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Ayako Sakurai

College positions:
Visiting Fellow
History of Science
Senshu University

Professor Ayako Sakurai

Ayako Sakurai is a Professor of European Culture and Society at the School of International Communication, Senshu University (Tokyo, Japan).

As a historian of Modern German Sciences, she has a long-term interest in the role of scientific knowledge and practices in the public domain. She obtained a PhD in History of Science at the Department of History and Philosophy of Science, University of Cambridge in 2007. Her first book, Science and Societies in Frankfurt am Main (2013) —which is based on her PhD thesis—used the case of Frankfurt am Main to explore the entangled development of urban politics and civic scientific initiatives in nineteenth-century German lands.

Moving on from this first project, she investigated the personal and institutional networks that supplied the expanding community of scientific practitioners — especially natural historians — with tangible and intangible resources, such as information, money, people, and most importantly, specimens.

After two postdoctoral fellowships (2007-2010: Japan Society for the Promotion of Science; 2010-2013: Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, University of Tokyo), she joined the School of Business Administration, Senshu University (2013-2015 as Lecturer, from 2015 as Associate Professor). In 2020, she was transferred to the newly-founded School of International Communication, where she was promoted to Professor in 2021.

Professor Sakurai’s current interest is the international mobility of German scholars in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries; their intellectual trajectories; and ramifications both at home and abroad. Her ongoing research project investigates the expatriate German-speaking community in the Meiji era of Japan (1868–1912) as a site of cross-cultural transfer and translation of scientific knowledge and practices.