Germans in Japan 1935-1948

Discussions on all aspects of the Japanese Empire, from the capture of Taiwan until the end of the Second World War.
janel90
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Germans in Japan 1935-1948

Post by janel90 » 13 Jan 2012 22:50

Hello all - I am new here and this is my first post.

I am looking for any information about the German community in Tokyo during the WWII years. My mother, a German, lived in Tokyo, Karuizawa and Hakone during this time. Her stepfather worked in the Naval Attache's office in the German Embassy. Mom was good friends with Ulla Ott, daughter of the German ambassador. I'm interested in learning what her life as a German in Japan must have been like during these tumultuous years. She has also mentioned the "Nippon Crew" - a group of German Naval personnel and I'm interested in learning more about them, too.

Any information anywhere?

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Sewer King
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Re: Germans in Japan 1935-1948

Post by Sewer King » 15 Jan 2012 07:11

Here is an excellent start on this very subject:
It is from Hisashi, one of the Forum's resident Japanese staff experts in Japan.
  • He was most generous to share this with us. However, please keep in mind that what you ask about it is only one of many specialized subject areas about Japan and the Pacific War, even in Japanese language. Hisashi's renditions and translations for us take much effort and work. Moreover, that thread may already cover all our Forum has about it in the time that it merits.
I recommend that you thoroughly go over the references and machine-translate the Japanese-language links he supplied.
  • If this is all that can be supplied in answer (and it is much), please see it in the longer term and be content as I was. Often, Hisashi has answered my question before I ask it, when I was still thinking how to ask. And then he answers it more completely than I could imagine, so I am amazed even more.

    It seems, even, that there should be a Japanese word for this kind of foresight, about detailed or obscure interest of others. Even if it is just happy coincidence. And now, it has happened for you as well as me.
The Forum's "Japan at War" section is more recent than those about World War II in Europe. Sometimes it seems to me that those interested in Imperial Japan will follow European war topics, more often than those for ETO and Eastern Front interest will follow China and Pacific War topics.

-- Alan

janel90
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Re: Germans in Japan 1935-1948

Post by janel90 » 15 Jan 2012 17:08

What fabulous information in your email trail - My mother vividly remembers the Nippon Crew meetings in Germany and also remembers being at one meeting when Susumu was attending. Thank you so much for all the links!

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Sewer King
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Re: Germans in Japan 1935-1948

Post by Sewer King » 17 Jan 2012 00:00

You’re most welcome, and I forgot to say welcome to the Forum at large. It is more correctly thanks to Hisashi for the good information.

Here’s another thread I just remembered, although it has less attached references than that about the German merchant sailors in Japan:
This thread had more of technical than human interest, because the Germans looked to their highly-experienced ally Japan for the aircraft carrier knowledge that they themselves did not have. On board the Zuikaku, the Germans might have been impressed enough to sail on a leading ship of the Pearl Harbor task force.
  • Even so, it probably had small social stories that did not make it into the record. The German translator is mentioned, and his observations would have been most interesting here. Who could have better told us anything about Axis working relations on the daily level? To be a good translator, especially for Japanese language, you must also be a cultural translator.
It has been said that the German officers (and Hitler) had less respect for their nearby Italian ally, than for their faraway Japanese ally who won great victories against the Allies at land and sea. But at the working level of attachés, a normal mutual esteem should have been there.

On the subject of Germans in wartime Japan, if you have anything more in your family history that you are willing to share –- please consider it. Even if it is only one or two sentences that tell something memorable. The memory of Susumu at the reunion could be added to the "German Sailors who could not return home" thread because it is directly related to that.

Things like this are one of the human interests in our Forum, aside from their unavailability in published histories.

-- Alan

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Sewer King
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Re: Germans in Japan 1935-1948

Post by Sewer King » 21 Jan 2012 22:28

i don't know if janel90 will not return after just one inquiry, as some posters do, but here are some more related things anyway.

A few photos of Hitler Youth in Japan, undated:
Peter H wrote:Hitler Youth in Japan (trying their hand at kyūjutsu, Japanese archery)
Image
===================================

Below, marching out in formation from a well-appointed building.
Peter H wrote:Hitler Youth visit
Image
Where might this visit have been photographed? Any visible connection to the German Embassy or elsewhere?

The moderator who posted these mentioned a Hitlerjugend (HJ) visit to Japan in August 1938, during which they laid a wreath at Yasukuni Shrine. Could this photo have been from that occasion, or were there other such visits?
  • They are wearing summer uniform with tropical sun helmets (Tropenhelm).

    Hitlerjugend were also resident in Japan, rather than visitors. Among the first-pattern shoulder straps of their uniforms (1933-38) was the "Japan" one illustrated here at far right.

    (from Davis, Brian L. Badges & Insignia of the Third Reich 1933-1945 (Blandford Books Ltd, 1983), page 23 and plate 7)

    Later HJ uniforms used small, triangular black arm patches (Gebietsarmdreieck, jurisdictional arm triangles) were later worn at the top of the uniform sleeve, which gave the name of the HJ troop’s home location. These triangles read “China,” the “USA,” and the names of various regions of Germany. Some of our Third Reich uniform experts might know if there was a “Japan” one, as seems likely.
HJ visits to Japan were reciprocated with Japanese youth group visits to Germany.

-- Alan

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Re: Germans in Japan 1935-1948

Post by nobodyofnote » 22 Jan 2012 01:35

Thanks Alan. Interesting. On the internet there are also a small number of pics of the Hitler Youth in China. I wonder whether any of their visits in Japan was also part of their trip to China as well, prior to 1938 when the political climate changed. One known visit to China occurred in 1935.

http://www.bild.bundesarchiv.de/archive ... h[focus]=1

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Sewer King
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Re: Germans in Japan 1935-1948

Post by Sewer King » 22 Jan 2012 04:30

It might also have some small interest, about what passages the visitors took to China and Japan. It's easy to forget how much longer International civilian travel and telecommunication was back then, especially across more than one ocean.

Originally this thread was an inquiry from a newcomer who apparently might not return often, if at all. So I answered as an introduction to someone who does not know regulars like us, or the staffers. Many who are interested in WW2-in-Europe might not look in this Japan at War section.

Now that the thread is moved over to this section, I hope that what I wrote does not seem awkward. The photos and their explanations are mostly repeats. But they were too deep inside other threads and a newcomer might not easily find them, so I used them again here.

-- Alan

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Peter H
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Re: Germans in Japan 1935-1948

Post by Peter H » 22 Jan 2012 07:40

Alan
I think that HJ photo shows a Japanese military school.I have a better copy of the same pic in a magazine but I must have it stored away somewhere.Anyway the article was about military schooling.

Peter

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hisashi
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Re: Germans in Japan 1935-1948

Post by hisashi » 22 Jan 2012 13:55

Hello Janel. I am glad my post was welcomed by you and your mother. Once I had some explanations and links on German-born food providers. She might remember August Lohmeiyer and Karl Joseph Wilhelm Juchheim.

Foreign expatriates in wartime Japan
http://forum.axishistory.com/viewtopic. ... 5&t=168020

nobodyofnote wrote:Thanks Alan. Interesting. On the internet there are also a small number of pics of the Hitler Youth in China. I wonder whether any of their visits in Japan was also part of their trip to China as well, prior to 1938 when the political climate changed. One known visit to China occurred in 1935.
Hi nobodyofnote. I am afraid your link does not work but perhaps I can answer your original question.

HJ did not 'visit' China. Germans in Shanghai and Tsingtao had a small HJ branch of their own. They say in total 100 children joined in it.

On the contrary, Japan invited some of them, in total 12 (2 adults and 6 boys from Shanghai and 2 adults and 2 boys from Tsingtao) when HJ mission from Germany visited Japan. Their iteniary was mostly different from those from Germany and joined for a few days in Osaka, Nara and Kyoto.

Mission from Germany had about 30 members. The pic Alan quoted from Peter's post shows too few HJs. On the other hand, this building resembles that of Hiroshima cadet school (Yonen Gakko), where Shanghai-Tsingtao mission visited. Yonen gakko was a preliminary school of army war school, for 13 to 15-year-old boys. Perhaps they were from China.

A memorial page of Hiroshima cadet school (in Japanese)
http://www.roswitha.jp/shiriyoukan.html

If any HJ photo was apparently taken in China, it would be HJ in China, not visitors.

janel90
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Re: Germans in Japan 1935-1948

Post by janel90 » 23 Jan 2012 02:12

Hello all -

I return to this post often, to see if there is any new information. I am so excited to see all the new information today!

To answer a few quick questions –

Yes, my mother knew/knows the Lohmeyer family very well. I myself was a guest in both the elder Lohmeyer home and the home of their son. Willi, in Tokyo in 1977. And to this day, my mother remains best of friends with August Lohmeyer's daughter.

Yes, there were Hitler Youth groups resident in Japan. My mother was a member of such a group, although she remembers it all as being like a “summer camp” or Girl Scouts. Re the uniform - she remembers a navy blue skirt, white short sleeve shirts, under the collar was a folded triangular black scarf that they held fast with a leather knot and a navy jacket. No black patch on the sleeve, but with pins received during sporting activities. (mom got a pin for skiing)

How she traveled to Japan – in 1935, via the Hapag ship Kulmerland, boarding in Genoa (she was 10 and was given over to another family traveling to Japan, as my mothers parents were already living in Tokyo and my mother was now joining them). This ship sailed via the Suez Canal, and she remembers stops in Cairo, Ceylon, Singapore, PeNang, Manila and finally Shanghai. There she left the Kulmerland and boarded the Haruna Maru and sailed from Shanghai into Yokohama, where her parents met her. The lived mostly in Uehara, spending the summers first in Karuizawa and later in Hakone. Her home was destroyed the night of March 10, 1945 and she spent several years living in the kura that was left standing in the back yard. When in school, she attended the Deutsche Schule Omori.

For this last Christmas, my sister and I gave my mother the gift of a ghostwriter/biographer and we are now in the process of getting her personal story down in book form for our family.

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Peter H
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Re: Germans in Japan 1935-1948

Post by Peter H » 23 Jan 2012 07:06


janel90
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Re: Germans in Japan 1935-1948

Post by janel90 » 23 Jan 2012 19:56

Hi all -

I never knew there was such a large German population in Shanghai, but now I understand why, as children, my sister and I always played monopoly on a Shanghai Millionaire board. I just asked mom how she came to have it and she said that, while living in Tokyo, her parents got it as a gift from some friends in the German community in Shanghai. We still have that original game from the 1930s, complete with the board with all the Shanghai street names, the metal game pieces, the wooden houses and hotels and the community chest and chance cards.

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hisashi
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Re: Germans in Japan 1935-1948

Post by hisashi » 24 Jan 2012 13:20

Oh, I sometimes buy Lohmeyer's 'ham' (In Japan most smoked pork is incorrectly called as ham). It's available in the food corners of department store and very expensive:-). But it is really good.

Uehara is perhaps here. Yoyogiuehara is the name of nearest subway station. Those days Tokyo city was smaller and Uehara was newly developed (after 1923 earthquake) residence area.
http://maps.google.co.jp/maps?q=uehara+ ... 5,0.026093

And Deutsche Schule was in Omori from 1925 to 1991. After renaming of locations in 1970s, that area was parted from Omori and today called as Sanno. Around here.
http://g.co/maps/x9r9n
Deutsche Schule's homepage is here.
http://www.dsty.ac.jp/schule/geschichte

Retailers' association on this street still remember of Deutsche Schule and called the street as 'Jarman Dori' (German Street).
http://germanst.com/
http://germanst.com/yurai.htm
According to the second link, the building on the pic was used from 1933 to 1966.

janel90
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Re: Germans in Japan 1935-1948

Post by janel90 » 24 Jan 2012 16:29

Dear Hisashi -

Thank you so much for all the links. I especially love the picture of the school as it must have looked to my mother! I'm forwarding that photo, and the link to the history of the school, on to her to see if it is what she remembers. She reads German and English fluently, the Kanji and Katakana is now a bit difficult for her to remember.

I would be very interested if there are any 1935 - 1949 photos of Karuizawa or 1940 - 1948 photos of Hakone. I have looked via US Google, but haven't found any. As I look through the paperwork she kept of that time, I have found two letters that seem to be pen-pal kind of letters to her from Japanese soldiers - they are in a special envelope that did not require postage, pale cream colored envelopes with red notations on it....needless to say, I cannot read the letters as they are all in Japanese. I also found many postcards she collected from that time, as well. My favorite of the things she bought with her "pin money" are several miniature Japanese stores that seem to reflect just what the markets must have been like at the time. I'll try to figure out how to upload a photo from my laptop and will attach them next time if there is any interest in seeing them as a sign of the times.

Thank you again, Hisashi, for all your assistance with my questions. Your information is wonderful!!

Jane

janel90
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Re: Germans in Japan 1935-1948

Post by janel90 » 24 Jan 2012 16:35

Well, I can't figure out how to upload something from my own laptop -- rats!

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