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Julia Mariko Jacoby


Julia Mariko Jacoby, M.A.

Former Lecturer

Office: 4425, KG IV

Office Hours

Telephone: 0761/203-3418

Email: mariko.jacoby@uni-due.de

Current Profile: Project "Cultures of Compromise"


Doctoral Project

Disaster Prevention in Japan 1885-1978: Natural Disasters, Scientific Expertise and Global Transfers of Knowledge

Located on the Pacific Rim and surrounded by the Pacific and Japanese Seas, Japan has both profited from the resources of the ocean and suffered from its dangers. With industrial modernity and urbanization magnifying the risk of large-scale natural disasters, disaster preparedness became increasingly viewed as vital to success on the global stage.

Around 1900, Japan became an internationally trusted source for disaster-related knowledge, especially concerning earthquakes and tsunamis. On the other hand, Japan imported European and American scientific knowledge concerning flood control and coastal protection. In the 1920s and 1930s, Japanese society began to develop a national disaster preparedness system, which relied heavily on scientific and expert knowledge. Firstly, natural disasters were fought by altering urban and rural environments with the means of urban planning, earthquake engineering and civil engineering. Secondly, the Japanese state institutionalized disaster response and tried to engage the population via disaster trainings and education in schools. Disaster preparedness developed heavily influenced by wartime air defense, while disasters provided a smoke screen for war preparations. After World War Two, the Japanese state concentrated on building environments that were supposed to be both safe and profitable. The disaster preparedness system was finally institutionalized by the Basic Act of Disaster Control Measures in 1961.

This project traces how natural disasters influenced Japanese society, what strategies were implemented to prepare against them, and how they were influenced by political settings at the time. The Japanese case is set into a global context and takes the global circulation of disaster knowledge into account by asking which knowledge was selected for dissemination and how it was adapted to the natural environment.


Research Interests

  • Historical Disaster Research
  • Japanese History (Nineteenth and Twentieth Century)
  • History of Science
  • Environmental History
  • Urban History


Employment History

  • Since 02/2022
    Research Associate (Wissenschaftliche Mitarbeiterin), Project "Cultures of Compromise", Chair of Social and Economic History, University of Duisburg-Essen
  • 04/2021 07/2021
    Research Associate and Lecturer (Wissenschaftliche Mitarbeiteren), Chair of East Asian History, Albert-Ludwig University of Freiburg, Germany
  • 05/2017 – 10/2019
    Predoctoral Fellow, Max Planck Institute for the History of Science, Germany
  • 04/2015 – 09/2015
    Research Fellow, Leibniz Programme “Global Processes”, University of Constance, Germany
  • 01/2014 – 03/2015
    Research Associate and Lecturer, Chair of East Asian History, Albert-Ludwig University of Freiburg, Germany
  • 01/2010 – 04/2010
    Intern, Buchenwald Concentration Camp Memorial, Germany
  • 01/2007 – 07/2007
    Research Assistant, Chair of Non-European History, Albert-Ludwig University of Freiburg, Germany



  • Since 10/2014
    Doctoral Candidate in Modern and Contemporary History, Albert-Ludwig University of Freiburg, Germany
  • 04/2019 – 07/2019
    Fieldwork for PhD Thesis, University of Tokyo, Japan
  • 10/2015 – 03/2017
    Fieldwork for PhD Thesis, Osaka University, Japan
  • 10/2004 –  07/2013
    “Magister Artium” (Master), Albert-Ludwig University of Freiburg, Germany
    Major: Modern and Contemporary History, Minors: Geology and Latin
  • 10/2006 – 04/2013
    Staatsexamen (State Examination for Teachers), Albert-Ludwig University of Freiburg, Germany
    Majors: History and Latin


Grants and Scholarships

  • 04/2019 – 07/2019
    Short Term PhD Scholarship, German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD), fieldwork for PhD Thesis at the university of Tokyo, Japan
  • 07/2017
    Conference Travel Grant, DAAD, for participation at the International Conference for the History of Science and Technology, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
  • 10/2015 – 03/2017
    Japanese Govermnent (MEXT) Scholarship, fieldwork for PhD thesis at the University of Osaka, Japan
  • 10/2011
    PROMOS scholarship, DAAD, fieldwork for master thesis in Japan
  • 09/2007 – 08/2008
    Scholarship of the the state of Baden-Württemberg (Baden-Württemberg-Stipendium), study abroad at Ritsumeikan University in Kyoto, Japan


Journal Articles

  • "Learning from the Earthquake Nation: Japanese Science Diplomacy in the 20th Century," Journal of Contemporary History (forthcoming 2021).
  • “Tsunami Research and Preparedness in the Pacific in the 20th Century,” in Oceanic Japan, ed. Ian J. Miller, Nadin Heé, Stefan Hübner, and Bill Tsutsui (Honolulu: University of Hawai’i Press, forthcoming 2021).
  • “The Tennessee River Authority goes Japan. A river’s way into the Anthropocene,” Anthropocene Curriculum (10.12.2019), https://www.anthropocene-curriculum.org/contribution/the-tennessee-valley-authority-goes-japan-a-rivers-way-into-the-anthropocene.
  • Taiheiyō ni okeru kokusaiteki na tsunami bōsai taisei no seiritsu [The Establishment of an International Tsunami Prevention System in the Pacific], in: Shigaku Zasshi 127, 6 (2018), S. 64-82.
  • Die Katastrophe als Medienereignis. Die Darstellungen von Erdbebenkatastrophen in japanischen „Katastrophenpublikationen“ von 1662-1923, in: Fleischer, Carolin / Schenk, Sabine (Hrsg.): 2. Forum für literaturwissenschaftliche Japanforschung. Arbeitspapiere. 16. und 17. Mai 2014, München 28. Januar 2015, , S. 11-17.


Book Reviews


  • Jacoby, Julia Mariko: Rezension zu: Linke, Konrad: Das Tulare Assembly Center. Alltag in einem Lager für Japanoamerikaner im Zweiten Weltkrieg, Trier 2014, in: H-Soz-Kult, 02.10.2015, www.hsozkult.de/publicationreview/id/rezbuecher-23471.




  • Saaler, Sven / Spang, Christian W. / Jacoby Mariko (Übers.): Doitsu Tōyōbunka Kenkyūkai (OAG) no higashi ajia kenkyū [Die Ostasienforschung der Deutschen Gesellschaft für Natur- und Völkerkunde Ostasiens (OAG)], in: Tajima, Nobuo / Kudo, Akira (Hrsg.): Doitsu to higashi ajia 1890-1945 [Deutschland und Ostasien 1890-1945], Tokyo 2017, S. 699-731.
  • Saaler, Sven / Spang, Christian W. / Jacoby, Mariko (Übers.): Daiichiji sekaitaisengo no nichidoku kankei ni okeru Doitsu Tōyōbunka Kenkyūkai (OAG) no yakuwari [Die Rolle der Deutschen Gesellschaft für Natur- und Völkerkunde Ostasiens (OAG) für die deutsch-japanischen Beziehungen nach dem ersten Weltkrieg], in: Sugita, Yoneyuki (Hrsg.): 1920 nendai no nihon to kokusai kankei. Konton wo koete „atarashii chitsujo“ he [Die internationalen Beziehungen Japans während der 1920er Jahre. Die Überwindung der Konfusion hin zu einer „Neuen Ordnung“], Yokohama 2011, S. 87-122.


Conference and Workshop Papers

  • “Disaster Narratives in Japanese Disaster Publications between Tradition and Modernity, 1662-1923,” Conference ‘Dealing with Disasters: Cultural Representations of Catastrophes, c. 1500-1900,’ Radboud University in Nijmegen, Netherlands, June 17, 2021.
  • “Tsunami Research and Preparedness in the Pacific 1877-1965,” International Conference ‘Oceanic Japan: Environmental Histories of the Archipelago and the Sea,’ Harvard University, USA, January 24, 2020.
  • “Bōsai: Die Geschichte der Katastrophenprävention im modernen Japan,” Ostasienwissenschaftliches Mittagsforum, Ruhr-Universität Bochum, Germany, January 8, 2020
  • “Containing vs. accepting floods: Concepts of river management in Modern Japan,” 10th Biennial European Society for Environmental History (ESEH) Conference, Tallinn, Estonia, August 23, 2019.
  • “Knowledge Adaptation and Disasters in Japan During the First Half of the Showa Period: Flood Control by Multipurpose Dams,” Research colloquium ‘Rekishi to ningen’ [History and humans], Hitotsubashi University in Tokyo, Japan June 1, 2019.
  • “Disasters, preparedness and the adaptation of European urban planning in Japan, 1923-1945,” International Workshop ‘Comparative Studies on the Development of the Modern City in Japan and Europe from the Perspective of Urban Governance, 1905-1935,’ Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, Germany, March 15, 2019.
  • “Tsunami Research and Preparedness in the Pacific 1877-1965,” Workshop ‘Knowledge, Materiality, and Environment in Transpacific Histories of Oceanic Transformation,’ Freie Universität Berlin, Germany, April 12, 2019.
  • “Postwar Typhoons and the Reshaping of Japan’s Environment,” RIHN 13th International Symposium, Research Institute for Humanity and Nature (RIHN), Kyoto, Japan, December 13, 2018.
  • “Learning from the Earthquake Nation: Japanese Seismology and Science Diplomacy in the first half of the 20th century,” Workshop ‘Governing Environmental Change: Science Diplomacy and the Global Politics of Knowledge since the 19th century,’ Freie Universität Berlin, Germany, November 16, 2018.
  • “Global Disaster Preparedness? Scientific Cooperation in Tsunami Research in the 20th Century,” European Society for the History of Science Biennial Conference 2018 in conjunction with the British Society for the History of Science, University College London, United Kingdom, September 15, 2018.
  • “Umweltgestaltung und Wissensadaption. Die Einführung der systematischen Flussregulierung durch Mehrzweck-Talsperren in Japan, 1920-1960,” Zweite Jahrestagung der Gesellschaft für Geschichte der Wissenschaften, der Medizin und der Technik (GWMT), Ruhr-Universität Bochum, Germany, September 13, 2018.
  • “Bōsai: Kanryō und die moderne Form der Katastrophenprävention, ” 17. Deutschsprachiger Japanologentag, Freie Universität Berlin, Germany, August 30, 2018.
  • “Prediction for Planning: How Catastrophism Became Part of Japanese Disaster Policy Making 1892-1978,” Berlin-Brandenburger Colloquium für Umweltgeschichte, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, Germany, May 24, 2018.
  • “Disaster Preparedness in Japan and Global Transfer of Knowledge, 1890-1970,” Colloquium of Japanese Studies, Martin-Luther-Universität Halle-Wittenberg, Germany, November 28, 2017.
  • “Reconstruction, Relocation and Resilience: National and Local Responses to the Shōwa Sanriku Tsunami of 1933,” Exchange Queen Mary University of London–Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg ‘Reconstruction and Reconciliation,’ Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg, Germany, November 25, 2017.
  • “Tsunami, Typhoons and Total War. Mobilizing Japan against Human and Natural Enemies in the 1930s,” Workshop ‘Ecologies of Knowledge and Practice: Japanese Studies and the Environmental Humanities,’ University of Oxford, United Kingdom, October 28, 2017.
  • “Industrialization, Groundwater-related Land Subsidence and Typhoons in 20th Century Osaka,” 5th European Congress on World and Global History ‘Ruptures, Empires, Revolutions,’ Corvinus-University Budapest, Hungary, September 1, 2017.
  • “Globalizing Earthquake Knowledge. Translation and Circulation of Japanese Seismology in the First Decades of the 20th Century,” 25th International Congress of History of Science and Technology, Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, Brasil, July 26, 2017.
  • “‘Bōsai’ ni kansuru kokusaikyōryoku no seiritsu. Tsunami ni kansuru senmonchishiki no fukyū to ‘tsunami’ no kokusaika [The establishment of international cooperation concerning disaster prevention: Circulation of expert knowledge and the internationalization of the ‘tsunami’],” Annual Conference of the Historical Society of Japan, University of Tokyo, Japan, November 13, 2016.
  • “Taishō Shōwa zenki no Nihon no bōsaishi: Saigai kyōiku o chūshin ni [Japanese disaster prevention history of the Taishō and early Shōwa periods: With emphasis on disaster education],” Colloquium of Modern History, University of Fukuoka, Japan, June 11, 2016.
  • “The International Entanglement of Japanese Seismology and Global Translation of Knowledge in the Late 19th and Early 20th Century,” First Global History Student Conference, Freie Universität Berlin, Germany, April 25, 2015.
  • “Der gesellschaftliche Umgang mit dem Großen Kantô-Erdbeben 1923, Wissenskulturen und Expertentum in Japan,” Forschungskolloquium Japan-Zentrum, Ludwigs-Maximilians-Universität München, Germany, June 12, 2014.
  • "Die Katastrophe als Medienereignis. Die japanischen 'Katastrophenpublikationen' im gesellschaftlichen Umbruch 1855-1923," 22. Treffen der Initiative für Historische Japanforschung, Universität Tübingen, November 2, 2013.

Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg
Historisches Seminar
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