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Prof. Dr. Reinhard Zöllner

Principal Investigator

Reinhard Zöllner

University of Bonn
Institute of Oriental and Asian Studies (IOA)
Department of Japanese and Korean Studies
Brühler Straße 7
D-53113 Bonn
Phone: +49 / (0)228 / 73 4848


Current Position

Director of the Department of Japanese and Korean Studies
Professor of Japanese Studies


Reinhard Zöllner is concerned with the role of slavery and slave trade in early modern East Asia. In the 15th to 17th centuries, pirate activities and warfare resulted in the enslavement and trading of considerable numbers of Koreans and Chinese. Slavery was still a common institution in Choseon Korea until the 19th century, whereas in China and Japan, it was almost absent. Recent research indicates that deserting slaves tried to escape to Japan by sea but were "repatriated“ to Korea without the Japanese authorities inquiring about their status. On the other side of the coin, Koreans who had been abducted to Japan in the wars of the late 16th century were used as forced laborers until their repatriation was negotiated between the two governments. Zöllner's focus will be on the relationship between international politics and slavery.

9 books, 9 edited volumes, 67 papers and various book reviews. 200 national and international presentations and lectures, 15 completed, 5 ongoing Ph.D. supervisions.


  • 1997                      Habilitation and Venia legendi in Japanology, University of Trier, Germany
  • 1988–1992            Ph.D., University of Kiel, Germany
  • 1981–1988            MA in Latin, History, and Japanology University of Kiel (Germany), University of Hamburg (Germany),
                                  Sophia University Tokyo (Japan)

Academic Positions

  • 2008–present        Professor of Japanese Studies, Department of Japanese and Korean Studies, University of Bonn, Germany
  • 2003–2004            Toyota Visiting Professor, Center for Japanese Studies, University of Michigan, USA
  • 1999–2008            Professor of East Asian History, Chair of East Asian History, University of Erfurt, Germany
  • 1997–1999            Professor of Economic and Social History of Modern Japan, Department of Japanology, University of Halle-
                                  Wittenberg, Germany
  • 1990–1997            Lecturer, Department of Modern Japanese Studies, University of Düsseldorf, Germany

Additional Academic Activities

  • 2010–present        Co-editor of the journal “Crossroads – Studies on the History of Exchange Relations in the East Asian World”
  • 2009–present        Member of the scientific advisory board of the journal “Historische Mitteilungen” of the Ranke Society
  • 2005–present        External reviewer for approximately 30 historical and Japanese appointment procedures at German,
                                  Belgian and French universities
  • 2000–present        Co-editor of the series “Reihe zur Geschichte Ostasiens
  •                               Reviewer for national and international research organizations and foundations

Third-Party Funding

  • DFG (newspaper project since 2010)
  • German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) (joint projects since 2005)
  • Japan Foundation
  • Japanese Foundation for the Promotion of Science
  • Korea Foundation
  • North East Asia History Foundation

Total sum of approximately 1.4 million euros.

Selected Publications

  • Doitsugo Essei Mein liebes Japan! [My Dear Japan!]. Tōkyō 2015.
  • With M. Eggert, G. Müller-Saini (eds.): Ostasien in Geschichte und Gegenwart. Eine Einführung für den Unterricht. [East Asia in History and Present Time. An Introduction for Teaching]. Schwalbach 2014.
  • Geschichte Japans. Von 1800 bis zur Gegenwart. [The History of Japan. From 1800 to the Present]. Stuttgart 2013.
  • Higashi Ajia no Rekishi, sono Kōchiku. Tōkyō 2011.
  • Japan. Fukushima. Und wir. Zelebranten einer nuklearen Erdbebenkatastrophe. [Japan. Fukushima. And Us. Celebrants of a Nuclear Earthquale Disaster]. Munich 2011.
  • With Yoshio Nakamura: Culture and Contents – Understanding Contents Business in Japan and the World. Munich 2010.
  • Einführung in die Geschichte Ostasiens. [Introduction to the History of East Asia]. Munich 2009.
  • Japans Karneval der Krise: Ējanaika und die Meiji-Renovation. [Japan’s Carnival of Crisis: Ējanaika and the Meiji Renovation]. Munich 2003.
  • Japanische Zeitrechnung: Ein Handbuch. [Japanese Calendrical Calculation. A Handbook]. Munich 2003.
  • Die Ludowinger und die Takeda. Feudale Herrschaft in Thüringen und Kai no kuni. [The Ludovingians and the Takeda. Feudal Rule in Thuringia and Kai no kuni]. Bonn 1995.
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