Nissan Seminar: Under Double Monarchy: Early Hungarian-Japanese Relations in the global setting

Convener(s): Professor Sho Konishi and Dr Mateja Kovacic

Speaker(s): Mr Gergely Tóth, (Tóth Gergely Mátyás)

Presenter: Gergely Toth, Independent researcher, Hungary, Budapest Background:

Gergely Toth holds an MA in Japanese Studies from Gaspar Karoli University of the Reformed Church in Budapest, Hungary. He spent 2 years as a Research Fellow at Waseda University in Tokyo. His interdisciplinary research paper is focusing on the early history of bilateral relations between the hungarian part of the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy and Meiji- and Taisho Japan during the 1869-1913 period. He holds public lectures and various edu-tainment events in Hungary revolving around his research theme.

In recent years, many books, conferences, exhibitions, research papers and events were dealing with the history of bilateral relations between Japan and European countries (mainly, Great Britain, Germany, The Netherlands and France being in the forefront), but unfortunately, the Eastern-European region is still hiding in obscurity in this regard. Despite still lagging behind in research output, the region is slowly catching up, thanks to the recently launched archiving projects and international cooperation between agile researchers. Fortunately, there is also a flattering interest from both academics and non-academics.  In my presentation, I will be using six main themes to relate the history of Hungarian-Japanese relations in the period of 1869 to 1913: (I) History of Modernization; (II) History of Expeditions; (III)History of Travel; (IV) Diplomatic and Economic History; (V) Cultural, Literary and Art History; (VI) theHistory of Ideas and Ideologies.

Particular points of interest in my research:
- abandons the notion of chronological, linear and narrow narrative, instead, a thematical and interdisciplinary approach is prevailing, which might be a better way to introduce the history of bilateral relations to the public
- puts emphasis on microhistory through travelogues and diaries, and the Japan-image appearing within those writings
- due to the fact that Austria-Hungary had very limited colonial experience, the Hungarian or Central European viewpoint on Japan has less colonialistic attitude, which cannot be seen elsewhere
- the fact that Japan and Hungary had started their industrialization almost at very the same time, makes it worth looking into their practices, and strategies - and this can not be analised in any other European-Japanese bilateral relations at that time