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Freie Universität Berlin to Confer Honorary Doctorate on Japanese Social Philosopher Dr. Ken’ichi Mishima

Presentation Speech to Be Given by Professor Jürgen Habermas during Ceremony on February 17, 2011

№ 32/2011 from Feb 07, 2011

The Japanese social philosopher Dr. Ken’ichi Mishima will be the recipient of an honorary doctorate from Freie Universität Berlin in a ceremony to be held on February 17, 2011. With this honor the Department of History and Cultural Studies is recognizing one of the most prestigious philosophers in Japan. The citation will be delivered by Prof. Jürgen Habermas during a ceremony in the Henry Ford Building on the main campus of Freie Universität. The ceremony is public; registration by February 15 is requested. Journalists are welcome to attend. Dr. Mishima will be available to give individual interviews (by prior arrangement).

The Department of History and Cultural Studies further stated that through his research and translations, his interventions as a critical intellectual with both the Japanese and German public, and his membership in international bodies, Dr. Ken’ichi Mishima has made significant contributions in shaping public discourse as well as the academic and cultural relations between Japan and Germany. Through several research projects, Mishima has been connected with Freie Universität since the 1990s. From 1994 to 1995 he was a fellow at the Institute for Advanced Study in Berlin. In 1987 Mishima received the Philipp Franz von Siebold Award for Japanese Researchers from the President of the Federal Republic of Germany and in 2001 the Eugen and Ilse Seibold Prize of the German Research Foundation.

Mishima is a professor of social philosophy and contemporary philosophy at Tokyo Keizai University. He previously taught at Osaka University. He is considered an important mediator of the so-called critical theory in East Asia. His other research interests include modern philosophy, especially the reception of the works of Friedrich Nietzsche and Walter Benjamin, the theory and empirical studies of selective and multiple modernities, and intellectual discourse in Germany.

The presentation speech will be given by Prof. Jürgen Habermas. Born in 1929 in Düsseldorf, Habermas is currently one of the most influential philosophers and sociologists in the world. The former research assistant of Horkheimer and Adorno first became known for his work on social philosophy, which he developed out of critical theory. Habermas is the recipient of many awards, including the prestigious Kyoto Prize in 2005. The well-endowed prize is awarded annually and is one of the highest awards for services to science and culture.

Time and Place:

  • February 17, 2011, 4 p.m.
  • Henry Ford Building, Freie Universität, Garystr. 35, 14195 Berlin, Lecture Hall D

Advance Registration:

  • Media representatives are asked to register by February 15, 2011, through the Office of News and Public Affairs, Freie Universität Berlin. Individual interviews with Dr. Ken’ichi Mishima can be arranged.
    Tel.: 030 / 838-73180, Email:
  • General registration is requested by February 15, 2011, via e-mail to:

For further information, please contact:

  • Prof. Dr. Irmela Hijiya-Kirschnereit, Institute of Japanese Studies, Freie Universität Berlin, Tel.: 030 / 838-53857 or -53856, Email:
  • Karin Klose, Secretariat, Institute of Japanese Studies, Tel.: 030 / 838-53857,