Challenge: Creating Japanese Culture Exchange with East Germany

New York, N.Y. xxx

 

.”NEW YORK Biz” published in the March 10 issue 【17 episodes】 

East German story (second part) In spite of rejections from both the US and Japan governments I fulfilled the mission of cultural exchange between Japan and East Germany 

I went to East Berlin in 1970, At that time, I promised myself my own mission to make Japanese culture exchange with East Germany: 

After returning from the East Germany, when I went  to negotiate with the Japanese government, I asked the Ministry of Foreign Affairs He said “we do not have anything in the country without diplomatic relations with East Germany we cannot do anything.”, but I was not able to give up on that kind of thing, but I would go  back to East Berlin once more . I will go back to work again “and left the ministry. Since Nagoya’s Chubu Nippon Broadcasting (CBC) became the receiving side, we both tried to persuade the government many times, and eventually the government said “We do not issue a visa but may consider I the concert” Answer has come finally positive. 

However, another serious thing happened here. Members as Communist Party At that time, In these days, Any plane has to stop at Anchorage  for refuel. Anchorage is US territory on any airplane. Even though I did not even contact (it might be a spy job). a phone call came from the US Department of State to my office, and they said, if there is no US visa  They cannot stops in Alaska. I promised that all the members were musicians, not even one person was taking a step out of the plane, but I was wrong. Especially when it comes to members of the Communist Party it is absolutely unacceptable. So I had to put up a list of all of them to Washington. For many months, the Department of State said that there are  two who are Communist party members, one is a trumpet player, and the other is a journalist. By the way this journalist is the one who later became Minister of Culture. Well, back in Berlin again, they admit these two are Communist Party members. And to explain to the East Germans side, trumpet players can be replaced but the journalist never have to be eliminated. And Dr Rakwitz is a celebrity composer, author of Joseph Haydn, a world leader in music history, and has written a lot of books. A lot of his books were handed to me. Then I returned to Washington and explained this, ” if you can monitor for 24 hours and think that you can make a promise not to meet Japanese Communist members and politicians during the trip”  I had to give a Written documents. Strangely enough, the Japanese government said the same thing as the United States. It is the fact that how Japan at that time was so connected behind America. I stayed in the next room to this person during the whole trip.

 Poverty without Valuta (world exchangeable currency) 

their Historical concerts were realized at the Osaka World Expo in Japan in 1975. The concert was great success and criticism was great. The Japanese was able to listen to the performance of that legendary  GevandHouse Orchestra from Leipzig (directed by Kurt Mazar) for the first time in history. 

I noticed a strange things during the tour progressed.

One hundred and forty people were fine and healthy at the beginning, I felt worried because their  eyes grew somewhat blue and they lost weight. The German Agency for Cultural Affairs has given money of about 30 dollars per person as a daily allowance, but when I asked “I what are you it eating? The answer was bread, and Bananas. Everyone tried to save money without using money They  brought a lot of canned food in musical instruments case,. Some people caught a cold as they became malnourished. These musicians were by no means poor in their countries but They were poor in Japan, Valuta poor I decided to give a party with lots of food every night after the concert, served with buffet. Everyone was eating a lot with delight. They desperately saved the money, bought a lot of Japanese appliances and went home so happily. I paid the excess fee for cargo. Some  members brought a rugged suitcase so I negotiated with the airline and gave them a new suitcase. There was a difference between rich and poor; Japan and East Germany at that time. 

Because of my deep relationship with East Germany,  I was very happily I made close relationship with the countries of the Communist Party. Each year, There was a conference of the Agencies for Cultural Affairs the communist block countries once a year.  I was invited to the conference and was introduced (as a new partner)to every countries’ head of Cultural Agencies. As a result, each country welcomed me, and I became able to work exclusively in the US, and my company flourished. Even now I am thankful that this is the result of my first courage of visit to the unknown East Berlin .

Soon afterwards diplomatic relations between East Germany and Japan began. I am even today very proud of what I did.



Originally published as Vol. 17 in Weekly Biz, march 10, 2018; translated by Jim Luce.

See: Dr. Kazuko Hillyer Tatsumura Column in Japan’s Weekly Biz

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