European Association for Japanese Studies

Prof. Dr. Urs Matthias ZACHMANN


The European Association of Japanese Studies is one of the key professional organisations in the field of Japanese Studies. This applies to Europe, of course, but increasingly so also to academic communities in Japan, or the US. Being a member of the council since 2014 and holding the office of Treasurer since 2020, I have witnessed the continuous growth and diversification of activities within the EAJS, such as the organization of the tri-annual conferences in Europe (and, more recently, also in Japan), but equally important the organisation of annual PhD workshops, publication workshops and the awarding of Toshiba International Foundation Fellowships.

Being re-elected as Treasurer, I would like to continue supporting these activities by assuring their financial viability while also maintaining and strengthening the fiscal stability of the association as a whole. Having conducted research, and worked in different academic cultures, I would like to further strengthen cooperation of Japanese Studies communities in Europe. Moreover, as my own research is interdisciplinary and also strongly relates to other fields in Asian Studies, I would like to work towards the further strengthening of the Society’s ties with outside disciplines and their societies, but also encourage cooperation with and among scholars of Japan in East Asia.

Curriculum Vitae

Urs Matthias Zachmann is Professor of Modern Japanese Culture and History at Freie Universitaet Berlin. Previous appointments include: Assistant Professor at the Japan Centre of Munich University (LMU) and acting full professor at Heidelberg University (2010-2011) and the inaugural Handa Professor of Japanese-Chinese Relations at the University of Edinburgh (2011-2016). He holds a PhD in Japanese Studies from Heidelberg University (2006) and has completed his Habilitation at Munich University (LMU) in 2010. In a second course of training he has qualified as a judge and advocate in the German legal system (2nd State Exam 2002, with distinction). Zachmann has spent extended periods of research in Japan (German Institute for Japanese Studies (DIJ), Waseda, Keiō University, Tokyo University) and the US (Harvard University). His fields of specialization are the intellectual, legal and diplomatic history of Modern Japan. He currently leads the ERC-funded project (Consolidator Grant) “Law without Mercy: Japanese Courts-Martial and Military Courts During the Asia-Pacific War, 1937-45” as Principal Investigator.

List of selected publications

Zachmann, Urs Matthias. 2018. ‘Loser’s Justice: the Tokyo Trial from the Perspective of the Japanese Defence Counsels and the Legal Community. In: Kerstin von Lingen (ed.), Transcultural Justice at the Tokyo Tribunal: the Allied Struggle for Justice, 1946-48. Leiden: Brill, pp. 284-306.

Zachmann, Urs Matthias. (ed.). 2017. Asia After Versailles: Asian Perspectives on the Paris Peace Conference and the Interwar Order, 1919-1933. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press.

Zachmann, Urs Matthias. 2016. “From Nanking to Hiroshima to Seoul: (Post-)Transitional Justice, Juridical Forms and the Construction of Wartime Memory”. In: Journal of Modern European History 14:4, pp. 568-584.

Zachmann, Urs Matthias. 2013. Völkerrechtsdenken and Außenpolitik in Japan, 1919-1960 (The Japanese discourse on international law and foreign policy, 1919-1960). Baden-Baden: Nomos.

Zachmann, Urs Matthias. 2012. “The Postwar Constitution and Religion“. In: John Nelson and Inken Prohl (eds.), Handbook of Contemporary Japanese Religions. Leiden: Brill, pp. 215-240.