17 November 2016, No. 30/2016

Gauck honours political party researcher for contributions to German-Japanese understanding

Germany’s Federal President presents the Siebold Award of the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation to the political scientist Takeshi Kawasaki in Kyoto.

President Joachim Gauck awarded the Japanese political scientist Takeshi Kawasaki the Philipp Franz von Siebold Award 2016 of the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation. It is conferred in recognition of outstanding services to improving mutual understanding of culture and society in Germany and Japan.

Helmut Schwarz, President of the Humboldt Foundation, and Federal President Joachim Gauck with Philipp Franz von Siebold Award Winner Takeshi Kawasaki
Helmut Schwarz, President of the Humboldt Foundation, and Federal President Joachim Gauck with Philipp Franz von Siebold Award Winner Takeshi Kawasaki (from left to right). (Photo: Federal Government/Steffen Kugler)

“Professor Kawasaki’s work is hallmarked not only by its scientific quality but also by its political relevance”, Gauck emphasised during the award ceremony at the University of Kyoto. Takeshi Kawasaki analyses the dynamics and characteristics of politics in Germany and compares party politics in Germany and Japan. “The study - and especially the scholarly study - of such complex processes will become even more important in a world where authoritarian thinking and populist trends are gaining influence”, Gauck said. 

The President of the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, Helmut Schwarz, stressed that “Kawasaki is not only making a contribution to the development of research into party politics; it can also be hoped that the insights he gains from this research will help improve the quality of party politics in both countries.”

The 50-year-old Kawasaki’s interest in political parties dates back to his dissertation which examined the mechanisms in German parties that produce political elites. Over the years he has conducted research at the University of Bonn, the University of Heidelberg and the Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, to name a few. Today Takeshi Kawasaki is Professor of Political Science at Sophia University in Tokyo.

Political scientist Takeshi Kawasaki
Political scientist Takeshi Kawasaki has conducted research at several German universities. (Photo: Humboldt Foundation/Bundespräsidialamt)

The Philipp Franz von Siebold Award is financed by the Federal Foreign Office. The prize is valued at €50,000 and was established and endowed by the President of the Federal Republic of Germany on the occasion of his state visit to Japan in 1978. It is granted annually by the Humboldt Foundation. Siebold Award winners to date include researchers in a wide array of fields such as legal scholars, mathematicians, German specialists, physicians and economists. Approximately 1,700 Humboldt alumni live in Japan.

The Alexander von Humboldt Foundation

Every year, the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation enables more than 2,000 researchers from all over the world to spend time researching in Germany. The Foundation maintains a network of well over 27,000 Humboldtians from all disciplines in more than 140 countries worldwide – including 54 Nobel Prize winners.

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