Japanese Studies

History and profile

1943 to 1945
The beginning of Japanese Studies in Tübingen

Otto Kurz held the first lectures on Japanese culture and society.

Summer semester 1952
The first courses in Japanese Studies were offered.

Christoph Kaempf and Matsunobu Keiji taught courses in Japanese language and literature.

Summer semester 1960
A regular program of study was created.

Japanese Studies was incorporated into the Seminar for Oriental Philology.

Summer semester 1966
Inge-Lore Kluge was appointed academic assistant in the Department of Japanese Studies.

In 1969, she completed the first habilitation at the University of Tübingen in Japanese Studies.

Winter semester 1971/72
Fritz Opitz took the position of academic assistant.

A Department of Japanese and Korean Studies was established in the Seminar for East Asian Philology.

As of 1973
Fritz Opitz took the position of acting director of the Department of Japanese and Korean Studies.

Winter semester 1975/76
The first professorship was established and Roland Schneider (previously at the Free University of Berlin) was appointed.

Roland Schneider remained director of the Seminar until switching to the University of Hamburg in the summer semester of 1983.

Winter semester 1983/84
Klaus Kracht temporarily filled the vacancy left by Prof. Roland Schneider.

1984 to 1995
Prof. Klaus Kracht switched to a newly created professorship for Japanese Studies.

In the fall of 1985, Japanese Studies was taken out of the Seminar for East Asian Philology and established as an independent institute within the Faculty of Cultural Studies.

Winter semester 1989/90
The “Japan College” (Japan-Kolleg) opened its doors.

The educational focus of the Japan College was on modern and contemporary topics.

Winter semester 1991/92
Viktoria Eschbach-Szabo filled a newly established professorship.

The program thereby gained expertise in Japanese linguistics.

Winter semester 1993/94
The Tübingen Center for Japanese Language Studies was established at Doshisha University in Kyoto.

To this day, the Tübingen Center for Japanese Studies at Doshisha University in Kyoto is the only program for German-language Japanese Studies at a Japanese university. Michael Wachutka is director of the program since 2009.

October 1994
A bachelor’s program was first established.

Summer semester 1996
Klaus Kracht went to the Humboldt University in Berlin.

His vacancy was temporarily filled by Olof Lidin in the summer semester 1996 and by Rudolf Hartmann for three semesters as of the summer semester 1997.

Winter semester 1998
Klaus Antoni (formerly in Trier and Hamburg) was appointed to the professorship.

Japanese Studies in Tübingen gained expertise in cultural and religious history.

Winter semester 2000/01
The bachelor’s program in Japanese Studies was renewed.

Shortly thereafter, the master’s program was introduced. In the winter semester 2002/03, the previous postgraduate program was transformed into a conventional certificate program.

Summer semester 2003
A new center for Asian and Oriental research was established within the faculty for cultural studies.

Collaboration between Japanese Studies and related Asian subjects intensified, and interdisciplinary programs of study were developed. Japanese Studies joined with Political Sciences and Chinese Studies in running the interfaculty master’s program Politics and Society of East Asia.

March 2004
Robert Horres (formerly at the University of Bonn) was appointed to a newly acquired professorship.

The program gained expertise in modern and contemporary topics.

2008
The Institute of Asian and Oriental Studies (AOI) was founded.

A new institutional framework was created to reflect increased cooperation among representatives of the Asian and Oriental disciplines. Japanese Studies became an independent department within this institute.

2012
Hans-Dieter Laumeyer (formerly at Deutsche Bank) was appointed honorary professor for Japanese Economics and Economic History.

The department gained activities in areas of financial economics and economic history.

March 2014
Monika Schrimpf was appointed to a new professorship with the focus “Japanese value systems.”

She brought expertise in the areas of Cultural Studies and Gender Studies to the department.

2018
The branch office of Doshisha University, the "Doshisha EU Campus at Tübingen University," was launched.

It is the only overseas office of the renowned Japanese university - and the counterpart to the Tübingen Center for Japanese Studies in Kyoto. The office coordinates academic exchange and cooperation between Doshisha University and the University of Tübingen. In addition, it will establish and support Doshisha's collaborations and activities with other partners in all of Europe.

Today
The Department of Japanese Studies in the Institute for Asian and Oriental Studies is one of the largest research institutions for Japanese Studies in the German-speaking countries.

The department offers an attractive portfolio of study programs and coursework, including a four year bachelor’s program with an integrated year abroad at the Tübingen Center in Kyoto, a master’s program in Japanese Studies, an interdisciplinary master’s program on the politics and society of East Asia, and a doctoral program in conjunction with the Graduate Academy.

A more detailed report about the history of Japanese Studies at Tübingen University may be found here (only in German).