CONF: Japan and the Ottoman Empire in the Eye of the European Beholder – A Comparison, Kyoto, June 2019

Japan and the Ottoman Empire in the Eye of the European Beholder
A Comparison
Joint Seminar at Kyoto University

May 31–June 3, 2019

The interdisciplinary joint seminar will compare the perceptions of Japan and the Ottoman Empire in the Holy Roman Empire in a workshop taking place at the University of Kyoto from May 31st to June 3rd, 2019. The research situation is as diverse as the focused regions: In the German-speaking lands research on the perceptions of the Ottoman Empire in the Holy Roman Empire has long been established and is increasingly being promoted. More systematic investigations as well as new methods are being undertaken, which in particular use the new possibilities of digitization and digital humanities: FWF projects “The Mediality of Diplomatic Communication: “Habsburg Envoys in Constantinople in the middle of the 17th Century“, (2017–2021); “Perceptions of the Other in Travelogues 1500–1875 – A Computerized Analysis”, (2018–2021); “Continent Allegories in the Baroque Era”, (2012–2016).

While perceptions of the Ottoman Empire are increasingly being investigated, those of Japan have so far hardly been analyzed. The research interest is recent and first results are published in highly selective studies. The few studies that deal with relations between early modern Japan and Europe focus on the missionary work of the Jesuit order in the 16th and 17th centuries and the work of the Europeans in the wake of the Dutch East India Company in the 17th and 18th centuries in Japan. The Joint Project “Japan on the Jesuit Stage: German-speaking Areas and Beyond” (2017–2019) shows the added value of such international projects as well as their necessity.
Within the framework of the joint seminar, the varied material basis of these projects, ranging from diplomatic correspondence to travelogue to sculptural and visual sources, will now be presented comparatively in view of the articulated perceptions of the Ottoman Empire and Japan. Through their systematic and comparative study, the mechanisms of perceptions of otherness and its representations in the Holy Roman Empire can be analyzed much more clearly than before.

Ultimately, the joint seminar will enable a deepening of scientific cooperation between Japan and Austria as well as further development of methods and results of each participants. The importance of the seminar also lies in the challenges of today. Each of us is constantly confronted with diversity due to global phenomena such as globalization and international migration. The analysis of the treatment of otherness in the past offers historical orientation for today and tomorrow.

The Joint Seminar is financed cooperatively by the Austrian Science Funds FWF and the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS).

Organisation | Contact:

  • Ass. Prof. Haruka Oba (Kurume University) |
  • Prof. Arno Strohmeyer (Austrian Academy of Sciences, Vienna and University of Salzburg) |
  • Dr. Marion Romberg (Austrian Academy of Sciences, Vienna) |
  • Dr. Doris Gruber (Austrian Academy of Sciences, Vienna |


JUNE 1 – Opening

12:30–13:00 Registration

13:00–13:10 Welcome
Haruka OBA – Kurume University
Marion ROMBERG – Austrian Academy of Sciences

Historiography in Japan and Austria
Yoshihisa HATTORI – Kyoto University

“Otherness” as a Category for the Historical Research of Interculturality in Early Modern Times
Arno STROHMEYER – Austrian Academy of Sciences and University of Salzburg

14:05–14:15 Short Break

Panel I: Jesuits and their World Mission
Chair: Michael HARBSMEIER – Roskilde University

Perceiving Religion and Politics as Interrelated Strands of Encountering Non-European Others
Tobias WINNERLING – University Düsseldorf

Implacable Tyrants and Cold Scythians: Japanese and Turkish Antagonists in Jesuit School Literature
Akihiko WATANABE – Otsuma Women‘s University, Tokyo

15:45–16:00 Coffee Break

Panel II: Exotism in Theatre
Chair: Hitomi Omata RAPPO – Sophia University (PD), Tokyo

The Ottoman Empire as Presented by European (Music) Theatre
Michael HÜTTLER – Don Juan Archive, Vienna

The Depiction of Japanese Villains in Jesuit Drama  
Haruka OBA – Kurume University



Panel III: Otherness in Travelogues
Chair: Michael HÜTTLER – Don Juan Archive, Vienna

Japan and the Ottoman Empire in Travelogues. New Possibilities of Semi-Automatized Text Analysis
Doris GRUBER – Austrian Academy of Sciences

Comparing Hospitalities: What Travel Accounts can tell us about the Modes of Interaction with Visitors and Strangers in Various Civilisations
Michael HARBSMEIER – Roskilde University

10:30–10:45 Coffee Break

Panel IV: Circulating Knowledge by Images and Goods
Chair: Tobias WINNERLING – University Düsseldorf

Curious Goods and Merchant’s Stories. On the Role of Merchandise in Early Modern European Perceptions of Japan 
Susanne FRIEDRICH – LMU Munich

The ‚East‘ in South German Parish Churches in the 18th Century 
Marion ROMBERG – Austrian Academy of Sciences

12:15–13:30 Lunch Break

Panel V: Beyond the German Speaking Lands
Chair: Doris GRUBER – Austrian Academy of Sciences 

Japan and the Orient in Early Modern France – A ‚Living Antiquity“?
Hitomi Omata RAPPO – Sophia University (PD), Tokyo

“How to Convert the Heathens“: Japanese Image of the Dutch Reformed Theologian Johannes Hoornbeck (1617–1666) 
Genji YASHURI – Musashi University (PD), Tokyo

15:00–15:15 Coffee Break

Arno STROHMEYER – Austrian Academy of Sciences and University of Salzburg  
Haruka OBA – Kurume University

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