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31 March 2015

Book: Germans living in Japan during the war time

I recently bought and read a very interesting book on Germans living in Japan during 1930's and 40's, when Japan was in war with China and the USA. The Japanese title is "Senjikano-Doitsujintachi." It illustrates very unique history between Japan and Deutchland.  

There were estimated over 3000 Germans living in Japan in that period. That is as much as number of Germans living in Japan now.

During that time Japan was allied with Nazi-Germany. But the German law did not apply. So Jews could live safely in Japan. Not only Jews but exiles did like a former judge who convicted Hitler in 1920's. Other European nations were too close to Nazi-Germany so anti-Nazi people escaped to Japan crossing the Russia.

For them, Japan was like a paradise. Japanese respect Germans because Germany was considered a civilized nation that Japan should model after and was indeed the most important ally for Japan.

Nazi influence was already there. Nazis established a branch in Japan, early 1930's. However, in order to arrest anti-Nazi German citizen, they needed to ask Japanese police to do that. The Japanese at that time did not get along with Nazi ideology, expecially anti-Jew stuff.

Japan and Nazi-Germany made a Cultural agreement that bans using Jew-related materials in education. But even in 1940's Heinrich Heine poems were taught in Japanese colleges. No Japanese could not see the difference between Jews and non-Jews.

The wife of Foreign minister of Japan at that time was Jewish German. Japan was reluctant to corporate with Nazis in terms of oppression on Jews.

Not only Jews and anti-Nazi Germans but Germans who had lived in Indonesia which was former Dutch colony came to Japan after they were freed by the Japanese military. Germans in Indonesia were put in internment camp after Germany invaded Netherland. They were welcomed as citizens in an allied nation.

Japanese praised Hitler as a good and powerful allied nation's leader but did not care about details of Nazis policies. The Japanese government at that time corporated with Germany mainly to counter the U.S.

But after Gemany surrendered in May 1945. Their situation was drastically changed. Japanese thought Germany betrayed them. Some were arrested as enemy spies.

I am thinking of writing a fiction novel based on these facts.

Where the story took place is in Karuizawa, Nagano prefecture, highland resort for high-society in 1945. But there were Germans staying to escape from air-raid in ciities.

Some were Jew or anti-Nazi and some are nazi-sympathizers or nazi-officials dispatched from their homeland. They got along with Japanese who welcomed them feeling complicated. Some were very thankful but at the same time not very happy because Japan was allied with Nazis and some thought Japanese were second-class people not being white.

I guess it is going to be very interesting. In order to write a good story, I am now learning Heine's poems. It may be a main topic of the story.

14 November 2014

Deutscher film "Ludwig II" Mad, kind and gay king

Biographic story of Bayern king in 19th century Deutschland (Germany).

A young Ludwig succeeded Bayern crown after sudden death of his father.

Unlike his father, he never liked war and loved music and art. He believed art and music could maintain the peace but at the same time he had to struggle with the reality of the world.

Ludwig admired a opera music composer, Wagner. He became a patron for him. He liked Wagner's most famous opera "Lohengrin." He was a romantist.

But his kingdom faced wars and its sovereignty was weakened by defeats of the wars.

Then he tried to escape from such harsh reality and in his late years he ordered to build his own imaginative castle Neuschwanstein. Neuschwanstain was modeled after the castle on "Loengrin" stage. In Japan it is famous for model of Cinderella castle in Tokyo Disneyland.

I visited Neuschwanstein in April, 1995. Before visiting the castle, I went to Ludwig's home castle nearby. Luckily I was the only visitor so I could speak with the local guide about Ludwig's life. She told me the relationship between his dynasty and commoners was not bad so there was no bloodshed revolts like France. I asked if Ludwig was gay. The guide just laughed. Actually he was and that thing was portrayed in the film.

history

It was of course, a taboo in his society at that time. He struggled with that thing as well.

Lesson of this biography is no one can avoid reality. We all have to deal with it. If you try to escape from it, in the end you will be like Ludwig.

But art and music are really important in our real life and energize us.

Wagner's "Lohengrin" and Neuschwanstein in fact became German's most glorious heritages. Ludwig indeed contributes to his nation even after his death.  

 

00:37 Posted in Art, Deutschland, Film, Music, Politics | Permalink | Comments (0) | Tags: history, gay

26 June 2013

German Film "Das Schönauer Gefühl" ATOMKRAFT? NEIN DANKE!

Recently I have become a big fan of Germany, Deutschland.

The documentary film I saw represents one aspect of that.

 

Germany has recently decided to terminate operation of all of nuclear power plants in their country until 2022.

German people started heated movement of non-nuclear policy after Chernobyl accident in 1986.

The film described non-nuke and self-sufficient power generation movement of people living in one small town, named Schonauer. After going through fierce battles with big power company and debates and referendums among localies, they established their own power generation system and company.

Germany is indeed very sophisticated society. German people are so enthusiastic about civil activities.

Since Fukushima accident, Japanese citizens are learning what Germans did and are doing.

I am one of student of German experiences.

Ich bin Deutsch!! Danke schonn!!

The below photo is me in German logo T shirt, that says "Nuclear? No Thank You."

nuclear

The below video is what I took at the anti-nuke event in September 2011. One German anti-nuke activist made a speech on the stage to tens of thousands of audience attending.

 

14 August 2011

Book: "Letters from Berlin" written by a Japanese woman who lived in West Germany during Chernobyl crisis

The book is letter format. A writer named Chikako Yamamoto's wrote her experience of life in West Germany during Chernobyl nuclear crisis between April 1986 and 1989.

During that time she lived in West Berlin. What she experienced had many similarities to my current life in Tokyo, or surprisingly even worse. Tokyo is 220 kilometers away from Fukushima, but West Berlin is 1200 km away from Chernobyl. But radioactives Germen had to deal with was the same or even worse than Fukushima. Is it because Chernobyl disaster was much worse and more wide-spread or what we've been told since Fukushima crisis was censored by the authorities?

The life in West Germany was dramatically changed since Chernobyl accident occurred. The newspaper was occupied by radioactive related matters.

In contrast as time passed by, people tried to adopt to such changed environment and not to pay attention to serious matters although food they ate had been kept contaminated.

West Germany at that time censored the reports on radioactives and supressed anti-nuke activities because at that time West Germany took pro-nuke policy. But some citizens stood up and started to fight against oppression.

Similar phenomenons have been happening here in Japan.

However, because this is quarter century after Chernobyl, we may have been a little wiser, I hope.

Japanese Prime Minister, Naoto Kan declared "Less dependency on nuclear energy" policy on August 6, the day of Hiroshima nuclear bomb day. It is like modeled after Germany's decision of abandoning all nuke plants in that country by 2012.

Now only 1 third of Japan's nuclear power plants are operated currently. No re-operation is scheduled at this point. Local governments of where nuke plants are located are very reluctant to OK re-operation. 

Japan's Parliament decided to pass the law that promotes more use of renewable energy, so called FIT (Feed in Tarrif). This is modeled after Germany's system as well.

We have to learn a lot from Germany's experience, like we did in the past such as imperial constitution and ground force military system in late 19th century and how to recover relationship with neighboring nations which we invaded during the second world war.

Deutschland, be our good model. Danke!