For Research. For Berlin.

Stefan Keppler-Tasaki

As literary and media scientist, German-Japanese researcher Stefan Keppler-Tasaki has provided internationally highly recognised innovations. He teaches at Asia's best University: the University of Tokyo. As Einstein Visiting Fellow, Keppler-Tasaki has returned to the Friedrich Schlegel Graduate School of Literary Studies at Freie Universität Berlin, a School he himself has helped to build up. In Berlin, Keppler-Tasaki performs fundamental research concerning the Central European observation of great power relations in the Pacific, with a greater focus on the period from 1900 to 1945.

Project Description

“'Transpacifica' is now firing on all cylinders with the appointment of two postdocs: the travel literature researcher Johannes Görbert, who is leaving Bangkok for Berlin, and Tomas Sommadossi from Trento, who has valuable expertise to offer in the fields of film and media. The first 'Transpacifica' scholarship holders have also arrived: PhD student Moe Goto, who has adopted an innovative approach in her study of the Far East motifs employed by Fontane, comes to the Free University from the University of Tokyo, while Gigi Adair, an alumna of the Friedrich Schlegel Graduate School (at the Free University), is working in parallel at the University of Tokyo, where she is pursuing her studies into Chinese and Japanese themes in the works of the bestselling British novelist W. Somerset Maugham.“ 



Please close your eyes for a moment and think about your research project. What do you see at first?
When I close my eyes and think about my work on the research project, the first thing I see are the Japanese kamikaze pilots described by the exiled German novelist Alfred Döblin in his Second World War novel 'Hamlet oder Die lange Nacht nimmt ein Ende' (1956) (Tales of a Long Night).

Please name three things that you spontaneously connect to Albert Einstein!
Albert Einstein makes me think of: Dahlem, old film clips and Thomas Mann.

What do you do first thing in the morning when you arrive at your workplace, and why?
When I arrive at my workplace in the morning, the first thing I do is stare out of my window with its view over western Tokyo and listen to my computer booting up. I find it clears my head.

What would your research project look like if it was a piece of art?
If my research project was a piece of art, it would look like a triangular pendulum suspended from a long thread.

Who or what inspires you at work?
As I work, I am inspired by the design perfection of the cat lying underneath my desk.

(March 2015)