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Plan of the camp in 1917

German Bridge, built by the prisoners of Bandō during their captivity

The Bandō POW camp (板東俘虜収容所 Bandō Furyoshūyōsho?) was a prisoner-of-war camp during World War I in what is now Naruto, Tokushima Prefecture, Japan. From April 1917 to January 1920, just under a thousand of the three thousand nine hundred German soldiers captured at Tsingtao in November 1914 were imprisoned at the camp. When the camp closed in 1920, sixty-three of the prisoners chose to remain in Japan.[1]

Orchestra[edit | edit source]

During their internment the prisoners formed an orchestra which performed over a hundred concerts between 1917 and 1920, including at nearby Ryōzen-ji.[1][2] On 1 June 1918 the prisoners mounted the first performance of Beethoven's Ninth Symphony in the country. This event is the origin of the popularity of the symphony in Japan, performed numerous times at the end of each year, and is celebrated annually with a concert at the Naruto Bunka Kaikan on the first Sunday in June.[3][4]

German House[edit | edit source]

The Naruto Doitsu-kan (鳴門市ドイツ館?) museum opened in 1972 to exhibit related items. In 1974 Naruto was twinned with Lüneburg in Germany and the subsequent accession of further materials necessitated the move to new premises. A new building near the former camp opened in 1993.[5]

See also[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

External links[edit | edit source]

Further reading[edit | edit source]

Burdick, Charles (1984). The German Prisoners-of-War in Japan 1914-20. Rowman & Littlefield. ISBN 978-0-8191-3761-6. 

Coordinates: 34°09′N 134°30′E / 34.15°N 134.5°E / 34.15; 134.5

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