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Monday, 6th July 2009
In General Japan News,

Beethoven's 9th is 'peculiar passion' of Japanese

While cartoon characters such as Pokemon and Hello Kitty may instantly spring to mind when people think about Japanese culture, something which may not be considered is the Japanese love for the music of Beethoven.

Writing for a blog in the LA Times, David Ng notes that every country has its own "weird obsessions" - and Japan is no different.

"But perhaps most peculiar of all is the Japanese passion for Beethoven's Symphony No 9, especially the "Ode to Joy" passage of the fourth and final movement," he goes on to say.

Mr Ng states that performing the extract from the piece has been an amateur pastime in Japan for more than 50 years.

As well as this, the tune can often be heard in Japan's famous karaoke bars or as the ringtone on people's mobile phones, he says.

Several new Hello Kitty iPhone applications were recently released to celebrate the 35th birthday of the Sanrio cartoon character.

Written by Kimberley Smith