Reinier H. Hesselink

Professor of History

Reinier Hesselink

Seerley 346

(319) 273-2261

Reinier H. Hesselink

Professor of History


Ph.D., University of Hawai’i at Manoa, 1992

Teaching Interests

Dr. Reinier Hesselink teaches the UNIFI course Problems and Perspectives in Global History: 1,000 Years of Samurai, which is an introductory course on Japanese History. He also teaches upper-level courses Courtiers, Warriors, and Merchants: Japan to 1800 and The Legacy of the Samurai: Japan since 1800. 

Research Interests

Professor Hesselink travels regularly to Japan, and has wide-ranging research interests concentrating on Japan's relations with the outside world. His book Prisoners from Nambu: Reality and Make-Believe in 17th-Century Japanese Diplomacy (2002) was also published in Japanese and Dutch language editions. In 2016, he published The Dream of Christian Nagasaki: World Trade and the Clash of Cultures, 1560-1640, for which he had received a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Humanities. He is now working on a new book project, provisionally entitled The Suicide of Takenaka Uneme. With this project he aims to explain why the samurai class in the beginning of the seventeenth century enforced a ban on Christianity throughout the Japanese islands.

Professional Accomplishments

Professor Hesselink was appointed a Visiting Professor with the Council on East Asian Studies at the Whitney and Betty MacMillan Center for International and Area Studies at Yale University for the 2022/2023 academic year.