ハナベルツ記念日本庭園 Bälz Japanese Garden
Dr. Ervin Bälz was invited by the Japanese government to bring German medical science to Japan. When Masumi Schmidt-Muraki, a Japanese woman living in Munich, interviewed Hana Bälz, the doctor’s wife, who was also born in Japan, she learned of the doctor’s sympathy and sadness regarding the tragedy that happened between Germany and the Czech town of Karlovy Vary (Carlsbad) at the end of the World War II (all German citizens were forcibly expelled, in accordance with the Potsdam Agreement). Mrs. Schmidt-Muraki was inspired to create a Japanese garden in Carlsbad. The aim of this garden was to deepen understanding between Germany and the Czech Republic, as well as between Japan and western countries.
Carlsbad is a city in Bohemia which is famous for its hot springs. Dr. Bälz encouraged the effectiveness of the hot springs in Japan from a western medical point of view, and encouraged the use of the hot springs in Kusatsu, Gunma prefecture, much as the hot springs in Carlsbad were used. The progress made in developing the Kusatsu hot springs was very much due to the work of Dr. Bälz. The gardening association of Aichi, impressed by his views, decided to support the construction of a Japanese garden in Carlsbad without funding from the local government. The relationship between Aichi and this project was the fact that Toyokawa, Aichi was Hana Bälz’s hometown.
The garden uses the Horai style to represent unity between the Eastern and Western worlds. Two comma-shaped stones stand for these worlds, and a Takarabune (treasure-boat) stands for the ship on which Dr. Bälz traveled to reach Japan. The stone island may also be interpreted as symbolizing his wife, Hana. A triad of stones represents the Amitabha Buddha, a lantern represents the Buddha Shakyamuni, and the way to the Pure Land is represented by the Nigabyakudo (path of two white streams) in the garden. The stone garden lantern, a memorial for the tragedy of World War II, was donated by the town of Kusatsu.