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Deutsches Institut für Japanstudien

German Institute for Japanese Studies

Research focused on modern Japan, in global and regional perspectives. Located in one of the important economic and political hubs of East Asia, Tokyo.

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Events and Activities

Event Series
May 18, 2022

DIJ Method Talk on Critical Discourse Analysis and the politics of reproduction

© Brill

With ongoing attempts since the early 1990s to elevate the low birth rate in Japan, the politics of reproduction are a highly contested realm in Japanese society. While policy makers’ attempts to influence reproductive behavior on an individual level have been scrutinized in diverse analyses, the role of the biomedical business and mass media has been mostly overlooked. Isabel Fassbender addresses this lacuna in her recent publication Active Pursuit of Pregnancy: Neoliberalism, Postfeminism and the Politics of Reproduction in Contemporary Japan (Brill, 2021) by using Critical Discourse Analysis on the “active pursuit of pregnancy” (ninkatsu). In her talk, Isabel will not only focus on Critical Discourse Analysis as a research method in theory but also try to show a possible practical implementation by presenting concrete examples from her work. Details and registration here

Isabel Fassbender, Doshisha Women’s College, Kyoto

Event Series
May 25, 2022

Environmental Humanities talk on ‘Cultural Specificity and Planetary Thinking’

Ishimure Michiko is best known for her writing on mercury poisoning of the Shiranui Sea in and around Minamata in Southern Japan. Yet, in her later years she became increasingly invested in the concept of the planetary. In this talk, we will examine this shift in her writing and the complicated role that cultural forms play in writing that is especially invested in planetary health. Marran will introduce the concept of the “biotrope” as a tool for analyzing Ishimure’s attention to cultural and material elements in the discussion of Ishimure’s final work “Hana no okudo e” (2014). We will conclude our discussion by addressing the ways that area studies may or may not be compatible with particular forms of ecocriticism. This talk is part of the DIJ Environmental Humanities in East Asia lecture series and takes place online on May 25. Details and registration here

Christine L. Marran, University of Minnesota

April 4, 2022

New special issue of Contemporary Japan on employment and HR

© Taylor&Francis

The newest edition of Contemporary Japan (vol. 34, no. 1) is a special issue on “Japan’s Employment System and Human Resource Management – Coping with increasing adjustment pressures”, guest edited by Parissa Haghirian. In addition to Haghirian’s introductory overview of the various changes and challenges in Japan’s contemporary employment system, the four research articles by Robinson/Sibala/Ito/Beyer, Meyer-Ohle, Debroux, and Koyama address the legal, social, economic, and business implications of non-regular forms of employment. In addition, they discuss some of the ways that firms are dealing with the increasing presence of women, senior workers, and foreigners in the workforce. The book review section includes a broad range of recent publications in the fields of international relations, history, anthropology, media studies, literature, and religious studies. Please see the full issue here

April 12, 2022

“Digital currencies should be introduced as early as possible”: Markus Heckel interviews Hiromi Yamaoka

© Japanmarkt

DIJ economist Markus Heckel has interviewed Hiromi Yamaoka about the development of cryptocurrencies in Japan. Yamaoka, who worked for the Bank of Japan and the International Monetary Fund, is now chairperson of the Digital Currency Forum (DCF) and Head of the Future Institute of Research. In the interview, Yamaoka explains the advantages and disadvantages of digital currencies, the goals of the DCF, and the prototype of a privately created digital Japanese currency (DCJPY). “To maximise the benefits of the digitalisation of the economy, I believe it would be better to introduce private sector digital currencies as early as possible”, Yamaoka said.  Yamaoka has also contributed a chapter to the open access book The Future of Financial Systems in the Digital Age:  Perspectives from Europe and Japan, edited by Markus and DIJ director Franz Waldenberger. The interview (in German) was published in the latest issue of Japanmarkt and is available for download here

June 7, 2022

The Future of Liberalism: international symposium with keynote by Thomas Piketty

Thomas Piketty, French economist and author of Capital in the Twenty-first Century, will be the keynote speaker at the symposium ‘The Future of Liberalism: Japan, France and Germany in global context’. It will take place online from June 7 to 9 and features 18 international experts on liberalism and capitalism. On Day 1, Piketty’s keynote will be followed by a roundtable discussion with Lisa Herzog (University of Groningen) and Shigeki Uno (University of Tokyo). Day 2 features nine presentations, including by DIJ alumna Yufei Zhou on the “Transition of the Dominant Economic Ideology in China in the 21st Century”. On the closing day, DIJ director Franz Waldenberger will present his paper “Governance in a Knowledge Driven Society”. The symposium is jointly organised by the DIJ, the French Institute of Research on Japan at the Maison franco-japonaise (MFJ), and the Nippon Institute of Research Advancement (NIRA). Registration and details here

April 14, 2022

Spring issue of DIJ Newsletter published

© DIJ Tokyo

We have just published the spring issue of our DIJ Newsletter featuring updates on our research, publications, and events, including books on the future of the financial system; a new special issue of Contemporary Japan; announcing a symposium on the future of liberalism in June; a new article in our Catchword series (Kodomo Kateichō); farewell to three staff members; Alumni news; job advertisements; new videos on our DIJ YouTube channel and much more. We hope you will enjoy exploring this new edition of the DIJ Newsletter. If you haven’t done so yet, you can subscribe to receive it directly to your inbox. The full issues and subscription form are available here.

March 28, 2022

Book chapter by David M. Malitz examines Meiji Japan as role model for Thai revolution

© LIT Verlag

The perception of Imperial Japan is usually shaped by its last decades of invasion, aggression, and war. However, Meiji Japan also served as a model for other Asian countries and peoples in their pursuit of democracy, independence, and modernity. A new book chapter by DIJ senior research fellow David M. Malitz, published in Japans moderne Monarchie. Beiträge japanologischer Forschung zur Wahrnehmung und Geschichte der Tenno (in German; LIT Verlag, Bunka-Wenhua. Tuebingen East Asian Studies), investigates how Meiji Japan and the Meiji Emperor inspired the constitutional reform movement across semi-colonial Asia. Focusing on Thailand prior to the revolution of 1932, David’s chapter “Kaiser Meiji als Vorbild für die Monarchien des halbkolonialisierten Asiens im Vorfeld deren konstitutionellen Revolutionen im frühen 20. Jahrhundert” shows how ignorance of Imperial Japan’s political regime allowed the projection of one’s own political ideas onto the Meiji Emperor and enabled veiled yet harsh criticism of one’s own monarch.

March 7, 2022

New book publications analyse digital transformation of financial system

© publishers

The increasing capacity of digital networks and computing power, together with the resulting connectivity and availability of “big data”, are impacting financial systems worldwide. They transform the structure and performance of financial markets and the business models of banks and other financial service providers. The new open access book The Future of Financial Systems in the Digital Age:  Perspectives from Europe and Japan, edited by DIJ director Franz Waldenberger and principal researcher Markus Heckel, brings together leading scholars, policymakers, and regulators from Japan and Europe to analyse the digital transformation of the financial system. The authors study the impact of digitalization on the financial system, including transaction costs, digital and blockchain-based currency systems, algorithmic trading, the use of cashless payments, the challenges of regulatory oversight, and the transformation of banking business models. The book and its individual chapters can be downloaded for free here. A Japanese version of the book has been published as デジタル時代の金融システム―欧州と日本からの視点 by the Kinzai Institute for Financial Affairs.

Upcoming Events

  • DIJ Method Talk
    18:30 ~ 19:30

    Critical Discourse Analysis and the Politics of Reproduction in Contemporary Japan → finished check-red

  • Environmental Humanities in East Asia
    10:30 ~ 12:00

    Cultural Specificity & Planetary Thinking: Reading Ishimure Michiko's Final Work

  • Symposium (day 1)
    16:30 ~ 20:00

    The Future of Liberalism

  • Symposium (day 2)
    15:00 ~ 20:30

    The Future of Liberalism

  • Symposium (day 3)
    16:00 ~ 20:00

    The Future of Liberalism

DIJ Newsletter

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    Special Project:
    Tokyo Olympics

    “Japan through the lens of the Tokyo Olympics”

    For more information see our
    → project page.

    Introduction to CJ's special issue on #japaneseHRM: Parissa Haghirian @j_management outlines the changes and challenges in Japanese HR management #日本的経営 #japanesebusiness #lifetimeemployment @japansocsci ...

    Reminder: you can still register for Wednesday's online DIJ Method Talk with Isabel Fassbender who will discuss "Critical Discourse Analysis and the Politics of Reproduction in Contemporary Japan"

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    DIJ Monograph Series

    Our monograph series is Open Access Open Access after a one-year embargo period. Downloads are available on our
    → monographs pages

    Call for Submissions

    Contemporary Japan
    current issue Vol. 34, No. 1
    Contemporary Japan is open year-round for rolling submissions, with accepted publications published immediately online. Please see the instructions for submission here.