It is a story about the start of the Japanese custom of playing Beethoven's Ninth Symphony at Christmas. The story is written for children. Most of the pictures were drawn by children from the Bando Elementary School in Bando, Japan. A few are by Nathan Bartley, a Canadian artist. This story was put on the Internet on Christmas Eve, 1995. It is a Christmas present to the children of the world.
Enemies! Eighty years go, Germany and Japan were enemies in World
War One. They fought each other in China. This is the story of two
young men. One was from Japan, the other was from Germany. Their
countries were at war, but music helped them to be friends. This story
is a heartfelt present. It is for all the peace-loving children of the world.
We want to use the Internet to bring peace to the world.
"Get out!" A Japanese army car stopped in front of a Prisoner of War camp in
Japan. A young German soldier got out of the car. His name was George. He
was a@prisoner. This was his second prison camp.
George looked around. He saw tall mountains standing over fields and small
wooden houses. The air was cold. He felt refreshed. Before the war, he had
studied to become a symphony conductor. Then he went into the army. He
fought the Japanese in China. The Japanese Army won the battle and took him
prisoner. "Get moving!" A Japanese soldier shouted at him to go into the POW camp. "Alright, alright!" George felt
angry about the soldier's attitude. He hated being pushed around. He answered
back, "Who do you think you are?" The Japanese soldier shouted at him. Then he started to hit George.
"Wait a second! What's going on here?" a young Japanese man said to
the soldier. "Violence is not allowed in this Prisoner Of War camp. Would
you like me to report you to the warden of the camp?"
"I am sorry." the Japanese soldier said.
"Well, good," the young man said to the soldier. Then he turned to
George. "Let me show you in." The young man walked through the gate.
He was tall and strong but he was gentle. George followed him.
"Thank you for saving me from being hit," said George.
"That was nothing. It is a troubled world that we live in. But you can relax now. You're safe here. My name is Kenji.
Here, let me carry that for you." He took the bag George was carrying. They walked together through the camp.
"Nice to meet you. I'm George.""I know," the young man said. "I hear you conducted
an orchestra before the war. I'm an interpreter and care-taker at this POW camp."
Kenji turned to George and smiled. "Please ask for me if you need any help." That
was the first smile George had seen in Japan.
"This camp is called the Bando Prisoner's Camp. It is in the town of Bando in Naruto
City in Tokushima Prefecture. A prefecture in Japan is like a state in Germany or in
the USA." Kenji started to show George around the camp.
He pointed at one of the buildings. It was very nice. It looked out of place in a POW
camp. "What's that?" George asked. "That's the bowling alley," Kenji replied.
George couldn't believe his ears. Who built a bowling alley in a POW camp?
"Do the local people go bowling?" George asked. "No, it's for the prisoners," Kenji said. "Of course, we sometimes join
them." Again George couldn't believe his ears. What country would let POWs have a bowling alley? And how could
enemies play together in a friendly game like bowling ? While George was thinking about this, another surprise came in
view. German prisoners and local Japanese came by carrying farming tools. They seemed happy and friendly. George
asked Kenji what was going on.
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