The International Friendship Bell, 8,000 pounds of bronze cast with images that symbolize the peace and friendship shared by Japan and Oak Ridge, Tennessee. We are embarking on an adventure to build a new structure for this massive landmark. The vision is to house the International Friendship Bell in a Peace Pavilion. This new design will bring a larger plaza around the bell and pavilion, making it a site for gathering, thoughtful reflection, and observing the bronze work of art.
Though World War II divided this country and Japan, two Oak Ridge citizens suggested the Japanese-style bell as a symbol of unity as Oak Ridge, born of the war, celebrated its 50th birthday in 1992-93. Ram and Shigeko Uppuluri, he from India and she from Japan, envisioned the bell as a fitting birthday memorial and as a monument to the reconciliation and peace that blossomed after the war. Their vision led to a bronze bell, nearly seven feet tall and five feet wide, designed by an Oak Ridge artist and cast by a family foundry in Kyoto, Japan. The Uppuluri family remains passionately committed to housing the bell in a new Peace Pavilion, actively participating in the citizens committee pursuing these plans. With a new Manhattan Project National Park coming to Oak Ridge, the International Friendship Bell and Peace Pavilion will be among significant sites for tours by visitors coming to Oak Ridge to learn more of the city’s history. The bell will carry the message of peace and international friendship into the future. In the words of Alvin Weinberg, a noted nuclear physicist and advocate for the bell, the bronze monument “will last 1,000 years.”