Portrait of Michael Facius


My name is Michael Facius.

I am a historian working at University College London.

about me

I am a historian of early modern and modern Japan in its regional and global contexts. Currently I work at the Centre for Transnational History, University College London as a British Academy Newton International Fellow. My research interests are in global history, the history of knowledge, historiography, translation studies, and software studies. I received my Dr. phil. from Freie Universität Berlin in 2016. Before moving on to Berlin, I pursued an MA in linguistics, Japanese studies and political science at Bonn University.

über mich

Ich forsche zur modernen und frühmodernen japanischen Geschichte in regionalen und globalen Kontexten. Aktuell arbeite ich als British Academy Newton International Fellow am Zentrum für Transnationale Geschichte, University College London. Meine Forschungsinteressen liegen in den Bereichen Globalgeschichte, Wissensgeschichte, Geschichte der Geschichtswissenschaft, Übersetzungsstudien und Softwarestudien.

Aktuell arbeite ich an einem Forschungsprojekt mit dem Titel "Jenseits von Edo. Transnationale Narrative der 'Frühen Neuzeit' in Japan im 20. Jahrhundert".

Ich wurde 2016 an der Freien Universität Berlin mit einer Arbeit zum Thema "China übersetzen. Chinesisches Wissen und Globalisierung in Japan im 19. Jahrhundert" promoviert. Eine überarbeitete Fassung ist im Dezember 2017 bei Campus erschienen. Zuvor habe ich an der Universität Bonn Allgemeine Sprachwissenschaft, Japanologie und Politikwissenschaft studiert.











I am currently preparing a manuscript titled "Beyond Edo. Narrating the Early Modern in 20th-century Japan". The project engages with the different ways in which Japanese historians, intellectuals, exhibition-makers and people in the tourism business imagined the time and space of an earlier epoch. more »

I am also working on an introduction to software studies, an burgeoning interdisciplinary field that explores software in its cultural, social, economic and political contexts. The book will be published with transcript.

recent and upcoming talks more »

recent publications more »

Cover of my new monograph 'Translating China'

Translating China

Chinese knowledge and globalization in nineteenth-century Japan

In this book, I explore how the field of Chinese knowledge in Japan, i.e. scholarship based on the study of texts written in classical Chinese, evolved in the context of 19th-century globalization. Published by Campus in December 2017 (in German).


I have been teaching at UCL, Freie Universität Berlin and as a short-term guest lecturer at Universiteit Leiden and the University of Cambridge, both in the East Asian studies and history departments at the BA and MA level. I own a diploma in college teaching from the inter-university Berliner Zentrum für Hochschullehre.

courses taught more »


I have been participating in outreach events such as the Berlin Long Night of the Sciences and in collaborative projects with high schools in Berlin. I have also published posts in academic blogs on the history of sexuality and the history of emotions.

Want to know more? Visit my profile at UCL and Academia.edu.