The German-Japanese literature and media scholar Stefan Keppler-Tasaki from the University of Tokyo has opened up internationally acclaimed research perspectives in the areas of interculturality and intermediality. As an Einstein Visiting Fellow, he has been building bridges between Berlin and Tokyo research institutions since 2015. At the Friedrich Schlegel Graduate School of Literary Studies at the Freie Universität Berlin, he works on the Central European Trans-Pacific Discourse and on German-Japanese cultural contacts.
“Transpacifica“ looks at great power relations on the Pacific examining German speaking sources. The focus is on relations between China, Japan and the United States during the period of the two world wars. It shows a broad discourse historically range of ideas about the new world order and the future role of Europe. In cooperation with the Japanologist Irmela Hijiya-Kirschnereit of the Freie Universität and the Mori Ôgai Memorial at the Humboldt-Universität, the project has opened up links between Berlin and the new international research direction of Asian German Studies. Among the projects work results belong the book series “Reception Cultures“, the framework topic “German-Japanese Comparative Literature“ of the Yearbook for International German Studies as well as the annual German-Asian Study Day “Literary Studies“ at the Mori-Ôgai Memorial. “Transpacifica“ has promoted the careers of successful young researchers, such as Tomas Sommadossi, Johannes Görbert, Géraldine Rademacher and Hosung Lee, who have given important new impetus to this field of research.
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.