Treasures of "Naruto-Daiku"

Concert of Beethoven's Ninth Symphony

In commemoration of the first full performance of Beethoven's Ninth Symphony in all of Asia on June 1st, 1918 by German POWs while they were incarcerated in the Bando POW camp during World War I, the first concert of Beethoven's Ninth in Naruto was held during the opening of the city's Culture Hall in 1982 during which many citizens participated. Since then, the first Sunday of June has become the annual date of every concert which nowadays can boast a huge choir of 600 people from all of Japan, but also participants from overseas.

Homepage of the NPO "Singing the Ninth in Naruto" Association (only in Japanese)

32nd Concert of Beethoven's Ninth Symphony (2013)
 ▲32nd Concert of Beethoven's Ninth Symphony (2013)

"Naruto's Ninth" at the Art Museum

This concert of the "Ninth" has been held at the Otsuka Museum of Art's Sistine Hall, an exact reconstruction of the Sistine Chapel in Vatican City, every year since 2011. Following the annual concert of the "Ninth" on the first Sunday in June, the Otsuka Museum of Art, as one of Japan's best museums, turns itself into a concert hall, to the delight of both the participants and the audience.

Homepage of the Otsuka Museum of Art (Japanese & English available)

During the first concert "Naruto's Ninth" at the Otsuka Museum of Art
 ▲During the first concert "Naruto's Ninth" at the Otsuka Museum of Art

Sister-city relationship to the German city of Lüneburg

A tradition of salt production, beautiful sightseeing spots and a similar population are just a few of the points that Naruto City shares with its German sister-city Lüneburg. Since both cities signed the agreement in April 1974, friendship delegations have been sent regularly every year and introduced many citizens to the respective sister-city. This friendship continues to this day and has even come to include younger generations as delegation members have seen developments in a fruitful and artistic cultural exchange.

Naruto's 20th Friendship Delegation during their visit in Lüneburg
 ▲Naruto's 20th Friendship Delegation during their visit in Lüneburg

Lüneburg's 19th Friendship Delegation during their visit in Naruto
 ▲Lüneburg's 19th Friendship Delegation during their visit in Naruto

Find out more about the sister-city relationship (only in Japanese)

Cosmos Friendship Festival in Naruto City

The Cosmos Friendship Festival is one month long, beginning in early October and lasting until the beginning of November. Many volunteers plant cosmos seeds to bloom everywhere in the city, a tradition connected to the Bando POW camp, in which German POWs are said to have planted many cosmos. The festival features more than 40 cosmos fields for people to visit. During the festival month, volunteers open up tents for visitors to take a break and enjoy tea. During the years when the friendship delegations from Lüneburg visit, there is also a ceremony where the delegation gives cosmos seeds as gifts from Germany.

During the Cosmos Friendship Festival
 ▲During the Cosmos Friendship Festival

Group picture during the Cosmos Friendship Festival
 ▲Group picture during the Cosmos Friendship Festival

Find out more about the Cosmos Friendship Festival (only in Japanese)

Naruto German House

The original Naruto German House opened in 1972 to give its visitors an introduction on the history of the Bando POW camp that existed during World War I. At the same time, it also functioned as a hub for the then still growing international exchange in Naruto. In 1993, the exhibition moved into a newer and bigger building that is nowadays known as the Naruto German House.

Its exhibition features a plethora of valuable documents from the Bando POW camp. Besides the display, the museum also uses video projections, diorama installations and a robotic theatre to give an idea what life in Bando was like.

Homepage of the Naruto German House (available in Japanese & German)

During the 13th concert of Beethoven's Ninth Symphony in front of the German House
 ▲During the 13th concert of Beethoven's Ninth Symphony in front of the German House

Statue of Beethoven

This statue of the famous Beethoven was built by the German sculptor Peter Kuschel to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the incorparation of Naruto as a city in 1997. The wall behind the statue features memorial pictures taken during the concerts of the Ninth Symphony in Naruto at the 85th and the 95th anniversaries of the first full performance of the "Ninth" in Asia in 1918.

Statue of Beethoven
 ▲Statue of Beethoven

The Bell of Bando

Built by Naruto City as a symbol for everlasting peace and Japanese-German friendship, this bell tower sits on top of a mountain at 120m. The construction of the Bell was aided by many donations from former POWs, their families and many other people involved in the Japanese-German friendship. With the help of the German Chambers of Industry and Commerce in Japan, the Federation of German Industry organized the molding of the bell itself that was later shipped to Naruto with the aid of the German airline, Lufthansa.

The Bell of Bando
 ▲The Bell of Bando

Naruto City Kagawa Toyohiko Museum

Located just around the corner of the German House, this museum introduces its visitor to the story of the Japanese pacifist Toyohiko Kagawa (1886-1960), who is often mentioned in tandem with personalities like Gandhi and Albert Schweitzer for his humanitarian efforts. In his work, Kagawa tried to help the poor and the weak by starting social and welfare movements and building workers associations grounded in Christian beliefs of peace.

The outside of the museum was modeled after the "German Pasture", also known as the "Funamoto Pasture", that some of the German POWs built with local Japanese farmers during World War I. The pasture was used to introduce knowledge about pig farming and dairy production to the local population. Kagawa himself was no stranger to agriculture, as he helped open agricultural schools after World War II.

Homepage of the Naruto City Kagawa Toyohiko Museum (only in Japanese)

Naruto City Kagawa Toyohiko Museum
 ▲Naruto City Kagawa Toyohiko Museum

Roadside Station "Home of the Ninth"

The building of the roadside station "Home of the Ninth" (Jap.: daiku-no-sato) uses original parts and materials from the ceiling of one of the baracks, where German POWs lived in during their stay at the Bando POW camp. The baracks have also been recognized as importal material cultural assets by the state of Japan. Visitors of this roadside station can not only buy various local products of Naruto City, but also taste some sausage specialities just like in Germany.

Homepage of the roadside station "Home of the Ninth"

The roadside station "Home of the Ninth"
 ▲The roadside station "Home of the Ninth"

German Park (Site of the former Bando POW camp)

This park was built on the former grounds of the Bando POW camp to offer a place of recreation and relief to the citizens of Naruto. At its entrance, one can find a gate reminiscent of the entrance gate to the POW camp. The foundation stones of some of the old barracks and other buildings can still be found today.

Entrance to the German Park
 ▲Entrance to the German Park

Cenotaph built by the German POWs

In the Northern area of the park, visitors can find two cenotaphs. The smaller and older one was built in 1919 by the German POWs of Bando before leaving the camp. The bigger and newer one was built in 1976 and commemorates all the German POWs who died during their incarceration. The original cenotaph was important to the revival of the local Japanese-German friendship and is therefore a symbolic representation of this friendship.

The new cenotaph built to honor the memory of all German POWs who died during Japanese incarceration
 ▲The new cenotaph built to honor the memory of all German POWs who died during Japanese incarceration

Old cenotaph, built by the German POWs from Bando
 ▲Old cenotaph, built by the German POWs from Bando

Red Cross Monument

The Red Cross Monument was unveiled in September 2011 by the prefectural chapter of the Japanese Red Cross. Set in the northern part of the German Park, this monument honors the memory of the German POWs with the words "in honor of universal humanity and benevolence". This engraving refers to the historical fact that the German POWs of Bando, even though plagued themselves by a lot of hardships, still found the energy to organize a charity concert for their German comrades who were held in the Siberian Vladivostok.
The connection to the Red Cross can be found in the program for the concert. This poster can be seen at the monument as well and reminds us of the humanitarian spirit that existed in Bando.

Red Cross Monument
  ▲Red Cross Monument

German Bridge & Glasses' Bridge

These two bridges can be found just behind the main building of the Oasa Hiko Shrine and were constructed by the German POWs from Bando. They are said to be a symbolic sign of gratitude towards the local population.

Glasses' Bridge
 ▲Glasses' Bridge

German Bridge
 ▲German Bridge

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