The Japan Society for the Promotion of Science established the Fund for the Promotion of Joint International Research (Fostering Joint International Research) in 2015, primarily aimed at young researchers. I applied for the fund in the initial year and was fortunate enough to be selected to get a chance to conduct research at the Martin Luther University of Halle-Wittenberg (MLU) in Germany for one year.
Halle (Saale) City, in which MLU is located, is a medium-sized city in the area that was formerly East Germany. Ever since the refugee crisis in Europe in 2015, the number of refugees seeking residence in cities in Germany has sharply increased, and I could still feel its aftermath when I travelled to Germany in the spring of 2017. The German public opinion concerning the acceptance of refugees was divided, and xenophobic views were especially prevalent in the eastern part of Germany, but the atmosphere in Halle was comparatively stable, probably due to Halle being a university town (however in the autumn of 2019, after I had returned to Japan, a shooting incident occurred in a synagogue in Halle City, which shocked me greatly).
I was assigned an office in the MLU Institute for History, where Professor Manfred Hettling who accepted me worked, and I spent the first 3 months summarizing my past research, spending most of my time in my office and the university library.
I have continued my research on the expulsion of Germans in the immediate aftermath of World War II. Expulsion here refers to the forced migration of German population from Eastern Europe, including the vast region of East Germany which was ceded to the Soviet Union and Poland after Germany's defeat in World War II. Under the severe circumstances of arbitrary killings, pillaging and sexual violence that had spread far and wide, some 15 million people migrated to Germany. This was over two times the number of Japanese citizens living in Japan's overseas and occupied territories who were repatriated back to Japan during the same period after its defeat in the Pacific War, and is regarded as one of the largest ethnic migrations in world history.
I had written about the expulsion of Germans in my doctoral thesis, but had not compiled my work into a book, so during my stay in Germany, I altered the structure of my doctoral thesis to make it suitable for publication. I made drastic revisions after receiving advice from the historians of MLU. I greatly expanded the range of discourse and delineated the events from the beginning of the migration of German speaking people to Eastern Germany in the German Eastward Expansion during the Middle Ages, the period of World War I when efforts were made to divide land among different ethnic groups through the population transfers following a rise in nationalism and belief in the self-determination of people, to the migration policies for various "races" under Nazi Germany and the resulting genocide of Jewish people, all the way to the reconstruction of regional order after World War II resulting in the unfolding of various population transfers all over Europe (one of which was the expulsion of Germans). In my doctoral thesis, I had only discussed the integration of the people who underwent forced migration into post-war Germany, but by taking into account the long-term developments, the global historical context of this event became clearer to me. The book was published under the title of The "Expulsion" of the German Population from Eastern Europe: Rethinking the History of Population Transfers in the Twentieth Century (Hakusuisha Publishing - 2019) and I was grateful to have it covered in the book reviews of various media like Shukan Dokushojin and Tosho Shimbun, as well as in book review sessions in the Society for the Study of Modern History and the Historical Science Society of Japan.
During my stay in Germany, I gathered valuable insights and experiences both as a researcher as well as a professor. I want to express my heartfelt gratitude to the many professors in the MLU Institute for History, my colleagues in the Faculty of Letters of Chuo University and the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science for giving me this valuable opportunity.
Professor, Faculty of Letters, Chuo University
Areas of Specialization: Contemporary German History, German Studies
In 1997, she graduated from the College of Arts and Sciences, the University of Tokyo.
In 1999, she completed the Master’s Program in the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences in the University of Tokyo.
In 2002, she completed the Doctoral Program in the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences in the University of Tokyo.
She has obtained a PhD. (University of Tokyo)
She served as Project Associate Professor at the Center for German and European Studies in the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, College of Arts and Sciences, the University of Tokyo, Komaba. Associate Professor at the Graduate School of Language and Culture, Osaka University, and Associate Professor in the Faculty of Letters, Chuo University before assuming her current position in 2015. Presently, she is researching population transfers in twentieth century Europe, war reparations and the compensation of war victims in Germany after World War II, memory of war and violence, etc.
Her main written works include The ‘Expulsion’ of the German Population from Eastern Europe. Rethinking the History of Population Transfers in the Twentieth Century (Hakusuisha Publishing – 2019), History Teaching in Germany (Hakusuisha Publishing – 2005), Ian Kershaw’s Hitler (#1) 1889 – 1936: Hubris (Hakusuisha Publishing, 2015; in charge of translation), and more.