What's new

German POWs in Japan WWI


Unswerving cyclist
14 Mar 2002
Guest Vicky Matthews asked:

I'm looking for any information on German POWs held in Japan during WWI. I know the BBC broadcast a piece on POWs in general, which had a brief allusion to the subjct, but I can't find more detail anywhere.
Sorry about the late reply, we had troubles getting our board back to work after some self-inflicted server troubles.

Online resources on German POWs in Japan during WWI are very scarce. Our database comprised one interesting site related to that subject:


This is the web site of Naruto University featuring an story on a camp for German POWs that turned into a German village. Unfortunately, that story has been removed. We will contact the webmasters to inquire about that info.


I have found the link about the German War Camp at Naruto, it was well hidden among the uni's Japanese pages:

What is Bando POW Camp? (via Internet Archive)

You'll find some info on Camp Bando, lots of pictures of the POW camp with detailed explanations as well as some historical background info.

If I find more material on the topic, I'll post it here.
Last edited:
Wow, it's been a long time. Unfortunately, the links hosted by Naruto University do not work anymore. We contacted the staff in Japanese (the WWW-Admins, as they call themselves), but never received any reply.

It seems the info has been partly shifted to the Naruto City Website:

Wayback Machine (in German)
Last edited:
German POWs in WW1

My father was a German POW in WW1 (Kurume, Kumamoto, and Aonogahara) from 1914 - 1920. I have a few copies of pictures and a list of POWs if you are interested. Richard H. Helm
Hi Richard,

welcome to the forum, it's a pleasure to have you here!

I am very interested in this topic as well, so if you have any scanned pictures, feel free to post them to the forum.

Btw, the original web sites I mentioned above can be seen here (archived by archive.org, very useful!)

=> What is Bando POW Camp?
@Richard; wow if you can post the pictures please do, now you'v got me hooked too! hehe, 🙂

yokosa (welcome)to the forum and please feel free to post any information you feel might be relavant to this thread,
Thank you for your fast response. Unfortunately, my scanner is out of operation at this time. If, however, there are any questions you have regarding the POWs, I will try to answer them. Best Regards, Richard
Glad that I found you

Hello from Germany,

I am busy with the topic "German POW in Japan WWI" since my wife found some documents of a former prisoner in the garret of our old house.

Some of the results of my work are published in Tsingtau - historisch-biographisches Projekt. This site is in German, but I am prepared to translate.

Of course, I hope to get some more informations here, especially from Richard Helm.

Hans-Joachim Schmidt
Interesting topic indeed and one I am not familiar with although I have since then taken it upon myself to find out more. If I come up with anything in my research that hasn't already been covered, i'll be sure to pass it along.
Hallo Hans-Joachim, herzlich willkommen!

It's an interesting topic, thanks for sharing your website with us. Perhaps you should try to contact Mr. Helm in private, as he hasn't been around for a while.
Is there a german version of the last wiki link?
My japanese is by far not good enough to read this. . .

Thanks for the interesting first link though!

But additionally some of you may like to read this wiki page about general german japanese history:

Germany–Japan relations - Wikipedia

(It might also become the base for another thread, that I am planning)
I bet Japanese eat more Baumkuchen than German people.
If I remember correctly, a POW started the German cake shop in Kobe after the war.
I bet Japanese eat more Baumkuchen than German people.
If I remember correctly, a POW started the German cake shop in Kobe after the war.

But being in Japan, I was fed with most wonderfull cakes (when I started baking for them(most appreciated!), because it was my birthday), new creations and much better than first german inspirations, which made them very happy to hear from me (and why should I not say so, if its true?*). I got them for breakfast for example for a while from a nightshifting policeman. In fact, that one was a real friend and helper and showed me around everything of interest there.
* I happen to know the old asian tradition, coming via China, that this is an honour for the inspirator, or teacher, if used for further development, and for an artist, this makes a lot of (common) sense and meets my own thinking.
A kind of sweet competiiton amongst friends, so to say and thats always fine with me. :)
I can only hope, that we treat Japanese the same way in Germany. Anyhow, if I meet some Japanese, obviously searching for places, I often make friends immediately, trying to pay back all the friendlyness, that I got in their own country. So far, I also got nice new aspects about us here or surprising coincidences, like this one:
When I invited some such searching "tourists" to a japanese art-teacher, who then happened to be a friend of a friend of my guests in Japan. . .guess the joy on all sides then!
Its fun, seeing things through other eyes than only the own ones, although there are naturally limits, on all sides. . .

For others:
Also thanks for the other links, hat was that film about exactly, also Bando?(I suppose so)
Sorry, my japanese is simply not good enough.

And a special cake;-):
Thanks hanchan, you do a very fine job!!
Beethoven in Bando

Hello Hanachan,

thank you for remembering the first Japanese release of the 9th symphony at Bando. It took place at Saturday, June 1st, 1918.

I visited Naruto and the German House two years ago - a very nice location, indeed.

Hans-Joachim Schmidt

I've been there several times. (I live in Sikoku)
Bando is the first place in Japan where Beethoven' shympony #9 was played on Christmas day. Of course German POW orchestra. They played for people in Bando village.
I have some photos of Bando. Later I'll upload them to the Gallery.:)
thank you for remembering the first Japanese release of the 9th symphony at Bando. It took place at Saturday, June 1st, 1918.

Kon'nichiwa hans-Joachim san,
Thank you for a correction. Today we enjoy the 9th symphony every December. It is Band German POW orchestra's gift to Japan.
German POW temporarily stayed in Marugame city (Kagawa) before they were moved to Bando.
People in Marugame planted "Lindenbaum" for friendship between two nations a few years ago. There is a grave of a POW who died of a illness in Marugame.
Konnichiwa, Hanachan san,

I have seen that grave. Mr. Amandus Temme is buried there.

Do you have contact to my friend in Japan?
Look at the best site on German POW: homepage3.nifty.com/akagaki/
Hans-Joachim san,
I visited the site you told me. I saw your photo there. 👍
Nice to meet you! hehe...
I often go to Marugame, because my relatives are there.
I will e-mail to Akagaki sensei in a few days.
(That site is very excellent)

Doumo Arigatou gozaimasu, Vielen Dank!

I'm a great fan of Germany. I'm very interested in the history of both Japan and Germany. :)
Hi my grandfather was also captured at Tsingtau.
I wonder if you have any reference to him in your list of prisoners. His name was Hugo Karl Koch

Ralph Koch
Hi my grandfather was also captured at Tsingtau.
I wonder if you have any reference to him in your list of prisoners. His name was Hugo Karl Koch

Ralph Koch

sorry I can't find him


there is a list of them
Japan Center for Asian Historical Records
Grandfather in captivity

Thank you caster51,
He is there N0;1263 Heinrich Koch at KURUME. ( I mixed his name with his brother)
Unfortunately I never really got to know him as he died when I was only three,and is one of my great regrets in life not having been able to talk to him about his experiences.
I did go to AICHI in 2005 to work on the Australian Pavillion at the world expo but never had the time to visit the areas that he was in.It would have been quite something to have stood on the same ground that he had
But my father tells me that he had a great time over there and just went sight seeing.The only negative was that he wasnt able to work and being bored took up smoking on a grand scale that eventually contributed to his early death.
He did also comment that he found the women quite attractive and we now have a family joke that perhaps we have some relatives over there that we dont know about.
Top Bottom