Events and Activities
International Workshop explores holistic multispecies worldviews
With the Global Financial Crisis of 2007/08, the Covid-19 pandemic, and the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the opening decades of the 21st century has already been a period of global crises. While these crises emerged out of different spheres of human activity, they have demonstrated the transnational economic, political, and social interconnectedness of human societies, as well as the connections between the human and non-human worlds, and between the realms of ideas and physical existence. The philosophical traditions of South, East, and Southeast Asia know the metaphor of Indra’s Net to express the fundamental interconnectedness and interdependence of all existence. Inspired by this frame, the workshop Caught yet blind in Indra’s Net: Reflections on Interconnected Crises in the Late Capitalist Anthropocene explores holistic multispecies worldviews and critically connects recent theoretical debates to case studies in order to advance programs for achieving social and environmental justice. Details here
New journal article introduces research on relation between political activism and well-being
How is political participation in rural Japan linked to the activists’ well-being? In “Being active and sharing happy moments: exploring the relationship of political participation and subjective well-being” (Asian Anthropology, online first) DIJ political scientist Sebastian Polak-Rottmann provides insights into his doctoral dissertation, a qualitative study of the relationship between subjective well-being and political participation in Japan’s Aso region. His study uses an iterative qualitative research design that identifies six dimensions of how to link the two phenomena. In Japanese regions characterized by demographic decline and aging, well-being is interpreted primarily as a relational phenomenon whose meaning unfolds against the backdrop of a specifically rural context. However, his research shows that it is also situated in the everyday lives of the interviewees and connected to the enjoyment of other people. Sebastian’s doctoral dissertation is available full-text in open access (in German) here
Special issue of Contemporary Japan on Tokyo Olympics 2020
We are pleased to announce the publication of a Special Issue of Contemporary Japan (vol. 35, no. 1) on “Tokyo Olympics 2020: Between Dream and Contention”, guest edited by David Chiavacci and Iris Wieczorek. The issue features an interdisciplinary collection of seven articles covering the success/failure of the Olympics for various stakeholders, urban development strategies, media narratives, online political discourses, the anti-Olympic movement, Olympic reality and fantasy in the anime Akira, and a theoretical critique of capitalist realism, as well as two commentaries critiquing the costs and corruption of the Games and Japan’s treatment of migrants in the name of Olympic preparations. Rounding out the issue, our book review section covers English and Japanese language publications from the fields of history, policy studies, and anthropology. Please see the full issue here
Online DIJ Study Group on Growth-oriented Carbon Pricing Concept
The Growth-oriented Carbon Pricing Concept in Japan refers to a set of policies aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions through a market-based approach that incentivizes the use of low-carbon technologies and practices. It is the most important part of the Basic Policy for Green Transformation (GX) Realization, as outlined by the Kishida administration, and consists of GX Economic Transition Bonds, emission trading system and carbon charge system. Its goal is to reduce emissions and to promote sustainable economic growth and job creation, by encouraging innovation and investment in low-carbon industries. The concept is part of Japan’s broader strategy to address climate change and achieve its goal of becoming carbon neutral by 2050. This session of the DIJ Study Group on ‘The Political Economy of Carbon Pricing and Green Finance – Comparing the EU and Japanese Discourses and Policy Approaches’ takes place online. Details and registration here
Tokutaro Nakai, Nippon Steel Corporation with comments by Nobuyuki Kinoshita, Tokyo Financial Exchange
New book chapter by Harald Kümmerle studies information banks in Japan
The Japanese certification scheme for information banks has recently received attention as an important example in the regulation of data intermediaries. The book chapter “More Than a Certification Scheme: Information Banks in Japan Under Changing Norms of Data Usage” by Harald Kümmerle explains why information banks matter for processing customer data in Japan and as theoretically rich examples of data intermediaries. His study traces the information bank concept to its origins in the 2000s, providing context on how the certification scheme came into existence in the late 2010s. The long-term success of the concept nationally would be eased if Japan succeeds in promoting Data Free Flow with Trust for less sensitive data internationally. Harald’s chapter was published in Adopting and Adapting Innovation in Japan’s Digital Transformation (eds. Anshuman Khare/William W. Baber, Springer 2023). It is an outcome of his research project The discourse on the digital transformation in Japan: an analysis based on the concept of data.
Open access journal article by David M. Malitz investigates Japanese influence on Siam/Thailand
A new article by David M. Malitz investigates Japanese cultural and political influences in the Kingdom of Siam, renamed Thailand in 1939. Early exchanges in the late 16th and early 17th centuries saw the consumption of Japanese products in the Southeast Asian kingdom as status symbols. Japanese swords in particular were cherished and have become dynastic heirlooms since then. From the late 19th century onward, Imperial Japan was seen as a role model of successful modernization in Bangkok and Japanese advisors and instructors were hired by the court. Critics of the absolute monarchy meanwhile stressed that Imperial Japan had become a great power as a constitutional monarchy. “Royal and Imperial Connections: Japanese Influence at the Court of Bangkok and on the Siamese/Thai Monarchy” was published in Japanese Studies Around the World 2022 (eds. Ayako Kusonoki/Hiromi Matsugi, Nichibunken 2023) and is available open access. The article is an outcome of David’s research project Japanese-Thai Relations: Past, Present, and Future.
Max Weber Foundation delegation meets Tokyo Governor Koike
A delegation of the Max Weber Foundation, led by DIJ director Franz Waldenberger and the Foundation’s president Ute Frevert, was met by Tokyo Metropolitan Governor Yuriko Koike on May 10th. Governor Koike welcomed the group and shared her ideas about how to tackle the challenges faced by Tokyo, Japan, and Germany, including demographic change, migration, climate change, and gender equality. Drawing on her own experience of studying abroad, Koike also emphasized the importance of international academic exchange facilitated by organizations such as the Max Weber Foundation. The Foundation runs eleven academically autonomous institutes in Europe, the Middle East, the United States, India, and the DIJ in Tokyo. The delegation is currently staying in Tokyo for the International Conference Transnational Research in a Multipolar World and further meetings of the Foundation’s bodies.
Hybrid DIJ Study Group on Patronage and “Confucian Diplomacy”
The 17th century holds historical significance as the formative period of Japan’s early modern scholarship. Heavily influenced by Confucian learning traditions, this era’s academic structures and intellectual patterns paved the way for Japan’s modernisation in the 19th century. This presentation aims to shed light on two new perspectives regarding the reign of Maeda Tsunanori (1643-1724), the fourth ruler of Kaga domain. Firstly, it will examine the standing of primarily Confucian scholars within the Kaga domain, their affiliation with Tsunanori, and his initiatives to support them. Secondly, the role of knowledge and scholarship in Tsunanori’s position within the political system will be investigated, along with the extent to which his education and his academic endeavours shaped his interactions with other rulers and prominent figures. This presentation also seeks to explore whether Tsunanori engaged in what might be termed “Confucian diplomacy”. Details and registration here
Michael Dietrich, Martin-Luther-University Halle-Wittenberg/DIJ Tokyo