Urs Matthias Zachmann - Biography#

Urs Matthias Zachmann is Professor of History and Culture of Modern Japan at Freie Universität Berlin (since October 2016). He studied law at the University of Hannover, Germany, from 1991 to 1998 and qualified as a lawyer in Germany (first legal state exam 1998; second, with distinction, 2002). From 1993 to 2000, he was also enrolled in the University of Heidelberg’s East Asian Studies program and received his MA (2000) and PhD (2006) in Japanese Studies from the University of Heidelberg. He received the prestigious scholarship of the Studienstiftung des Deutschen Volkes (German National Academic Foundation) for his doctoral dissertation in 2002, as well as a PhD scholarship at the German Institute for Japanese Studies (DIJ) in Tokyo from 2002 to 2003. In 2010, he completed his Habilitation in Japanese Studies at the University of Munich (2010). For his theses, he conducted extensive research at Waseda University, Harvard University, the University of Tokyo and Seikei University.

In 2006, he became Assistant Professor at Munich University, followed by an appointment in October 2010 as Acting Full Professor at Heidelberg University. In October 2011, Zachmann assumed the position of inaugural Handa Chair in Japanese-Chinese Relations at the University of Edinburgh (until Sept. 2016). While at Edinburgh, Zachmann set up and supervised the MSc in East Asian Relations and acted as Head of Department for Asian Studies (2012-2015).

His fields of specialisation are Japan’s political, cultural and intellectual history, the history of international relations in East Asia (with a special focus on Chinese-Japanese relations), the development of international law in East Asia. Zachmann has published an award-winning monograph on Sino-Japanese relations in the late Meiji/Qing period (Routledge, 2009). His second book on the development of international legal discourse in 20th century Japan has been published this year.

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