The photograph above is of Nyokodo, the small hut where Dr. Takashi Nagai and his children lived after his city was destroyed. Ian Higgins, and others from Major Oak Entertainment, spent 10 days in Nagasaki and environs interviewing folks, and filming scenes for the film about Dr. Nagai’s experience in the aftermath of that cataclysmic event.
But they came away from the trip with more than they bargained for too. For example, they quickly realized the the story is larger than just Dr. Nagai’s but instead is about the faith of the Japanese Christians that survived him. On a trip to Nara, they met up with Fr. Paul Glynn, author of A Song for Nagasaki. While in Nara, they visited a parish and I’ll let Ian tell about the experience in his own words,
We’ve had many wonderful experiences working on our previous films, but nothing compares to the welcome we received in Nara. On our first night we had a welcome dinner of Traditional Japanese food with Fr. Glynn and the men of “The Glynn club” washed down with Japanese beer and sake. Unfortunately we had to cut the night a little short as we had to conduct one of our main interviews – with Fr. Glynn!
The next morning we were up bright and early to film the Sunday mass, where many of the parishioners had agreed to dress in traditional Kimonos, and in the case of the women, wearing white veils also.
I don’t think any of us has ever heard hymns sung in such perfect harmony as we did in that mass in Nara. There is something very special and pure about the faith of the Japanese Christians we’ve come across in our research, a deep sincerity, which is both humbling and inspiring at the same time, and this is what we witnessed during that mass.
During the service, Mrs. Okada, a local soprano sung “The Bells of Nagasaki” – the theme song to the original 1950 movie based on the life of Dr. Nagai. The performance was stunning and this was among the most emotional moments of our trip…
Speaking on behalf of Major Oak Entertainment, director Ian Higgins addressed the parishioners, “We came to Japan to tell the story of one man, Dr. Nagai, but now, we realise this is the story of everyone in this church, of every Japanese Christian who ever lived. It is a story of a faith that survived against the odds, a faith that stands as an example to the rest of the world.”
Check out this surprise they received too,
Neat! Head on over to the production blog to read the rest of the story and to see the photographs taken on the trip. Thanks again to all the readers who helped make this trip possible by contributing to the All That Remains fundraising campaign.