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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

November 28, 2021

Research paper analyses self-reflexivity in quantitative research

© Routledge

A new research paper by Laura Dales (University of Western Australia) and DIJ principal researcher Nora Kottmann analyses self-reflexivity, which is considered an essential category in qualitative research but largely neglected in quantitative research. “Surveying singles in Japan: qualitative reflections on quantitative social research during COVID times” (International Journal of Social Research Methodology, online first) discusses three methodological issues through the lens of self-reflection: ‘translation issues’; the problems of asking ‘sensitive’ and the ‘right’ questions; and the problematics of ‘the present’ in particularly fluid times. The authors show that this approach promotes contextualization of the measurement tool, the data and the findings and can be a way for doing quantitative research on intimacy outside the ‘standard’ nuclear family in pandemic times. The paper is an outcome of Nora’s research project COVID-19 and its effects on singles in Japan: Personal relationships and practices of intimacy in the time of ‘social distancing’ and ‘self-discipline’.

December 9, 2021

Conference on German-East Asian entanglements in Social Sciences

© Chalothorn Muangviroj

At the end of the nineteenth century, Germany was widely recognized as the premier place to study political economy, law, and social sciences as summarized under the term Sozialwissenschaften. With its relatively state-centric perspectives and a tendency to grasp society in the context of the interplay of institutional, economic, and psychological factors, the German Sozialwissenschaften significantly influenced elites from the so-called “catch-up countries” such as Russia, Japan, China, and Southern Europe. As a consequence it became the standard reference for scholars from these countries, in some cases even until after World War Two. Focusing on the multinational personal links and multi-fold intellectual entanglements in the context of the globally rising theoretical quest for connections and correlations of empirical facts, this one-day online conference will reexamine the legacies and pitfalls left behind by the German Sozialwissenschaften in East Asia from historical and transnational perspectives. Details and registration here

November 25, 2021

Article by Torsten Weber looks back at legacy of Tokyo Olympics


On 8 August 2021 at 10.19 p.m. local time, the Olympic flame was extinguished in the new National Stadium in Tokyo. This marked the end of historic Games: the first time ever that they were postponed for a year, and the first time ever that they were held (almost) without live spectators. Corona, scandals, debts, “cursed Olympics”, inclusion, and record number of medals: what will Tokyo 2020 be remembered for? A new article by DIJ principal researcher Torsten Weber looks back at the positive and negative legacy of the Tokyo Olympics and sheds light on recent trends within Japanese society. “Olympic Dreams and Traumata” is published in the IIAS Newsletter (Vol. 90) and available open access. Torsten has also contributed to the DIJ’s special project on the Tokyo Olympics and the open access book publication Japan Through the Lens of the Tokyo Olympics

November 29, 2021

DIJ researchers teach courses on Japan and Germany in the pandemic

As part of a new cooperation between the DIJ and Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz, DIJ deputy director Barbara Holthus and principal researcher Markus Heckel taught two courses in the University’s Q+ study programme. Within the unit “Japan and Germany during the Sars-CoV2 Pandemic”, Barbara co-taught the course ‘Family Life in the Pandemic: Comparing Germany and Japan’ (with Marina Hennig, Mainz) focusing on how the pandemic and the regulations to contain it have affected family life in both countries. Together with Philipp Harms (Mainz), Markus co-taught the course ‘Monetary Policy and Fiscal Policy-Responses to the Covid-19 Pandemic in Japan and Germany’. Their course focused on the monetary policies of the Bank of Japan and of the European Central Bank as well as on programmes by the fiscal authorities in Japan and Germany since the beginning of the pandemic. Both courses were received well by the interdisciplinary group of students. Further teaching and research cooperation activities are planned for 2022. 

November 11, 2021

New article by Sonja Ganseforth analyses Japanese fishery reform

© Wiley

A new, open-access article by DIJ principal researcher Sonja Ganseforth investigating the ongoing reform of Japanese fishery governance and its social and environmental implications has just been published in The Geographical Journal (online first). “Blue revitalization or dispossession? Reform of common resource management in Japanese small-scale fisheries” analyses the growth-oriented reform which challenges successful resource co-management in small-scale fisheries by opening up coastal fishery resources to corporate investors and strengthening top-down regulation. Its analysis offers deeper insights into the transformative as well as dispossessive potential of the global paradigmatic shift towards an intensified industrial exploitation of the oceans against the background of globally proliferating discourses on “blue growth” and the “blue economy”. The article is based on in-depth anthropological field research in rural Japan and an outcome of Sonja’s research project Fishing communities between growth and demise.

December 2, 2021

Nora Kottmann gives online talk on methods in Area Studies


Recent years have seen a growing demand for more systematic and transparent research practices in Area Studies. Based on their recently edited handbook Studying Japan, a comprehensive guide on qualitative methods, research designs, and fieldwork in social science research on Japan, DIJ principal researcher Nora Kottmann and co-editor Cornelia Reiher (FU Berlin) will discuss the role and potential of qualitative methods for Area Studies in the QUAL Speaker Series at the University of Washington. In their online talk on December 1, 12.20 pm (PST)/December 2, 5.20 am (JST), they will outline general discussions, give concrete examples, and introduce recent developments and trends. Details and registration here

November 20, 2021

DIJ researchers and alumni at VSJF disciplinary sections’ meeting


Several DIJ researchers and alumni will present, moderate, and discuss latest research on Japan in disciplinary sections of the German Association for Social Science Research on Japan (VSJF) on November 20. Among others, DIJ alumna Carola Hommerich (Sophia University) will present her co-authored paper “Impact of COVID-19 Pandemic on Household Income and Mental Well-Being: Evidence from a Panel-Survey in Japan” in the section Sociology and Social Anthropology. This section is co-convened by Carola, together with DIJ researchers Nora Kottmann and Celia Spoden. DIJ alumni Katharina Dalko and Sebastian Hofstetter (both Halle-Wittenberg University) will give their paper “Technical innovations in the health care sector: Challenges and risks of co-creative approaches using the example of the project DigiVid19” in the Technology section which is convened by DIJ researcher Susanne Brucksch and DIJ alumna Cosima Wagner (FU Berlin). Further section meetings include Economics, convened by DIJ alumnus Harald Conrad (Dusseldorf University), and Culture and Media, organized by DIJ alumna Elisabeth Scherer (Dusseldorf University). The complete programme (in German) is available here

November 24, 2021

Talk by David M. Malitz on Chinese and Japanese Medical Diplomacy in Thailand


DIJ senior research fellow David M. Malitz will be the next speaker in the IN-EAST Research Forum Lecture Series at the University of Duisburg-Essen on November 24. His online talk “Chinese and Japanese Medical Diplomacy in Southeast Asia: The Case of Thailand during the Covid-19 Pandemic” will compare Chinese and Japanese medical diplomacy in Thailand and attempt a first analysis of their reception by the Thai public. The last decade saw an intensifying competition for influence between the People’s Republic of China and Japan in Southeast Asia. Since the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic, this rivalry has extended to the field of medical or health diplomacy, the donation of equipment, drugs and especially vaccines. Thailand offers an interesting case study in this regard as the kingdom enjoys close relations with both China and Japan. Details and registration here

Upcoming Events

December 9, 2021
  • attn Conference (online)
    16:00 ~ 22:30

    Globalizing the Social Sciences: German-East Asian Entanglements in the 19th and 20th Century

Temporary closure of the institute

Following recommendations by the Japanese Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare regarding measures to prevent the spread of the new coronavirus, the DIJ has decided to close the institute (incl. library) temporarily and to cancel or postpone all public events until further notice. We ask for your kind understanding.

Special Project:
Tokyo Olympics

“Japan through the lens of the Tokyo Olympics”

For more information see our
→ project page.

DIJ research on 3.11

You can find an overview of recent publications and activities by the institute and its researchers on the lasting impact of 3.11 on our special page 10 Years After 3.11 – A Collection of DIJ Research on the ‘Triple Disaster’

Zum Start unserer neuen Kooperation mit der @uni_mainz haben unsere Vize-Direktorin @barbGhawaii und Ökonom Markus Heckel Kurse zu Japan & Deutschland in der #COVID19-Pandemie mit Fokus auf Familienleben und Fiskalpolitik unterrichtet.... Wir freuen uns auf weitere Kooperationen!


New on our DIJ YouTube channel: 6th #DT Web Forum with #digitalhumanities projects by @janasinakeck @GHIWashington, @HaraldKuemmerle @dij_tokyo, E. Meier & S. Kindler #GHIMoscow, J. Hörnschemeyer #GHIRome, @Mareike2405 @dhiparis, ... @archaeoklammt @DFKParis

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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. 33, No. 2
Contemporary Japan is open year-round for rolling submissions, with accepted publications published immediately online. Please see the instructions for submission here.