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Sonja Margaretha Hotwagner, Dr.


Sonja Margaretha Hotwagner, Dr.


  • Alumni



Über Sonja Margaretha Hotwagner

Originally from Eastern Austria, Sonja Hotwagner has studied at the University of Foreign Language in Ôsaka and the University of Vienna. She earned a B.A. in Japanese Studies and holds a M.A. in the fields of History of Art, with a minor of Asian Art. She has contributed to various exhibitions, catalogues and databases affiliated with Japanese popular culture esp. woodblock print.

Her research interests have a disciplinary approach, they focus especially on visual material from the Tokugawa and Meiji Period in Japan. As member of the Project B1 "Asian Satire" she is pursuing a doctoral degree at the Cluster in Heidelberg on the topic of satirical images and cartoons during the Russo-Japanese War 1904/05.



born 1982 in Oberwart, Austria.


Since 2011 : Associate Member

2008-2011: Ph.D. Candidate, member of the project “Gauging Cultural Asymmetries: Asian Satire and the Search for Identity in the Era of Colonialism and Imperialism” (B1).

2013: Doctoral degree (Heidelberg University)

2008: Master degree in History of Art (University of Vienna)

2007: Bachelor degree in Japanese Studies (University of Vienna)

2006 - 2007: Studies at the Osaka University of Foreign Language (Ôsaka gaikokugo daigaku), Japan

2002 - 2008: Studies of Art History and Japanese Studies at the University of Vienna, Austria

Working and Research Experiences

Since 2013: Austrian National Library/Austria

2012-2013: Federal Ministry of Science and Research/Austria

II / EU-cohesion policy

2011: Research Fellowship at Kanagawa University/Japan

In co-operation with the Research Center for Nonwritten Materials at Kanagawa University.

2011: Workshop "The Power of the Image" in Fayoum/Egypt

Talk: "Satirical bordercrossers in Yokohama. Charles Wirgman and George Bigot"

2010: Fieldwork - Japan

i.e. Meiji Shinbun Zasshi Bunko/Tôkyô and the Manga hakubutsukan/Kyôto

2009: Fieldwork - Japan

i.e. Manga hakubutsukan/Kyôto

2008: Member of the FWF project "Ukiyo’e caricatures 1842-1905", Department for East Asian Studies, University of Vienna

2005: Internship im Museum of Applied Art Vienna

Exhibition "Ukiyo-e reloaded" and "Uaaaa!!! Manga"

Person in charge for a database on Ukiyo-e at the Museum of Applied Art/Vienna

2003: Curatorial assistance (Modern Art)


"Sketching Identities. Caricature and Satire in the Age of Russo-Japanese War"
After the forced opening of the country in 1853 under the threat of Commodore Perrys "black ships" and the following Meiji Revolution (1868), Japan underwent a period of drastic change. Modernization after western models and - as a result - the search for its own identity as a nation was one of the main topics the young state had to deal with. Transcultural and transnational flows took place also in the fields of popular culture; the British "Punch" magazine as a blueprint of satirical journalism inspired a range of Japanese artists and sharpened the view for political themes.

Ten years after the surprising triumph over its Asian neighbor China, Japan faced a new enemy in 1904: Russia, one of the formerly admired western powers. Contemporary satire and caricature can be read as a mirror for the struggle for a "national face" and the mode of representation. It is therefore an important source in times of cultural change.  

Ausgewählte Publikationen

"'Punch Heirs' between the Battle Lines. Satirical Journalism in the Age of the Russo-Japanese War 1904/05." In: Asian Punches. A Transcultural Affair (Hg. Hans Harder und Barbara Mittler). Springer Verlag, 2013.

"Laughter about War in Modern Japan". In: Conflicts of Interest: Art and War in Modern Japan. University of Washington Press, 2016.

"Charles Wirgman and Georges Bigot - Satirical border crossers in the Foreign Settlement of Yokohama/Japan", Workshop "The Power of the Image" in Fayoum/Egypt; planned