Explore The International Friendship Bell

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.”

“The Friendship Bell is Oak Ridge”

“The International Friendship Bell is a thing of beauty with a tremendously pleasant sound. The large sense of presence it exhibits when one stands by it is impressive to say the least. When you have experienced the Oak Ridge International Friendship Bell, you will remember it somberly, yet it has a brightness of life that sticks with you after you leave as well. It recognizes the awful nature of war, yet stresses the value of peace! The Bell is Oak Ridge! Our symbol of Peace, our symbol of a future being created by the ever increasing scientific and technological advances that benefit the world!”

– Ray Smith, Friendship Bell Historian