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.
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 displaying the bell in the Peace Pavilion, located in A.K. Bissel Park.
The International Friendship Bell and Peace Pavilion is among the significant sites for tours by visitors coming to Oak Ridge to learn more of the city’s history and to experience the sights within the Manhattan Project Historical National Park. Visitors are welcome to ring the bell anytime as a reminder of peace and unity.
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.”