"すべての人々は兄弟となる" – "All men become brothers"
On the first Sunday in December, ten thousand Japanese people gather to sing Beethoven's 9th symphony together. Yet, a little more than 100 years ago, nobody would have thought that a German artist could become so successful in Japan...
Map of the entire colony area, printed in BandoBeethoven-House Bonn
German influence in China
In 1897 German soldiers landed in China. They built a naval port in the Bay of Kiatchou, from which they wanted to increase German influence in East Asia. In their luggage: the music of Ludwig van Beethoven.
Night's rest: One slept on rice straw mats on the floor, the furniturewere pulled under the ceiling.Beethoven-House Bonn
Japanese prisoners of war
When World War I broke out in 1914, Japanese soldiers captured the German base and took almost five thousand prisoners. The Japanese believed that the war would end quickly. The prisoners were housed in temples and public buildings.
Marugamer Musikkapelle conducted by the violinist Paul EngelBeethoven-House Bonn
A lot of free time
Since the prisoners did not have to work, they devoted themselves to sport - and music. The violinist Paul Engel even founded his own chapel in the Marugame Temple Camp.
Concert from 10.12.1916Beethoven-House Bonn
Beethoven for the prisoners of war
On 10 December 1916 there was even a whole symphony concert in the camp. The program included Beethoven's 2nd piano concerto.
Main gate to the warehouse with the characteristic arc lampBeethoven-House Bonn
End of the provisional arrangement
When it became clear that the war would last longer, the Japanese moved their prisoners to larger camps. The picture shows the entrance to the Bando camp, where about a thousand prisoners were held. Because the place was far away from a large port, the danger of escape was low.
POW officers, Japanese camp officers and a Japanese interpreterBeethoven-House Bonn
Bringing together two cultures
The commandant also administered the camp in a humane and liberal manner. There was lively contact between German and Japanese soldiers and the rural population. Sports and music were used to get to know each other's culture.
"Music Seminar Paul Engel" - Engel with his Japanese students<Original Source: Deutsches Haus NarutoDeutsches Haus Naruto
Music lessons on free time
The soldier Paul Engel gave music lessons in the camp and was also allowed to teach Japanese pupils outside the camp twice a week.
Tour guide through the prisoner of war camp Bando, JapanBeethoven-House Bonn
Camp with six music ensembles
When new prisoners entered the camp, the old inmates printed a guide to help the new arrivals get started. In it they talked about two orchestras with 45 musicians each, two brass bands and two choirs with 60 singers each.
Concert of 9.12.1917 with Prometheus OvertureBeethoven-House Bonn
Music against the "camp fever"
During the approximately 32 months of captivity in Bando, more than one hundred concerts, chamber music, song and entertainment evenings took place. Beethoven was on the program at more than half of the "serious" symphony concerts.
Concert of 1.6.1918 with the complete 9th SymphonyBeethoven-House Bonn
First performance of the Ninth Symphony
More than 80 men spent months rehearsing Beethoven's "Ode to Joy". On 1 June 1918 the time had finally come and the Ninth Symphony was played in Barrack 1 of the Bando camp - for the first time in Japan.
Last issue of the camp newspaper of the barrack camp in BandoBeethoven-House Bonn
On 30 December 1919 the captivity of the German soldiers ended. From Kobe, they left Japan and reached Wilhelmshaven almost two months later.
Tokushima OrchestraBeethoven-House Bonn
Beethoven has remained
The concert programs and scores of the German soldiers have remained in Japan. Through performances outside the camps they spread throughout the country.
Tokushima Orchestra and Choir with Hermann Richard HansenBeethoven-House Bonn
Only in the 1960s did the former prisoners resume contacts with Japan. In 1972, they founded the "Deutsches Haus Naruto" as a museum and place of remembrance. Every year on 1 June, Beethoven's Ninth Symphony is played here - as a sign of international understanding.