World’s Peace Jubilee

On June 18, 1872, the delegation arrived in Boston and visited the World’s Peace Jubilee and International Music Festival. The momentous summer event was organized to celebrate world peace, following the end of both the American Civil War in 1865 and the Franco-Prussian War in 1871. The music festival included concerts by thousands of musicians and numerous orchestras, bands, and choirs. The performances struck a chord with the delegation, and they were deeply impressed by the profusion of voices that found their way into harmony. Kunitake Kume remarked that there was much to be learned about the artful practice of synchronizing hundreds of voices like instruments.

Upon their return to Japan, the delegation remained inspired by the performances they had witnessed in Boston and created the first music education institute in the country. The Musical Investigation Committee, founded in 1879, aimed to modernize musical training and advance the musical fluency of Japanese citizens. The institute would later become the famous Tokyo National Academy of the Arts.


Kume, Kunitake. “THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA.” Japan Rising: The Iwakura Embassy to the USA and Europe, edited by Chushichi Tsuzuki and R. Jules Young, 85. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2009.

Tsutsumi, Mihoko. “A History of The Japan Choral Association.” PhD. diss., Florida State University, 2007.