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Takuma Melber contributed to exhibition of the German Embassy in Japan



14 September 2021

Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany in Tokyo, in collaboration with the
Japan office of the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung and the Japanese creative branding agency
Eat Creative, is currently hosting the exhibition “
160 Years of German-Japanese Friendship.” The exhibition commemorates the exchanges between Germany and Japan over the past 160 years, highlighting the development of the two nations and their close cooperation in several fields. The exhibition is available both online and in situ: while the trilingual digital exhibition (in Japanese, German, and English) has opened to the public on July 26, 2021, the physical exhibition is expected to travel across Japan and be on display in Osaka, Fukushima, Iwate, and Naruto.


In addition to highlighting security issues, the exhibition focuses on the various elements involved in the long-standing relationship between Germany and Japan over the course of the complex history of the two countries. It consists of three parts, tied together by the theme of “Learning”. The first part, “Learning from Exemplars,” looks back at the period from 1861 to World War I; the second part, “Learning from Hardships,” covers the years from 1914 to 1945; lastly, “Learning from Each Other” dwells on the path that Germany and Japan embarked on from the end of World War II up to the present day.


Dr. Takuma Melber, Historian and coordinator of the
Master’s in Transcultural Studies at the HCTS, contributed the exhibition with an essay titled “German Soldiers in Japanese Wartime Captivity, 1914-1920” and some images from his current research project, the
Digital Tsingtau Archive: German soldiers in wartime captivity during World War I. The project aims to the collection, digitalization, and analysis of private collections of former German combatants who became Prisoners of War (POW) in Japan between the end of 1914 and the spring of 1920 after the fall of Tsingtao.


Amongst the partner institutions and contributors to the exhibit are the Deutsches Institut für Japanstudien (German Institute for Japanese Studies, DIJ), the German Ministry of Defense, staff members of the Deutsche Haus in Naruto (The German House in Naruto, Doitsukan), researchers from the Zentrum für Militärgeschichte und Sozialwissenschaften der Bundeswehr (The Center for Military History and Social Sciences of the German Armed Forces (ZMSBw), as well as well-known scholars of the history of Japanese-German relations, such as Prof. Sven Saaler (Sophia University) and Prof. Christian W. Spang (Daito Bunka University).

Takuma Melber is an Historian by training and the coordinator of the
Master’s in Transcultural Studies at the HCTS. He is also the project leader of "
Digitales Tsingtauarchiv/deutsche Soldaten in japanischer Kriegsgefangenschaft während des Ersten Weltkriegs," which is part of Heidelberg University’s
Field of Focus III (FoF3). In 2016, he published the volume "
Pearl Harbor. Japans Angriff und der Kriegseintritt der USA," recently
translated in English for Polity.