Dr. Jürgen Paul Melzer

Specialization: History

Dr. Jürgen Paul Melzer


Princeton University, Ph.D., Program East Asian Studies (2014)
University of Tokyo, Graduate School of Arts and Sciences (2010/11)
Harvard University, M.A., Program Regional Studies East Asia, (2008)
University of London, B.A. Japanese, School of Oriental and African Studies, (2006)
Lufthansa German Airlines, Airline Pilot (1985-2000)

Current and Previous Academic Affiliations:

Professor, Yamanashi Gakuin University (since 2019)
Adjunct Professor, Yamanashi Gakuin University (2016-2018)
Adjunct Lecturer, Yamanashi Gakuin University, (2015)
Harvard University, U.S.-Japan Relations, Postdoctoral Fellow (2014/15)


Jürgen Melzer is a historian of modern Japan specializing in the history of Japanese aviation. The starting point of his research is his year-long experience as a Lufthansa pilot. Melzer engages in a “new” aviation history that is not only about flying machines but also about the people who designed, built, and used them. It is a fascinating story that relates to technology, economics, politics, and international relations. His recent publications include “Wings for the Rising Sun: A Transnational History of Japanese Aviation,” published by Harvard University Asia Center. In his book Melzer embeds the rise of Japanese aviation in a global history of international cooperation, competition, and conflict.

Dr. Melzer wants to share with his students the joy of studying history. For him history is a complex, and very fascinating way of understanding human existence over time. His classes are an invitation to explore faraway places and distant times. In particular, rather than just memorizing historical facts, Melzer wants his students to explore and analyze history from a wider view. For him, “rediscovering history” means to put historical facts into a larger context and to look for the big picture that helps us better understand our past, present, and future.