Over the past 160 years, Germany and Japan have constantly encountered each other, intertwined closely, learned from each other and developed further as a result. We have shared knowledge and expertise, we have failed and we have tried to learn from mistakes. Now, in the 21st century, we are working together toward a better world - through peacekeeping, but also through close cooperation in politics, science and business, art and culture.
We are currently at the beginning of a new stage of intensified multilateral and security policy cooperation. On the occasion of the anniversary year, it is therefore worth taking a look at history with a focus on our military and security relations. This perspective goes far beyond the issues of peace and conflict. It is also a look back at the development of two nations, the consequences of war and destruction, and the emergence of cooperation within the international community.
In this exhibition, discover evidence of the first encounter between Prussia and Meiji-era Japan and learn more about our cooperation today in maintaining regional peace and security.
We welcome you to a journey of discovery through 160 years of German-Japanese encounters in culture, politics and business from a military-historical perspective - 160 years of deepening bonds and friendly ties.
Karsten Kiesewetter, military attaché at the German Embassy in Tokyo, welcomed from the former Akasaka reception site, which the Prussian delegation visited 160 years ago.
General Tanaka Shigenobu, Director General of the Ground Self-Defense Forces , Training, Evaluation, Research and Development Command (TERCOM) delivers a congratulatory speech in German in which he shares his memories of his studies at the Federal Leader School.
Until the Meiji Restoration in 1868, Japan enjoyed two centuries of relative peace and witnessed a flourishing of its art and culture - from haiku and literature through bunraku and kabuki to woodblock prints and ukiyo-e. In Europe, and especially in Germany, the cultural influence of Japan was already noticeable at that time and aroused great interest in that distant country.
The arrival of Commodore Perry in Japan in 1854 and the signing of the Treaty of Amity and Commerce with the United States on the one hand opened Japan's borders to trade, but also destabilized the Bakufu government, Japan's military government at the time.
When Prussia was also contractually granted access to Japan in 1861, Prussia had a reputation as a state with military might and special capabilities in science and technology, but it was also renowned for its art and literature. This coincided with the Meiji government's goal of "enriching the country and strengthening the army" while resisting foreign influence. Prussia thus had knowledge and skills that the Meiji government could use for its development into a modern nation.
This was the initial situation at the beginning of our diplomatic relations.
160 years ago, Japan and Germany - then the Kingdom of Prussia - established diplomatic relations.
Challenged by Austria-Hungary's expansion into Asia in particular, Prussia also sent a delegation to the Asian region in October 1859. At first, however, the auspices for the mission were not good: The original expedition leader, Emil von Richthofen, canceled his participation. About one half of the Prussian marines was needed to man the four planned ships. And finally, one of the four ships was still under construction.
In the end, the MV "Arcona", the "Thetis", acquired in Great Britain, the schooner "Frauenlob" and the transport ship "Elbe" set out for Asia. But the passage to Asia was also marked by difficulties. The "Arcona" dragged itself from one accident to the next, and the first crew members already deserted in England. Only one day before arriving in Japan, the ships of the expedition were caught in a typhoon, whereupon the "Frauenlob" sank with 42 men. The three remaining ships anchored in Edo Bay on September 4, 1860.
The road to the conclusion of the treaty was rocky. The Japanese side was represented by Nobumasa Ando, a high official of the Edo shogunate. The plenipotentiary of the Kingdom of Prussia was Count Friedrich Albrecht zu Eulenburg. Japan did not want to conclude any more unequal treaties with foreign countries in view of the strong domestic political pressure. Even the threat of military force did not impress the Japanese negotiators, who were well aware of the relative weakness of the Prussian navy.
The tragic murder of the legation's translator, Henry Heusken, on January 15, 1861, by supporters of the shogunate ultimately led to a breakthrough in negotiations. Since Heusken, a Dutchman, had been permanently employed in the U.S. service and had merely been "loaned" to the Prussian legation, international diplomatic pressure on the Japanese side increased, forcing them to conclude a treaty as quickly as possible. The bilateral treaty of Treaty of Amity, Commerce and Navigation was ultimately signed on January 24, 1861.
The mission led by Count zu Eulenburg set out from Europe in October 1859. Four ships, the corvettes Alcona, frigate Thetis, the schooner Frauenlob, and the transport Elbe, were on the way
The journey from Europe to Japan by sailing ship took more than 10 months across the Cape of Good Hope. The artist on board depicted the journey with music and other distractions to relieve boredom.
After studying law at the universities of Königsberg and Bonn, Count Friedrich zu Eulenburg entered diplomacy as consul general in Antwerp, where he signed the Treaty of Friendship and Commerce between Japan and Prussia in January 1861 and visited the Qing Empire in September of the same year to conclude a similar treaty. In recognition of his achievements in Asia, he served as Minister of the Interior under Imperial Chancellor Bismarck from 1862 to 1878.
Professor Heinrich Menckhaus of Meiji University explains the background of the Eulenburg Mission to Asia and the political situation in Japan at the time of the trade treaty with Prussia.
After leaving Europe, the Arcona was damaged by a storm in the North Sea and was repaired in England. The schooner Frauenlob was unfortunately caught in a typhoon off Izu and sank. Traveling by sailing ship before the Suez Canal was opened involved many dangers.
After a long journey, the delegation anchored in Edo Bay in September. However, negotiations for the conclusion of the treaty were difficult and they had to wait for another year.In the background of the sailing ship, seen from near Yokohama harbor, Mount Fuji is covered with snow behind the mountains of Hakone.
The Treaty of Friendship and Trade between Japan and Prussia was drawn up in three languages: German, Dutch and Japanese. Three representatives of the Japanese side signed the treaty, while the Prussian side was signed by Count Eulenburg, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary.
The Prussian delegation stayed at the Azabu Zempukuji Temple, which also served as the U.S. legation at the time,and overcame many difficulties in the process of concluding the treaty, including the suicide of the Edo shogunate official in charge of the treaty and the murder of their interpreter, Henry Huesken, by opponents against foreigners.
The signing of the Treaty on friendship, shipping, and trade.
Siebold, one of the so-called "Three Scholars of Dejima," introduced Western science to Japan during the Edo period. He came to Japan in March 1823 and became a doctor at the Dutch trading post on Dejima in Nagasaki. In 1824, he opened the Narutaki Juku outside Dejima, where he taught Western medicine (Dutch studies). Students at the school, including Chouei Takano, Keisaku Ninomiya, Genboku Ito, Sanei Koseki, and Keisuke Ito, later became doctors and scholars.
Born as a daughter of Philipp Franz von Siebold, a German physician, and Taki, a prostitute in Maruyama-cho. She was the first Japanese woman to learn the basics of medicine from Keisaku Ninomiya, a physician and a student of Siebold, and obstetrics from Soken Ishii. She opened an obstetrics clinic in Tsukiji, Tokyo, and attended the births of the imperial family.
Born in Meissen, Saxony, Naumann came to Japan in 1875 as a teacher at Tokyo's Kaisei School. He taught metallurgy, geology and mining and laid the foundation for modern geology in Japan. As head of the first geological institute in Japan, which he co-founded, he was engaged in geological investigations of the Japanese archipelago. He discovered the Fossa Magna and left his name in the Naumann elephant, an ancient creature.
Hermann Roessler came to Japan in 1878 and worked for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Tokyo as a legal advisor. In 1878, he came to Japan and worked for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Tokyo as a legal advisor. He responded to inquiries on public international law and domestic law and drafted related legislation. He served as an advisor to the Cabinet under the confidence of Hirobumi Ito, and was a key member of the preparation of the Constitution of the Empire of Japan and the draft of the Commercial Code. He introduced Prussian-style constitutionalism, which emphasizes the rule of law and the principles of constitutionalism, to Japan.
Born as a son of a Cologne brewing family, Major General Jakob Meckel graduated from the Prussian Military Academy in 1867. He participated in the Franco-Prussian War and was awarded the Iron Cross. He came to Japan in March 1885, at the request of an envoy from the Japanese government, which was promoting the modernization of the army. As a lecturer at the General Staff Officer School, he trained officers. As a result, the Japanese Imperial Army was under great influence of Prussian army.
Prussian-German Momentum in the Japanese Military of the Meiji Period
Dr.Frank Reichherzer (Center for Military History and Social Sciences of the Bundeswehr)
Born as the eldest son of a mid-level samurai of the Choshu clan, Kodama Gentaro served as Governor-General of Taiwan from 1898 after playing an active role in the Sino-Japanese War. He also served as Deputy Chief of the Army General Staff and Chief of the General Staff of the Manchurian Army, and contributed to the victory in the Russo-Japanese War. His mentor, Jacob Meckel, held Kodama in high esteem, claiming before the outbreak of the Russo-Japanese War, "As long as General Kodama is around, we will not be defeated by Russia."
Justus Brinkmann proposed the founding of the Hamburg Museum of Arts and Crafts, and served as its first director for more than 30 years after its completion. In 1889, he wrote a book, "Japanese Art and Craft," which helped to spread understanding of Japanese culture in Europe.
Photographs of Yokohama area believed to be taken by a German merchant in 1908
German geopolitical scientist, born in Munich. He worked as a military observer in Japan and wrote his dissertation "The German Share in the Geographical Development of Japan and the Subjapanese Territory, and its Promotion through the Influence of War and Military Policy." He possessed a deep knowledge of the Asian culture.
Professor Christian Spang, who specializes in the history of Japanese-German relations, explains the background of the relationship between the two countries from the perspective of Karl Haushofer, a German geopolitician who attracted attention during the war years.
Karl Köppen came to Japan at the request of the Kishu clan as a military advisor and trained around 6,000 clan soldiers between 1869 and 1871. He instructed them in officer training, foot soldier and cavalry training, and work discipline, among other things. He also practiced making leather shoes and cotton flannel instead of Japanese-style clothing, which was less durable in comparison. He was a pioneer in introducing Western culture to Japan, building a ranch and making possible the procurement of meat and milk.
Karl Köppen surrounded by his Japanese friends.
Typical Prussian battle formation on the beach of Wakayama. With Sergeant Karl Köppen, new tactics and strategies came to Japan.
The ability to make special ammunition was also necessary to equip the Dreyse firing needle rifle, which was the most advanced weapon at the time. Just as Karl Köppen taught ammunition making, western crafts such as shoe and leather making were also brought in through military training.
Flannel is still produced in Wakayama. Pictured is a loom that is still in operation since the end of World War II.
After graduating from the University of Leipzig Medical School, Erwin von Bälz came to Japan in 1876 as a teacher at the Tokyo Medical School (now the University of Tokyo Medical School). He stayed in Japan for 29 years. While contributing to the development of the medical world in Japan, he also conducted research on the Sakhalin Ainu people in Hokkaido. He is also known as the person who fell in love with Kusatsu hot spring and introduced it to the world.
Franz Balzer came to Japan with his wife and two daughters in 1898 at the invitation of the Japanese government. As a railroad engineer specializing mainly in architecture, he contributed to the development of the railroad network in Japan. The elevated railroad around Tokyo Station was designed by Balzer, and despite the firebombings of the war, was sucessfully completed in 1972.
His real name was Rintaro Mori. He studied in Germany for four years as an army doctor. After returning to Japan, he published a translation of his poem "Omo Kage", a novel "Maihime", and a translation of "Sokkyo Shijin." He also translated three of Goethe's works, including Faust, as well as other foreign literature.
Today, "Kimigayo" is widely known as Japan's national anthem. What is less well known is that in the early Meiji period, various arrangements of this song were available for selection for the official anthem, and that the first choice at the time was the version by the German Franz Eckert, a military bandmaster who had been invited to Japan by the Navy Ministry in 1879. After only a year in Japan, he was commissioned to arrange the Japanese national anthem.
Since records from the early Meiji period are limited, there are various theories about Eckert's contribution and the process of selecting the official "Kimigayo" arrangement. What is proven, however, is that Franz Eckert, within a very short period of time, acquired extensive knowledge of the Japanese language, traditional music, and poetry read aloud in the imperial court as the chant "Wakahikō". Eckert's "Kimigayo" follows the tradition of sung poems - a factor that probably contributed to the selection of Eckert's arrangement
Today, it is believed that Eckert was probably also involved in the selection and arrangement of songs for school teaching in Japan. His work is characterized in particular by the fact that he adapted European songs for traditional Japanese instruments. His ability to play a variety of instruments and to find practical solutions to problems, proved to be beneficiary.
Franz Eckert's talent for quickly immersing himself in foreign cultures earned him another position in Korea after his many years of service in Japan. Franz Eckert died in Seoul on August 6, 1916, and was buried in the Foreigners' Cemetery there.
Japan's drive to modernize along the lines of the Western powers required rapid development in science and military technology. Prints from this period show the most advanced shipbuilding technology used in German warships at that time.
After studying music in Dresden and other places, he became the captain of the naval band in Wilhelmshafen. In 1879, he came to Japan as a music teacher, and in 1880, he made an arrangement of "Kimigayo." While many Western ideas were raised, Eckert was interested in waka-hiko, a traditional Japanese poem performance from the Heian period. The introduction imitated the early Japanese music while the melody was brought out by adding rich Western harmonies .
Eckert's report on the arrangement of the Japanese national anthem
Cover page of "Kimigayo," the Japanese national anthem
Known as an expressionist architect, Bruno Taut arrived in Japan in 1933 to escape the persecution by the Nazis. While living in Kyoto, Sendai, Takasaki, and other cities, he wrote many critiques during his three and a half year stay, influencing future generations of architects and designers. While he praised Katsura Rikyu and Ise Jingu, he severely criticized the excessive decoration of Nikko Toshogu.
The Atami Hyuga Villa built in 1936 in Atami as a vacation home.
Professor Sven Saaler of Sophia University, who specializes in modern Japanese history, explains the diplomatic relations between Germany and Japan in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
Dario Streich, the Naruto City International Coordinator at the Naruto City German Museum, explains the relationship between Germany and Japan, which became adversarial during that time. He also examines the treatment of prisoners of war who were captured after the war and interned in Japan.
After the conclusion of the Treaty of Friendship and Commerce between Japan and Germany, Germans began to live in Yokohama and Tokyo. On September 20, 1904, the first German school in Japan was established in Yokohama.
Qingdao, having been occupied by Germany since 1891, had German-style architecture as well as water and sewage systems. Germany, which was lagging behind other European powers, had taken measures to protected its colony from Japanese expansion through amoung other measures, the Three Power Intervention. This cartoon depicts the distrust towards Japan at this time. The Japanese archipelago is illustrated as seen from the Chinese mainland and shows the Japanese soldier reaching its hands towards the geopolitically significant Qingdao.
In 1914, Japan declared war on Germany in World War I. From October 31 to November 7, the allied Japanese and British forces captured Qingdao, the East Asian stronghold of the German Empire. The two photographs depict the Siege of Qingdao from the perspectives of the Japanese and German armies.
Seiji Mori, the director of the Naruto City German Museum, explains the background of Japan's relatively good treatment of German prisoners of war before and after World War I, including introductions of several key figures.
Postcard from the Exhibition of Pictorial Art and Manual Skills held in Bando Prisoner of War Camp in March 8-18, 1918.
Some of the POWs were artists and produced excellent woodcuts and paintings. Through the exhibtions, they deepened the cultural exchange with the local population.
Many of the POWs who volunteered their service were originally civilians who practiced other professions. Hence, the craftsmen, artists, and musicians all put their creative skills to use. It was at Bando Camp that Beethoven's Symphony No. 9 was performed for the first time in Japan.
German soldiers in Japanese captivity, 1914-1920
Of the 4,715 German soldiers captured by the Japanese in Qingdao, around 1,000 prisoners were held at Bando Prisoner of War Camp from 1917 to 1920. The camp commander, Colonel Toyotoshi Matsue, treated the POWs fairly and humanely, and the German POWs and the Japanese residents had a close relationship. In addition to the eight barracks for soldiers, the camp also had sports facilities, a farm, a liquor factory, and a pantry. The site of the camp was designated as a national historic site in 2018 and is now maintained as German Village Park.
The story of the Bando camp was made into the movie "The Ode to Joy" in 2006. The film features famous actors from the Japanese and German film industries, including Ken Matsudaira and Bruno Ganz.
Her grandfather, a surgeon who came to Japan in 1881 as a professor at Tokyo Imperial University, and her father, a soldier who became a prisoner of war and then a merchant. Emmy Iwatate (maiden name: Scriba) recalls her Japanese-German family history.
After their opposition in World War I, Germany and Japan approached each other again quite quickly. There was renewed interest in learning from each other. Scientists from a wide variety of fields met for mutual exchange. Einstein's visit to Japan in 1922 is symbolic of this period. In the field of military technology, Japan began to take an interest in German submarine technology.
At the same time, this period also represents the beginnings of a particularly dark chapter in Germany's history, namely the rise of National Socialism. Under Adolf Hitler, the Nazis succeeded in exploiting popular emotions over the defeat in World War I and the high reparations demanded by the victorious powers. Nazi propaganda stirred up hatred, conjured up enmities and built up inhuman images in the minds of the population.
With the German invasion of Poland on September 01, 1939, World War II began in Europe - a time of unspeakable violence and atrocities. Japan and Germany were allies in World War II and each suffered extensive defeats. The memory of this time, especially of the German crime of the Holocaust, must be preserved - so as never to forget and to draw lessons from the past for the future.
"The Daughter of the Samurai" is a German-Japanese feature film starring Setsuko Hara and Ruth Eweler.
"The Daughter of the Samurai" is a Japanese-German co-production co-directed by German mountain filmmaker Arnold Funk and Japanese filmmaker Itami Mansaku. In addition to Setsuko Hara, internatinal actor Sessue Hayakawa, cinematographer Eiji Tsuburaya, and composer Kosaku Yamada also collaborated.
The Japanese Ambassador to Germany Kintomo Mushakoji and Minister of Foreign Affairs of Nazi Germany Joachim von Ribbentrop signed the Anti-Comintern Pact on November 25, 1936.
In the same month, Italy joined as an original signatory, and in 1939, Hungary, Manchukuo, and Spain joined, making it a six-nation agreement. However, it was rendered null and void by the conclusion of the German-Soviet Nonaggression Pact (August 1939) and the Soviet-Japanese Neutrality Pact (April 1941).
Agreement against the Communist International published in the Imperial Law Gazette of Germany
The Japanese and German newspapers and other media used cartoons and illustrations to convey the significance of the alliance and the positive outlook for the war.
Caricature - Germany, Italy and Japan push England back into the sea.
Japanese delegation at a memorial
Professor Sven Saaler of Sophia University explains the international context of the rapprochement of Japan and Germany after World War I.
During World War II, when Japan and Germany were allies, the navies of both countries conducted joint operations. For example, on August 6, 1942, the Imperial Japanese Navy's submarine I-30 was dispatched across the Indian Ocean to Brittany and returned to Japan carrying blueprints of German armaments.
For its part, the German Navy also sent submarines and 16 blockade runners toward Asia. These sank Allied transporters and other ships operating off the Japanese-occupied ports of Penang and Singapore. The German Kriegsmarine also continued into the Pacific Ocean, using Yokohama as a logistics port.
While several German ships were berthed in Yokohama, a disaster occurred: on November 30, 1942, at about 1:40 p.m., the tross ship Uckermark exploded. The Uckermark had been transporting aviation fuel from Indonesia to Yokohama. There are various explanations for the cause of the explosion, the most likely being that it was triggered by a worker who had been smoking while cleaning the oil tankers.
The blast wave from the explosion was so great that a total of four ships were lost: the Uckermark, the auxiliary cruiser Thor anchored nearby, the Australian passenger ship Nankin previously captured by the Thor, and the merchant ship Daisan Unkai Maru, used for military purposes.
The explosion, which could be heard for miles, also severely damaged port facilities and nearby buildings. The blast wave and flying debris caused window panes to shatter. A total of 102 people were killed, including 61 German naval officers and soldiers, 36 Chinese workers, and 5 Japanese workers and residents.
Many residents and workers in the area were seriously injured. Yokohama residents showed great solidarity: they banded together, organized shelters, and helped where they could.
The foreign victims were buried in the Yokohama Cemetery for Foreigners. Every year in November, they are commemorated. Some of the surviving German soldiers were unable to return to Germany due to the deteriorating war situation and relocated to an inn in Ashinoyu Onsen, Hakone, where they stayed until the end of the war.
Because the accident involved a German warship, who was then an ally, the explosion was classified and not widely reported. For more than 40 years, a graveside service was held at the Negishi Foreign Cemetery to mourn the German crew members who lost their lives.
A newspaper article reporting on the explosion of the German ship at Yokohama Port.
An aircraft turbine based on the blueprints brought to Japan from Germany via Singapore during World War II.
The turbine is exhibited in IHI Corp.'s in-house museum.
Toshiko Mori, who was born and raised in Honmoku, Yokohama, recalls her life at the time and gives her testimony of the tanker explosion that occurred at the port of Yokohama.
The Second World War, unleashed by the German Nazi regime, reduced large parts of Europe to rubble by 1945 and brought immeasurable violence and suffering to humanity. Cruel acts of war and numerous war crimes were committed; weapons of unprecedented destructive power were used. At the end of World War II, some 80 million people were dead and another 30 million were refugees.
This record of horror raised questions: How to comprehend what cannot be comprehended? How to go on after unimaginable crimes committed by one's own country? How to deal with this past? For a long time, the war generation in Germany avoided these questions, which were important for coming to terms with what had happened. It was not until the following generation in West Germany, especially the "68 Movement," that Germans demanded answers from their parents and grandparents, thus laying the foundation for a (self-)critical culture of remembrance.
"Never forget!" is the central concern - keeping alive the memory of the atrocities committed during World War II, especially the Holocaust against the Jews, but also the persecution and murder of Sinti and Roma, resistance fighters, people with disabilities, homosexuals and many other people who had been excluded from the "Volksgemeinschaft" and persecuted by the Nazi regime.
Today, remembrance takes place in many different ways. However, it is not only about remembrance, but also about coming to terms with the past and reconciliation. The best-known memorial is the Auschwitz concentration camp, which has been preserved as it was on the day of liberation by Soviet soldiers. The Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe, the so-called Holocaust Memorial, is located in Berlin in the immediate vicinity of the German Bundestag in the Reichstag building. It is thus always visible to major politicians. In addition, there are smaller, often subtle memorials in towns and villages throughout Germany and elsewhere in Europe. Sometimes it is a bronze jacket left lying around or a stone in a wall.
The artist Gunter Demnig has created a special kind of memorial. He lays so-called "Stolpersteine" (stumbling stones) not only in Germany, but throughout Europe and now beyond, in places where people lived and worked who were expelled, deported and killed during the "Third Reich." In 2019, the 75,000th stone was laid.
Destroyed city blocks in Warsaw after a German bombing (September 1939)
"Children of an eastern suburb of London, who have been made homeless by the random bombs of the Nazi night raiders, waiting outside the wreckage of what was their home." (September 1940)
View of London from the roof of St Paul's Cathedral after a German bombing
Minsk in 1941 after the German bombing. 85% of the city was completely destroyed.
An industrial plant in Stalingrad destroyed by Stukas (1942)
Waves of Consolidated B-24 liberators of the 15th AAF fly over the target area, the Concordia Vega Oil refinery in Ploieşti, Romania with little regard for the firing flak following the bombing. (May 31, 1944)
3.6 million homes in 62 German cities were destroyed in the bombing, and nearly half of the infrastructure, including schools, was lost. The rebuilding of the bombed cities was largely left in the hands of women.
The Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp photographed shortly after its liberation in 1945
The infamous slogan "Work sets you free" is displayed.
West Germany Chancellor Willy Brandt kneeling in silent prayer in front of the Ghetto Heroes Monument in Warsaw, the capital of Poland. (December 7, 1970)
Stumbling Stones - Memorial stones to remember the Holocaust victims
Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe in Berlin
Graffiti left by former Soviet soldiers in the Reichstag in Berlin, Germany
A monument to remember the deportation of Freiburg Jews to the Gül camp on October 22, 1940. Not far from the place where the trains were prepared for the deportation, there is a bronze sculpture of a coat that looks like it was left lying and abandoned.
In this video, Professor Atsuko Kawakita of the University of Tokyo, who specializes in modern German history, explains how Germany overcame defeat and division by confronting its history and making new progress.
The horror and injustice of World War II moved humanity to action. To resolutely confront the dangers of nationalism and militarism and to "save mankind from the scourge of war," the United Nations was founded in 1945 with 51 member nations. While the previous League of Nations had failed because of individual national interests, the United Nations was to succeed through increased joint work - today it has 193 member nations.
One of the greatest achievements at that time was the agreement on universal and inalienable human rights: all human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. On December 10, 1948, these were enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Rights such as the right to life and to live in freedom and security, the right to protection from torture and violence, and the right to equality before the law found their way into it.
With their re-entry into the international community, Japan and the then divided Germany also looked to the future. The Federal Republic of Germany and Japan aimed at economic and social success as maturing democracies and at peaceful relations with their neighbors. In the process, West Germany and Japan again became important partners with common interests, a dense network of friendly contacts, and flourishing exchanges in all fields, especially culture. Military cooperation did not begin until the end of the Cold War.
It was not until after German reunification that bilateral security policy cooperation also began, with a clear focus on maintaining world peace, for example in the context of peacekeeping operations.
However, the joint commitment goes far beyond the military-security policy sphere. Feel invited to discover examples from the broad field of cultural exchange in art, music and sports on the following displays.
A German Navy minesweeper engaged in the operation "Southern Flanke"
Students from the National Defense Academy perform a military parade in honor of the academy's traditional commencement ceremony in Yokosuka.
The Japanese destroyer 'Asagiri' arrives in Rockstock, Germany 12 August 2016
International students at the German Armed Forces Command and Staff College
UN observers in Sudan issuing orders to patrols.
The German Armed Forces in Sudan (2006)
Activity on the German Navy's minesweeper Ensdorf (HL-Boot)
The UNIFIL mission (United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon) is being conducted off the coast of Lebanon, where they ensure the safe navigation of ship in the eastern Mediterranean Sea, prevent arms smuggling, and are involved in the training of Lebanese naval forces.
The Central Band of the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force and the Staff Band of the Bundeswehr gave a joint performance in front of the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin as part of the "DAIKU 2018" project organized by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan.
The Staff Band of the Bundeswehr at the Japan Self-Defense Forces Music Festival in 2019.
A Eurofighter fighter aircraft takes off during an exercise.
Sealynx naval helicopter
Self-defense forces deployed for rescue and assistance during natural disasters.
The German Armed Forces on a support mission during the severe flood disaster in the Ahr Valley in 2021
Defense Minister Kishi attends 2+2 talks between Japan and Germany.
”Sushi in Suhl” is a movie based on the story of East Germany's only Japanese restaurant. It was released in 2021 and became a hit in Germany.
Pina Bausch was a contemporary dancer with a distinct style influenced by German Expressionism. She often performed in Japan and was close friends with butoh dancer Kazuo Ohno. She won the Kyoto Prize in 2007.
Doris Dörrie, a filmmaker who first came to Japan in 1985, has since spent time in the country, making films such as "MON-ZEN," "The Fisherman and His Wife," "Cherry Blossoms," and "Greetings from Fukushima."
Sado began his conducting career while studying flute at Kyoto City University of Arts. In May 2011, he was invited by the Berlin Philharmonic as a guest conductor to conduct their concerts.
Kashimoto has been a violinist since the age of 11 in Lübeck, Germany, where he attended the German Gymnasium and honed his violin skills as a special student at the Conservatory of Music. Since October 2009, he has been the first concertmaster of the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra.
Denki Groove is a Japanese techno/electro-pop band formed in 1989 under the influence of YMO and Germany's Kraftwerk. The band is popular not only in Japan, but also in Germany, where they have created albums for German labels and performed in Germany, such as MAYDAY, gaining popularity both in Japan and abroad for their unprecedented performances.
Damo Suzuki, born as Kenji Suzuki, lives in Germany since the early 1970s and was the vocalist for the Cologne krautrock band Can from 1970 to 1973. He is a figure who embodies hippie culture in both Germany and Japan.
Kraftwerk is known as one of the world's pioneers of the techno-pop genre and a major influence on Japan's YMO. In 1981, Kraftwerk performed in Tokyo, Osaka and Nagoya.
Kraftwerk Vocoder custom made in early 1970s
Tawada graduated from the Department of Russian Literature of Waseda University, and completed her graduate studies at the University of Hamburg while working in Germany. She is living in Hamburg and Berli and publishes various works in German and Japanese since 1987.
Born in Hirosaki City in Aomori Prefecture, Nara moved to Germany after completing his master's degree at Aichi University of the Arts. After completing his studies at the Academy of Fine Arts in Dusseldorf, he gained worldwide popularity for the paintings he created in his studio near Cologne.
Cramer was the first foreign coach invited to Japan in 1960 and is considered the "father of Japanese soccer." As the interim coach of the Japanese national team, he laid the foundation for Japan's bronze medal at the Mexico Olympics and was instrumental in the founding of the Japan Soccer League.
Hasebe has been playing in the Bundesliga (Germany's first division) since 2008. He continues to break the record for the most appearances in the Bundesliga by an Asian athelete.
The FIFA Women's World Cup was held in Frankfurt in 2011. The Japanese national team defeated the U.S. national team to win their first championship. It was the first time for an Asian team, including men and women, to win a FIFA title.
The captain of the Japanese women's national team, Homare Sawa, scored a dramatic equalizer in the second half of overtime of the final match.
The first female medical officers with the Federal Minister of Defense Georg Leber in 1975.
Surgeon General Dr. Verena von Weymarn was not only the first woman to hold the rank of general, she was also the first woman to lead a Bundeswehr hospital as chief physician. In September 1976, Dr. Verena von Weymarn joined the Bundeswehr as a staff physician.
Ulrike Fitzer is the first female fighter pilot in the German Air Force. In 2006, she graduated from the Euro-NATO Joint Jet Pilot Training Programat Sheppard Air Force Base, and in 2007 became the first German female Tornado pilot after completing training at the Holloman Air Force Base.
Soldiers participate in the Great Homecoming, celebrating the 60th birthday of the Bundeswehr in front of the Reichstag in Berlin on November 11, 2015.
Bundeswehr snow operation in Bavaria. Mountain engineers assist in freeing roofs from snow load in Bad Reichenhall, Bavaria after military disaster alert (milKATAL) was triggered. (Jan. 11, 2019)
Frigate Hamburg departs for Irini mission. Family members and friends watch the departure of the frigate F 220 Hamburg from its home port of Wilhelmshaven. The ship will participate in the EU mission for almost five months. (August 4, 2020)
We hope that you enjoyed your journey through 160 years of German-Japanese military and cultural history and that along the way, you gained enlightening insights and made one or two discoveries.
The history of our two countries is marked by particularly difficult experiences. Over the past 160 years, Japan and Germany have shared knowledge, losses, but also responsibilities.
Today, Japan and Germany are stable and reliable partners who share the common goal of strengthening multilateralism and maintaining peace and the international rules-based order.
We look forward to all that we can still achieve together - as partners, as allies, and above all as friends.