European Association for Japanese Studies

Prof. Dr. Urs Matthias ZACHMANN


The European Association of Japanese Studies is one of the key professional organizations 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, I have witnessed the continuous growth and diversification of activities within the EAJS. Thus, I have had hands-on experience of how the EAJS supports its members not only through the organization of the tri-annual conferences in Europe (and, more recently, also in Japan), but equally important through the organization of annual PhD workshops, publication workshops and the awarding of Toshiba International Foundation Fellowships.

As Treasurer, I would like to continue our activities in these fields by assuring a sound financial viability, particularly under these somewhat unusual circumstances. The continuity of the Berlin office of the EAJS and the accumulated expertise there will be an invaluable asset in the smooth transition of the Treasurer’s office and in guaranteeing the consistency of our strategy. Thus, I will assume the task to oversee the financial and legal status of the society and deal with related tax issues, while corresponding with our funding partners. While acknowledging person-to-person dialogue as the default mode, I would like to explore additional ways of scholarly exchange and engagement through exploring digital means that would enable more flexibility and inclusivity in terms of time and travel.

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’ 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 History and Culture at Freie Universitaet (FU) Berlin since 2016. Prior to that, he was the inaugural Handa Professor of Japanese-Chinese Relations at the University of Edinburgh (2011-2016). Previous appointments include: Assistant Professor at the Japan Centre of Munich University (LMU) and acting full professor at Heidelberg University (2010-2011). 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 history of Modern Japan, particularly its diplomatic history (with a focus on Sino-Japanese relations) and cultural and legal history (focusing on Japan’s engagement with international law during the nineteenth and twentieth century). 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.

Zachmann, Urs Matthias. 2009/2011. China and Japan in the Late Meiji Period: China Policy and the Japanese Discourse on National Identity, 1895-1904. London: Routledge.