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Deutsches Institut für Japanstudien
Wolfgang Thiele

Wolfgang Thiele

Wolfgang Thiele
Since April 2024

Born and raised in the university town of Jena, Wolfgang Thiele first came into contact with students from Japan, China, Taiwan, and Korea in high school. He was inspired to pursue his Bachelor’s Degree in East Asian Area Studies at Humboldt University of Berlin. He then completed a Master’s Degree in Global History in a joint degree program offered by Humboldt University and the Free University Berlin. He is currently pursuing his doctorate in History at the Free University and is particularly interested in transnational history in East Asia since the Opium Wars, with a focus on the shared history of Japan and Taiwan since 1895.

In his dissertation project, Mr. Thiele aims to gain a better understanding of the Taiwan independence movement since 1945 within a global framework. In their published works, the Taiwan independence movement’s supporters openly wrote about their meetings and connections with politicians and activists from Third World countries, such as the Philippines and South Africa. However, these connections have not been systematically researched. Neither have historians explored how these connections affected the ideology of Taiwanese nationalism.

As a base for exiled activists and as a hub for international activities, Japan also played a vital role in the movement’s development. Yet, the living conditions of activists in Japan after 1970 and their interactions with political actors in Japan remain largely unresearched. In this context, Mr. Thiele is particularly interested in the relationships of Taiwanese independence movement activists with the Socialist Party of Japan and the Liberal Democratic Party of Japan. He intends to close these research gaps in his dissertation. Additionally, he aims to situate the Taiwanese independence movement’s history more firmly within discourses on decolonization and the dissolution of empires in the 20th century from a global history perspective while shedding light on the role of post-war Japan in these global processes.