During W W II the Japanese Imperial Army planned to construct a railway between Thailand and Burma to supply weapons and materials for the invasion of India, as a part of "the Imphal Operation." The British soundly defeated the Japanese at Imhal in 1944. www.historylearningsite.co.uk/world-war-two/the-pacific-war-1941-to-1945/the-battle-of-imphal-1944/
Some 62,000 British, Australian, Dutch and American POWs and more than 250,000 Asian laborers were recruited to build the railway. During the construction, hard work, torture, malnutrition and disease claimed the lives of 13,000 POWs and more than 50,000 Asian workers. Takashi Nagase
(1918-2011) witnessed this misery through his task as an interpreter for the military police in Kanchanaburi. Following Japan's surrender, the Allied Forces asked him to join the war-grave search teams. "The Rainbow over the River Kwai",
is a part of Nagase's
devotion to atonement, reconciliation and attempts to make peace with those who were conscripted to work on the infamous death train.
, accompanied by his wife Yoshiko
, made his first post-war pilgrimage to Thailand in 1964 as part of a trip for ordinary Japanese citizens. He organized the reunion of western ex-POWs and Japanese veterans in 1976. He also expressed his sincere gratitude to Thai people, as Thai government gave rice and sugar to each of about 120,000 Japanese soldiers who shipped back to Japan in 1946.
He established the River Kwai Peace Foundation to give scholarships to Thai students in Kanchanaburi. He made 135 pilgrimages to Thailand throughout his lifetime. This documentary focuses on the last 20 years of Nagase's
life. Sometimes he faced cruel rejection, but other times he shook hands with ex-POWs. There was a notable reunion with Eric Lomax
, well known author of a best-selling nonfiction book which was made into a moving film, "The Railway Man"
featuring Collin Firth
, Nicole Kidman
and Hiroyuki Sanada
. The documentary highlights Nagase's
ties with Thai people for whom he cared and details his conscience, honesty, and sincerity.
Profile of the director : Yasuhiro Mitsuda
Director Yashhiro Mitsuda
was born in Kagawa, Japan in 1961, and he majored in jurisprudence and politics at Kyoto University. He began working at Setonaikai Broadcasting Corporation (KSB) in 1984, and has passionately reported on environmental problems of Seto Inland Sea, fish industries, local people's physical hardships and personal experiences of war veterans. KSB covers Okayama and Kagawa prefectures between Osaka and Hiroshima and the western part of Japan.
was an interpreter for Japanese Imperial Army, who lived in Kurashiki city in Okayama. He started reporting in 1991 and visited Kanchanaburi, Thailand seven times. He made eight TV documentaries about him and Thai-Burma Railway, a number of which received prizes including awards from The Japan Commercial Broadcasters. Nagase
founded the River Kwai Peace Foundation in 1986 and he became one of its directors in 2012. The foundation gives scholarship to Thai students every year. Nagase
requested that his ashes and those of his wife, Yoshiko
, be carried to the River Kwai, the location of his 2011 funeral.
Foreign Correspondents' Club of Thailand
Penthouse, Maneeya Center Building
518/5 Ploenchit Road (connected to the BTS Skytrain Chitlom station)
Patumwan, Bangkok 10330
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