Research Purpose

“An Intersection of People and Books - A Look at Military Knowledge in the 19th Century”

This research focuses on the 19th century, the period during which the Japanese nation-state was formed, and looks at military knowledge from the analytical perspectives of the human networks formed from the global movement of military personnel as well as the translation, distribution, and reception of military books.

In the process of forming a nation-state, while holding positions such as diplomats, politicians, lawyers, and educators, some military personnel participated in cultural exchanges with foreign countries in ways such as studying abroad at military academies, becoming a military attaché to a legation, observing military operations of foreign armies, working as a foreigner overseas, or by becoming a member of a military assistance advisory group. In the political, social, and ideological environment during the transition from the early modern to the modern era of the 19th century, one could say that military personnel at that time were not only “war-fighters”; rather, they were also communicators and mediators of scholarship and knowledge. The topics covered in military books are not limited to military studies in the narrow sense, such as topics including strategies and tactics. Since a broad depth of scholarship and knowledge is needed to conduct a war, these military books cover a wide range of content, such as astronomy, geography, medicine, mathematics, civil engineering/architecture, law, politics, education, music, and art, in terms of contemporary academic disciplines. This multidisciplinary academic knowledge was spread through the movement of military personnel and the translation, distribution, and reception of military books and marked the historic appearance of various fields of academic knowledge being transmitted worldwide.

This research organization has members who specialize in the early modern and modern history of France, Germany, the Netherlands, the Ottoman Empire, the Qing Dynasty, and Japan. We conduct joint research that transcends the spatial framework of the history of each country and the temporal divisions of early modern and modern eras that differ between each country. During the synchronicity of the 19th century, from the global movement of military personnel and military-related books (people and goods), we hope to shed light on military scholarship and knowledge (academic knowledge) and create a new image of world history from a military history perspective. Research conducted in seven languages (Japanese, Chinese, Turkish, Dutch, German, French, and English), can only be achieved through joint research. Through the exchange of information and cooperation between research members, we hope to conduct fruitful joint research. (Shinko Taniguchi)