Ohara-Isumi declared themselves sister cities in 1990.

The behind-the-scenes story of "Resonance: The Odyssey of the Bells", which is an official selection of this year's Minneapolis St. Paul International Film Festival (April 15-28th), is just as interesting as what's ended up onscreen. Resonance Films, the makers of the half hour documentary have been trying to raise funds to complete what they feel is the full 55-minute version and have a link on their website through which donations can be made. If after you've checked out this nearly 10-minute preview of the film you feel like digging into your pockets to help the producers complete their film then head over their official website and you can do just that.

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