Prof. Dr. Masahiro Noguchi

Seikei University, Tokyo


Käte Hamburger Kolleg „Recht als Kultur“
Internationales Kolleg für Geisteswissenschaftliche Forschung
Center for Advanced Study in the Humanities “Law as Culture”
Konrad-Zuse-Platz 1-3
53227 Bonn

Telephone: (+49) 228 / 73 540 13
Telefax: (+49) 228 / 73 540 54

Curriculum Vitae

Following his studies in Political Science at Waseda University, Tokyo, Masahiro Noguchi studied Sociology, Political Science and Philosophy at the University of Bonn from 1998 to 2003. There, he completed his doctoral studies under the supervision of Professor Dr. Werner Gephart, with a thesis on “Kampf und Kultur: Max Webers Theorie der Politik aus Sicht seiner Kultursoziologie” (“Clash and Culture: Max Weber’s theory of politics from the perspective of his cultural sociology”). Upon his return to Japan, he assumed teaching obligations at Rikkyo University, Meiji Gakuin University, Yokohama National University and Waseda University. From 2008, Masahiro Noguchi was Associate Professor for Political Science at Gifu University. In 2010, he was then appointed Associate Professor for Political Theory at the Faculty of Law of Ritsumeikan University, Kyoto, before becoming Professor for Political Theory there in April 2013. Since 2017, he has been a professor in the Faculty of Law, Department of Political Science, at Seikei University in Tokyo.

Prof. Dr. Masahiro Noguchi was awarded the Philipp Franz von Siebold Prize by the President of the Federal Republic of Germany Frank-Walter Steinmeier in June 2019. In his speech, the president honoured Noguchi's outstanding scientific work, and paid tribute to Mr. Noguchi as a bridge-builder between the cultures and sciences of Japan and Germany.

Masahiro Noguchi has been associated with the Käte Hamburger Center for Advanced Study in the Humanities "Law as Culture" since his first stay from April 2013 to March 2014. Most recently he has contributed to the Corona volume (In the Realm of Corona Normativities) with an article from a Japanese perspective! From September 2021 to March 2022 he was once again a Fellow at the center.

Research projects

"Translating Human Rights in Asia" (September 2021 to March 2022)

Reception of Weber and his Image of China in the Japanese Humanities (April 2013 to March 2014)

During the process of modernization that set in with the Meiji Restoration, Japan’s image of China shifted. China changed from exemplary civilization to a negative model of anti-modernity. The reception of the works of Max Weber, particularly his study on China, played a certain role in this shift. In Japan, “Confucianism and Taoism” was read as a sketch explaining the backwardness of China.

In light of the economic development of China since the end of the Cold War, however, this explanatory pattern is in need of modification. Simultaneously, Weber’s comparative works on sociology of religion need to be re-read. Masahiro Noguchi is studying discourses on China in the Japanese humanities in the context of the works of Weber, on the one hand, and the reception of Weber himself in Japan, on the other. His study is an attempt to explain two paths to modernity (or perhaps rather “multiple modernities”) in Asia, thereby allowing us to reflect upon the cultural and political conflict in times of globalization.

Research Interests

  • Max Weber’s political theory
  • The reception of Max Weber in Japan
  • Sociology of conflict
  • History of political thought in Japan
  • Otto Kirchheimer and his thesis of the waning of the opposition
  • Theories of bureaucracy (From Max Weber to David Graeber)

Publications (selected)

  • Kampf und Kultur: Max Webers Theorie der Politik aus der Sicht seiner Kultursoziologie, Berlin: Duncker & Humblot 2005 (Jp.: Tōsō to Bunka. Makkusu Uēbā niokeru Bunka-Shyakaigaku to Seiji-Riron, Tokyo: Misuzu Publishing 2006).
  • Universalgeschichtliche Probleme in der japanischen Weber-Diskussion, in: Karl-Ludwig Ay, Knut Borchardt (Eds.): Das Faszinosum Max Weber: die Geschichte seiner Geltung, Munich: UVK 2006.
  • Kanryōsei-Hihan no Ronri to Shinri. Demokurashi no Tomo to Teki (The Logic and Psychology of the Critique of Bureaucracy. Friend and foe of democracy), Tokyo: Chuokoronshinshya 2011.
  • Hikaku no Eitosu. Reisen no Shyuen igono Makkusu Uēbā (The ethos of comparisons. Max Weber’s political theory after the end of the Cold War), Tokyo: Hōsei UP 2011.
  • Makkusu Uēbā no Nihon, Tokyo: Misuzu Publishing, 2013 (Japanese translation of: Wolfgang Schwentker: Max Weber in Japan: Eine Untersuchung zur Wirkungsgeschichte 1905-1995 (Max Weber in Japan: An investigation into the history of impact 1905-1995), Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck 1995).
  • A Weberian Approach to Japanese Legal Culture without the “Sociology of Law”: Takeyoshi Kawashima and his Search for “Universalism,” in: Werner Gephart, Daniel Witte (Hrsg.), Recht als Kultur? Beiträge zu Max Webers Soziologie des Rechts, Frankfurt a/M: Vittorio Klostermann 2017.
  • Shigoto toshiteno Gakumon, Shigoto toshiteno Seiji, Tokyo: Kōdansha, 2018 (Japanese translation of: Max Weber Gesamtausgabe, Abt. I, Bd. 17. Wissenschaft als Beruf 1917/1919 - Politik als Beruf 1919 (MWG I/17), Tübingen: J. C. B. Mohr (Paul Siebeck), 1992).
  • Sontaku to Kanryōsei no Seijigaku (Political study of anticipatory obedience and bureaucracy), Tokyo: Seidosha, 2018.
  • Makkusu Uēbā. Kindai to Kakutōshita Shisōka (Max Weber: a Thinker who struggled with modernity), Tokyo: Chuokoronshinshya, 2020.