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Sven Saaler

Background and Activities

I am a historian of modern Japan teaching at Sophia University in Tokyo. As an academic, my main interests are the foreign relations of modern Japan and Japan’s place in the world with a particular focus on East Asian regionalism.

Closely related to these historical issues, I have also explored the legacies of Japan’s history in the twentieth century. Addressing how history is discussed in contemporary society, I have written extensively on monuments, museums and memorials and how they portray the history of colonialism and war. In total, I have written and edited more than twenty books, almost a hundred articles, several encyclopedia entries and many columns and commentaries on topical issues. I have written articles in German, English and Japanese, and some of my publications have been translated into French, Korean, Chinese and Turkish. My academic work also includes half a dozen of exhibitions on historical topics.

I also have been serving on a number of editorial and advisory boards. Currently, I am a member of the board of the National Institutes of the Humanities (NIHU) of Japan, a member of the editorial board of the German East Asiatic Society of Japan (OAG), and a member of the editorial board of Japan Focus/The Asia-Pacific Journal.

I have appeared in and written for a variety of media outlets, including CNN, NHK (Japan), Deutsche Welle TV (Germany), ARD (German TV and radio), ZDF (German TV), BBC, the news agencies AP (US), Reuters (UK), dpa (Germany) and Kyodo (Japan) as well as the newspapers Asahi Shinbun, Süddeutsche Zeitung, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (FAZ), Die Welt, Japan Times, Handelsblatt, taz and a number of Japanese regional newspapers. I also have written columns for Asahi, Kyodo, IPG,, the online journal “Article 9.” Podcasts I have participated in can be found here.

Since 2008, I have been facilitating political exchange between Germany, Japan and other East Asian countries. During the visits of German Federal President Steinmeier to Japan in 2018 and 2019, I had the pleasure to hold a briefing on recent developments in Japan, and during the visit of German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas , I organized a lecture by the minister and chaired the Q&A session. I regularly set up informal talks between German and Japanese members of parliament and organize conferences on topical issues.

© Sven Saaler / Sophia University

To access some of my publications, please visit the site (with direct links to publications available in full text).

To access my CV, please click on one of the buttons on the right.

Some examples of my media activities.