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International Symposium: Repercussions of Globalisation in East Asia

Press Release No. 44/2011
18 February 2011
Historical aspects and future developments – Academic ceremony in honour of Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Seifert

The impact of ongoing globalisation in the three East Asian countries Japan, China and Korea will be the subject of discussion for German and international scientists convening at Heidelberg University’s International Science Forum (IWH) from 25 to 27 February 2011. The conference was organised by the University’s Institute of Japanese Studies and is entitled “Globalization, Identity, and Regional Integration in East Asia, 1861-2011”. It begins on 25 February with an academic ceremony in honour of the Heidelberg Japanese studies scholar Prof Dr. Wolfgang Seifert on the occasion of his retirement. Japanese Consul General Jun’ichi Kosuge will attend the ceremony.

“Globalisation, western influences and the advent of modernity have led to a radical upheaval in East Asia over the last 150 years,” the organisers of the symposium explain. “Today, the East Asian states exert considerable influence on world affairs, both as economic powers and political actors.” The conference sets out to investigate this development 150 years after the conclusion of the first Prussian-Japanese treaty, 70 years after the outbreak of World War II in the Pacific and 20 years after the end of the Cold War. It will also examine the different repercussions of globalisation in Japan, China and Korea, using this as a basis for a prognosis on future structures. The inquiry will hinge on an analysis of the relations between these three countries, which are marked by the interplay of rival and joint interests.

Wolfgang Seifert studied political science, Japanese studies, philosophy and sociology at the Universities of Bonn, Frankfurt am Main and Tokyo. He did his doctorate at Frankfurt University in 1975, following this with habilitation in Japanese studies at Marburg University in 1992. In the same year, he was appointed to the chair of Japanese history and society in Heidelberg. Democracy and nationalism is one of his main research interests, as are interest groups, trade unions and industrial relations in modern Japan. He is also renowned for his translations into German of works by key Japanese social theorists and political scientists like Masao Maruyama, Yoshimi Takeuchi and Takeshi Ishida.

In the course of the ceremony in honour of Wolfgang Seifert on 25 February, social philosopher Prof. Dr. Ken’ichi Mishima of Keizai University in Tokyo will speak on “Japanese Discussions of the Events of 1989 – Between Postmodern Sensitivity and Ethnocentric Naiveté”. The lecture (in German) is open to the public and begins at 1 pm. The venue is the Great Hall of the Old University (Grabengasse 1).

For more information on the IWH symposium “Globalization, Identity, and Regional Integration in East Asia, 1861-2011: Reassessing the Impact of Globalization and the Future of East Asia”, go to

Thomas Büttner
Institute of Japanese Studies
phone: +49 6221 547667

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