UTokyo Lecture Nov. 21 Jeremy Breaden on Meritocracy and Education Reform in Post-war Japan and Germany

Gregory Noble's picture
November 21, 2019
Subject Fields: 
Educational Technology, Japanese History / Studies, Sociology


The Contemporary Japan Group at the University of Tokyo’s Institute of Social Science

(ISS, or Shaken), welcomes you to a lecture by


Jeremy Breaden (Monash University)


Meritocracy, Education Reform and the Concept of Talent

in Post-war West Germany and Japan 



Thursday, November 21 from 6:00-7:30 p.m. at Akamon Sōgō Kenkyūtō Room 549, Institute of Social Science, University of Tokyo, Hongo Campus, University of Tokyo



This seminar explores how notions of 'talent' were operationalised in education reform in post-war West Germany and Japan. It traces the development of selection mechanisms based on the discovery and measurement of talent, which in both countries held out the promise of fundamental social transformation while at the same time facilitating the entrenchment of pre-existing social and political orders. The seminar is part of a larger study on how meritocratic ideas fostered political legitimacy and social cohesion in democratic societies after World War II.


Jeremy Breaden is a Senior Lecturer and Convenor of the Japanese Studies Program in the School of Languages, Literatures, Cultures and Linguistics, Faculty of Arts at Monash University. His research interests include education reform and international student mobility in Japan and East Asia. He is the author of Articulating Asia in Japanese Higher Education (Routledge, 2016) and is currently finalising a new monograph about family-run educational corporations in Japan.

Michael Hau is a historian of Germany and the history of medicine, the body, and modern bio-politics, and Senior Lecturer in the School of Philosophical, Historical and International Studies, Faculty of Arts at Monash University. His published works include The Cult of Health and Beauty in Germany. A Social History, 1890-1930 (University of Chicago Press, 2003) and Performance Anxiety: Sport and Work in Germany from the Empire to Nazism (University of Toronto Press, 2014).

The ISS Contemporary Japan Group provides English-speaking residents of the Tokyo area with an opportunity to hear cutting-edge research in social science and related policy issues, as well as a venue for researchers and professionals in or visiting Tokyo to present and receive knowledgeable feedback on their latest research projects. Admission is free and advance registration is not required. Everyone is welcome.
For more information, including maps and a list of past lectures, please visit our website:

or contact
Gregory W. NOBLE (noble@iss.u-tokyo.ac.jp)


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