“Because its Japanese developers were determined that it be stretched long enough to contain Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony, a huge seller in Japan” From Thunder in the East: Portrait of a Rising Asia, an interesting book I have a feeling I’ll be quoting more from.
Of course, that answer just prompts another question, which is “Why is Beethoven’s Ninth so popular in Japan?”
Here are some possible answers?
1. “It’s a mystery even for the Japanese why it’s so popular,” Suzuki said. “I think a lot of people in Japan sympathize with Beethoven. He was not a happy person, in constant agony, and that attracts people.”
2. “I’ve heard a lot of theories,” said Kerry Candaele, who is making a documentary on the cultural influence of the Ninth around the world. “Someone told me that it’s the only time that Japanese women are allowed to scream.
“But I think it really has to do with a coming together as equals, of climbing this musical mountain together. In a way, it represents a kind of utopianism.”
Both from this article in the LA Times
Personally, I just think it’s the connection to the New Year. That, of course, poses another question…