Curriculum vitae

An essay about the coincidences of life.


May 6, 2024


May 6, 2024

Music and all the opportunities in our generation

Until I graduated from high school, I was able to enjoy all the advantages that were given to our generation in the 1970s: Equal opportunities and education for all. I was able to learn to play musical instruments, play in orchestras and sing in choirs until I started university. Unfortunately, I had to realize that I wouldn’t make it into the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra, so I chose an academic career instead of music. I had always been interested in philosophy, but I wanted to learn about what was going on in the world rather than speculating about the world without knowing the “facts” – that was my understanding as a teenager.

Studying at various universities and institutions

I started studying in the 1980s, and I wanted to go as far away as I could imagine in terms of time and space: Japanese Studies, Ancient History, Sinology, Prehistory and Early History (Archaeology) at the universities in Bonn, Tōkyō (Keiō), the “Reimeikan” Museum in Kagoshima, at Cambridge University (UK), and in Heidelberg. It was fantastic, with so many unfamiliar things, exciting people and experiences. There were scholarships and you got the impression that performance counts. What could be better than doing what you love, giving your best and being recognized for it?

Something “sensible” became really useful

At some point, however, it turned out that it would be better to make myself independent. So I founded a company and sold it a few years later. This allowed me to do what I thought was right, do my doctorate, write my habilitation and pursue my academic career in a way that I could agree with. I wouldn’t have been able to do that if my parents hadn’t insisted that I first learn something “sensible” after leaving school - so I had to put in two years of bank training before my studies, which really paid off when I made this decision later in life.


As you can see from the projects and my research interests, I mainly focused on the prehistory (archaeology) of southern Japan, trying to apply new methods solidly and introduce them to Japan. I was so busy with this that I neglected the other side – publications and public relations in the West – for a long time. But the time I spent with mentors who stood by me during field work and in difficult situations and who showed me opportunities is one of the most valuable things I take away from this time. My university gives me immense freedom, and working with colleagues in Japan and Europe has enriched my life for years and – it looks like it will continue to do so for some years to come.