Seiji Ozawa was born into a Japanese family living in Manchuria, then an occupied province of China and part of the Empire of Japan; but the family moved to the Japanese islands in 1944 when World War II resulted in the contraction of the empire. Ozawa had begun to study music at the age of seven, and soon showed a preference for Western classical music over Chinese or Japanese music. When he was twelve he began to study Bach with Noburu Toyomasu, and four years later he entered the Toho Gakuen Music School in Tokyo with the intention of training to become a concert pianist. However an accident when playing rugby, in which he broke both his index fingers, compelled him to change his plans and he turned to composition and conducting instead. The most influential teacher with whom he came into contact was Hideo Saito, a central figure in the development of the appreciation and understanding of Western music and musical technique in Japan.