Little Bremen in Japan

By now, I am convinced that for every single area in the world exists an equivalent mini version somewhere in Japan. Recently, I came across the mini-version of the German city of Bremen, in the form of “Bremen street” (ブレーメン通り) in Moto-Sumiyoshi, Kawasaki.

The entrance of Bremen street.

If you are wondering why Bremen, it turns out that the city is the destination of a company of elderly domesticated animals, that can no longer work on their usual jobs. In this Grim Bros fairytale, a donkey, a dog, a cat and a rooster decide to head to the city of freedom i.e. Bremen, in order to live the rest of their lives as town musicians. The fairytale served as inspiration for the statue of the animals in a cheerleader kind of formation (“Die Bremer Stadtmusikanten”), which in turn served as inspiration to the decoration of the main street in Motosumiyoshi.

The shopping street of Motosumiyoshi was named “Bremen street” in 1989, an event celebrated with the First Bremen Music Festival. 10 years later in 1998, Lloyd Passage (a shopping mall in Bremen) and the States of Bremen donated the town musicians statue to the shopping district. Motosumiyoshi is accessible via either Meguro or Toyoko line of Tokyu lines. As soon as you step out of the station, you are greeted by the town musicians’ statue. Since we are now in covid-era, the bronze animals are also equipped with masks.

Map of the Bremen Str. shopping area

Apart from three (or more) versions of the Stadtmusikanten and the big arches hovering above the entrance of the street, not much else is reminiscent of Bremen or Germany for all it matters. The community center has another statue sent from Germany at its entrance and is made with wood and other materials in order to imitate germanic architecture. Every October, the street get livelier than usual due to the Freimarkt festival, an variant of the original Freimarkt of Bremen that is being held annually for almost a full millennium.

More information about the shopping street and events is available here: http://www.bremen-st.com

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