“An American Piano” a short film by your truly in pre-production

Me and Mrs. Koshida
(L-R) Mrs. Koshida’s Daughter, Mrs. Koshida, Me, Mrs. Taeko Sasamoto, Mrs. Yoshiko Tamura

This is the most personal of the films I’m working on. It’s the true story of a young girl during the Second World War in Japan. It is a very different kind of story, than the one that usually gets told. Paul Leeming is on board as Director, and I am Writer/Producer. We just recently filmed Mrs. Koshida, the woman the film is based on, play the real (titular) piano. We are aiming to film the rest of it in December.

I stumbled onto this story while doing research for my feature film based on a similar topic. As soon as I heard her story, I knew that I had to make a film about it. Her story has been featured in a Piano magazine, and on Local TV in Japan, but with this short film, I hope that we can tell her story to the rest of the world. At least, those are my humble plans!


3 thoughts on ““An American Piano” a short film by your truly in pre-production

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  1. Dear Hamish,
    This is Michael Hurst Director of the Taiwan POW Camps Memorial Society in Taipei – http://www.powtaiwan.org. I stumbled across your blog and thought I had better contact you if you are going to make a film on the Taiwan / Kinkaseki camp. The paragraph about the POWs escaping and the locals helping them is 100% untrue. I don’t know where you got this info from, but after studying the Taiwan POWs’ story for the past 17 years, I can vouch for that.

    If you want help with the facts about the camps, then please get in touch with me and I’ll see what I can do to help. BTW – Taeko Sasamoto and I are good friends, so if you need a reference, talk to her. Looking forward to hearing from you and I hope you haven’t made that film yet!


    Michael Hurst MBE
    Director, Taiwan POW Camps Memorial Society

    1. Dear Michael,

      Thank you again for giving the information, both back in the email in February 2012 and here on my blog.

      I think you might have your wires crossed. “An American Piano” is a short film based on a true story in Japan. At the time I contacted you, I was working on a different film, a work of fiction based on the POW experience. At the time I was looking for a location to shoot that film, but as you mentioned, there are virtually no surviving camps in existence. As such, the production became too expensive to produce, and we moved on to making Mrs Koshida’s story, whom I met thanks to Taeko Sasamoto.

      The original script was transformed into a feature script which is based on the experiences in Thailand building the railway.

      When I said in the blog entry, “Dogs with Jobs”, which is the entry that I think you are referring to, that the Taiwanese people helped the POWs escape. It was something that I had read at a memorial site in Taipei. I should have qualified the statement that no POW survived any escape attempt. I apologise if I caused you any distress. The last thing I ever plan on doing if I get to make that film, is to falsify the POW experience. There are too many films out there which do that already.

      Thank you again for your comment,


      Hamish Downie

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