Days after the customs authorities at Frankfurt airport returned a confiscated Guarnerius to Yuzuko Horigome, the same group of officers have grabbed a Strad belonging to the Dresden concertmaster Yuki Manuela Janke and demanded a $1.5 million ransom.
This would be an outrageous abuse of powers, if it weren’t also tainted with the suspicion of racism. Why is it that Japanese players are being picked on in Frankfurt? Is it because hardline German civil servants think they are unfit to play precious Cremona instruments? The question needs to be asked, and an official answer is required. I hope German politicians will demand it.
Yuki, 26, is a German citizen with a German father and Japanese mother. She took third prize in the 2007 Tchaikovsky Competition and is one of Germany’s rising orchestral stars. Her violin is owned by the Nippon Foundation, which will doubtless act swiftly to reclaim its asset and restore it to the unfortunate artist.
Meanwhile, here’s a red-flag warning to string players: avoid Frankfurt airport where possible.
UPDATE: Why won’t the Germans report this story?