By Gregory Crofton
“Made in Japan,” a 90-minute documentary film narrated by Elijah Wood, took 11 years to bring to the screen. It played twice this week at the Nashville Film Festival and both screenings were followed by a live performance by the star of the film Tomi Fujiyama, a country music artist from Japan.
Her charm and love of country music is irresistible. “Made in Japan” was long in the making because it was independently funded, according to director Josh Bishop and producers Josh Diamond and Jason Diamond who attended a post-screening Q & A at the festival.
Bishop said he discovered Fujiyama’s wild ride of having played the Grand Ole Opry as a child after he caught her show in Japan in 2004. Fujiyama invited him back to her home to talk about the trip she took to Nashville in 1964 to play the Opry at Ryman Auditorium, a performance that received a standing ovation.
“Made in Japan” is a thorough biographical doc focused on Tomi actively pursing her dream to play the Grand Ole Opry one more time. The film also examines the history of the classic AM radio station, WSM, the state of country music, and how the business has become a corporate affair.
To learn more about “Made in Japan” and Tomi, you can visit the official website for the film here.
Update: “Made in Japan” won Grand Jury Prize for Best Import in Gibson Music Films/Music City Competition at the Nashville Film Festival.