This page is only available in German.

Fellow-Klasse 2018-2019Prof. Dr. Harald Fuess

Arbeitsvorhaben am Marsilius-Kolleg

Health and the State in Japan

My main academic interest in participation in the Marsilius-Kolleg is to broaden and deepen my expertise into the fields of medical history, public health and aging society studies within my primary regional expertise of Japan while drawing on some of my previous work on family, the state as well as history of epidemics, knowledge transfer and consumer society. Japan was the first country to industrialize outside of the Western world and now has achieved one of the highest levels of health and physical well-being as well as being the nation with the world´s greatest longevity. In contrast to other countries like the USA, it operates a health and welfare system at rather low cost. In recent decades, the demographic transformation led Japan to be one of the fastest aging societies. “Learning from Japan” in the twenty-first century no longer means Toyota-style manufacturing techniques but to understand how Japan develops solutions to the demographic challenges all societies are facing in the future. Nevertheless, it is surprising that there is a scarcity of research in Europe on the development of Japanese public health and long-term government policy underpinning these transformations. I expect that my exploration of health issues in Japan would benefit from a dialogue with Heidelberg colleagues in the medical and public health fields such as Till Bärnighausen but also colleagues in economics like Axel Dreher, political science, sociology or cultural studies whose main area of geographical expertise is in other parts of the world.  

Porträt Harald Fuess Fellow 2018/19 Hochkant


  • Wirtschafts- und Sozialgeschichte Ostasiens, im Speziellen Japans
  • Geschlecht und Gesellschaft in Japan
  • Studien erforschen derzeit Themen wie internationaler Waffenhandel, Vertragshafengesellschaften, konsularische Gerichtsbarkeit, weltweite Epidemien, diplomatische Streitigkeiten über Markenschutz, die Rolle der mehrsprachigen Presse, transkulturelle Fusionen in Konsumkulturen



  • 1995 Ph.D. in History, Harvard University.
  • 1992-94 Visiting Ph.D. Student at Tokyo University.
  • 1991 M.A. in History, Harvard University.
  • 1990 B.A. in History and East Asian Studies, Princeton University.
  • 1988-89 Visiting Undergraduate Student Sophia University, Tokyo.
  • 1986 Abitur, Lessing-Gymnasium, Frankfurt am Main, Germany.


  • 2009-now. Heidelberg University, Professor of Cultural Economic History, Cluster of Excellence “Asia and Europe in a Global Context”
  • 2007-2009. Sheffield University, Director of Graduate Studies and Fellow at the White Rose Centre of East Asian Studies
  • 2001-2007. Sophia University, Tokyo, Associate Professor of Modern Japanese History
  • 2000-2001. Boston Consulting Group, Frankfurt, Consultant, Financial Services Practice
  • 1995-2000. German Institute of Japanese Studies (DIJ) Tokyo, Research Fellow

Ausgewählte Publikationen


2004. Divorce in Japan: Gender, Family, and the State. Authored. Stanford University Press. Book reviewed over 25 times in four languages.
2005. „Men in the Women's Kingdom: Fatherhood in Taishô Japan.“ In Public Spheres, Private Lives in Modern Japan 1600-1950. Edited by Gail Lee Bernstein, Andrew Gordon, and Kate Nakai. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, pp. 259-292.
2014. „Adultery and Gender Equality, 1868-1948.“ Chapter 5 In Law and Gender in the Japanese Imperium. Edited by Susan Burns and Barbara Brooks. Hawai'i University Press, pp. 109 - 135
2014. „The Hesperia Incident 1879, Cholera Quarantine Regulations and Extraterritoriality in Japan” in Japan Review 27: 103-140
2016. Harald Fuess. „Does Taste Matter in History? Making Sense of the History of the Senses“ in How to Learn? Nippon/Japan as Object, Nippon/Japan as Method edited by Christopher Craig, Enrico Fongaro and Akihiro Okazaki (Mimesis International), pp. 199-215.
2016. E. Meyer & Co. at the Eastern Frontiers of Capitalism: The Leading Western Merchant House in Korea, 1884-1914“ In Journal of Business History Vol. 62:1 (April), 3-30.
Meiji Restoration in a Global Context, Cambridge University Press edited volume under review. Includes chapters by H. Fuess on „Endemic Violence, Global Arms Trade, and the Meiji Restoration.“
Beer in East Asia: A Transcultural History of Corporate Capitalism and Consumer Culture. Cambridge University Press (authored monograph submission expected by spring 2018)
“Unequal Treaties, Consular Jurisdiction, and Treaty Port Society” in Handbook of Modern Japanese History Sven Saaler and Chris Szpilman (Routledge 2018), pp. 47-61.
“Das Ringen um Staatliche Souveränität und das Wirtschaftsrecht des Stärkeren: Europa und der Markenschutz in Japan und Ostasien, 1884-1923.“ Zeitschrift für japanisches Recht 2017 (German article on the history of trade mark, counterfeiting and diplomacy in East Asia)


Prof. Dr. Harald Fuess

Heidelberg Center for Transcultural Studies
Ruprecht-Karls-Universität Heidelberg
E-Mail: fuess@uni-heidelberg.de