Religion: The Bell That Came Home

For 123 years the copper-hued tsurigane (hanging bell) of Tokyo's Nishi-arai Dai-shi Temple rang out over the city, its tone as rich as a mighty organ. When the temple survived the Tokyo earthquake of 1923, a superstition arose that the tsurigane was imperishable. Then, on an autumn day in 1943, a drab-colored Japanese army truck carted the half-ton tsurigane away to be melted down, with thousands of other Buddhist temple bells, into war scrap. The bell disappeared from sight, but its memory lingered.

At war's end, men of the U.S.S. Pasadena found it intact and undamaged among the scrap in the battered...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now


Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!