Journey to Japan–Part V in a Series of Guest Blogs by Columbia Filmmaker Wade Sellers

View of the China Sea from Ie Shima

(editor’s note:  Jasper loves it when the work of local artists takes them away from Columbia–as long as they come back home and are generous enough to share their adventures with us while we’re waiting on them. Local filmmaker Wade Sellers’ newest project has taken him to Japan where he’ll be working for the next ten days. Lucky for us, Wade has agreed to post a series of blogs detailing his journey and his work while away. This is thefifth post in that series.)


On paper, today looked lighter than the the other two. We were following Ted to where he first landed before fighting at Okinawa, Ie Shima island. Ie Shime island is located about seven miles off the northwest coast of Okinawa. To get there it is an hour and a half ride by car and a half hour ferry ride.


Filming at the Ernie Pyle memorial on Ie Shime island

Initially Ted expressed he really had no interest in going there. We had scheduled it primarily because there is a memorial to Ernie Pyle on Ie Shime. Ted had told us he was one of the last soldiers to see Ernie Pyle alive. Ernie Pyle was the famed reporter loved by the dog faced soldiers in Europe. Pyle then traveled to cover the war in the Pacific and was shot and killed by a sniper soon after he landed. “I saw him ride by me in a jeep and then I heard the shot that killed him” Ted shared with us.


Our purpose was going there with Ted was to put him in the first place he landed, set up artillery and prepared for Okinawa. We hoped this would jar his memory a bit and it did.


He was more excited about the Ernie Pyle memorial than we had expected. This will probably never make our film but it is great footage seeing him pay his respects to someone beloved by all soldiers in WW2.


Once he saw the land and seascape, which was more intact than the area he had fought on Okinawa, he began sharing stories of being constantly shot at by Japanese soldiers on the ridge above and finding Japanese families hiding in the caves below.


A view of the China Sea from inside a cave where Japanese families hid from US soldiers

We thought it was going to be an easy day, but after four hours of car and ferry rides and a hotter than normal week, it took it's toll on us and Ted. We filmed some great interview footage and B-roll but by the time we headed to the hotel, we were all toast. Maybe a good thing, because tomorrow is the reason for our trip.

Our driver taking a break


Two marines who volunteer at the Battle of Okinawa historical society say they have found the exact area that Ted fought at Ishimini Ridge. MW.