It's rare that a concert has so much impact that people still talk about it 100 years later. However, that's certainly the case for a performance a century ago by some German prisoners of Ludwig van Beethoven's Symphony No. 9 in Tokushima Prefecture. It was the masterpiece's first performance in a country that would later make it part of its year-end holiday tradition.

The story effectively starts after the siege of Tsingtao in 1914 during World War I, when Japan and Britain teamed up to boot Germany out of the colony it had established there. They were successful, and 4,700 POWs were brought to Japan, with some 1,000 being placed in the Bando camp in what is now the city of Naruto, Tokushima.

They were the lucky ones — or as lucky as you can get when you're a prisoner.