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by Bob Kerstetter
If you saw the 2009 movie Harimaya Bridge, you may recognize this short span in Kochi City, Japan.
Constructed as a private bridge over a river in the 1600s, it became public because of its heavy use by locals.
The true love story involves a Buddhist priest and young woman who fell for each other. His sect prohibited such relationships. They were discovered when someone saw him buying her a hairpin at a shop near the bridge. They were banished to separate locations, never to see each other again.
Today, the small bridge is a symbol of this city on the Japanese island of Shikoku. The statue in front of the bridge memorializes the love story. Look closely and you can see the hairpin.