Film being shot in Seattle will only be seen in Japan



Posted on April 24, 2010 at 5:45 PM

Updated Saturday, Apr 24 at 5:56 PM

SEATTLE - A major film is being made in Seattle, but you'll probably never see it. It's a 10-hour movie that will be shown only in Japan.

It first came to our attention earlier this week, when traffic slowed to a crawl on the West Seattle Bridge while crews were filming a scene.

"We're excited because they predict 10 to 20 million Japanese will see this movie," said Tom Ikeda, executive director of Densho: The Japanese American Legacy Project.

As an historian, he is delighted the special movie is being made.

"It's a clear signal that the Japanese are becoming more interested in Japanese-Americans," he said.

This will be the first time Japan has taken such an active role in depicting and telling the history of Japanese immigrants to America. It will be a fictionalized account of a Japanese immigrant and four generations spanning 100 years in America. A key component will be World War II and how Japanese-Americans were rounded up and placed in internment camps.

"But more than that they are also going to see American patriotism, I mean there were men who came out of the camps who volunteered for the US Army and fought and gave their lives in Europe and they are going to show all that and how they had to come back to places like Seattle and face racism, and again eventually integrate into society," said Ikeda.

He says interest in Japanese-Americans has grown in Japan, especially with so many successful descendents, from Apolo Ohno to former Microsoft executive and philanthropist Scott Oki.

"The Japanese are becoming aware that Japanese-Americans have done well in places like Seattle and they're frankly very curious how that's happening," said Ikeda.

The movie will only be shown in Japan, but you may catch a glimpse during the rest of filming in Seattle, which should take a few more weeks. The film crew is in Eastern Washington right now, but will return soon to Seattle to shoot some pivotal scenes in Pioneer Square.