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Significance of Symphony No. 9 to Japan cannot be underplayed

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Beethoven's Symphony No. 9, arguably the most popular classical choral symphony in Japan and now an integral part of the nation's year-end traditions, was first performed here on June 1 exactly 100 years ago.

The performers were German prisoners of war at a World War I POW camp in Tokushima Prefecture.

One POW wrote home to the effect, "The performance was a resounding success ... It filled me with indescribable peace and comfort."

About 1,000 German soldiers, captured during the Siege of Qingdao in China, were being held at the Bando POW camp in what is now the city of........

© The Asahi Shimbun