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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

June 11, 2021

What remains of the Tokyo Games? DIJ researchers at INEAST East Asia Day

DIJ deputy director Barbara Holthus and principal researcher Torsten Weber will participate in this year’s online INEAST East Asia Day at Duisburg-Essen University on June 11. The event “NOlympia? The Tokyo Games and what remains of them” will discuss the fate of the world’s biggest sports festival in times of a pandemic. Other participants are Katharina Bauernschmidt (Paracanoeist, Team Germany Paralympics) and Martin Fritz (Japan-based journalist and author). The event will be moderated by DIJ alumnus Axel Klein (Professor for Social Sciences of East Asia/Japanese Politics, Duisburg-Essen University). Details and registration here

June 8, 2021

“No word on vaccines, no testing at all.”

Screenshot CBC

Several international media have interviewed DIJ deputy director Barbara Holthus about Olympic volunteering and the risks of holding the Tokyo Olympics amidst the ongoing pandemic. Barbara appeared on the Canadian broadcaster CBC’s News Morning Show (video), the Australian news programme Ticker News (video), and CNN’s news show The Lead (video). Barbara criticized the lack of vaccination opportunities for volunteers and said that it was too dangerous to hold the Olympics this year. Barbara was also interviewed by German news agency DPA and her statements appeared in several German news outlets, including Zeit online and FAZ online (in German). For more information on research related to the Olympics, see the DIJ’s special project on the Tokyo Olympics and the open access book publication Japan Through the Lens of the Tokyo Olympics

June 17, 2021

Recovery Games under the Mask – Joint JDZB & DIJ panel discussion

Screenshot JDZB

Olympic and Paralympic Games last on average 34 days – the preparations of the host city, however, take years. The Games have a significant impact on the cityscape, politics, society, economy, and public discourse of its host city and country. To discuss social, political, economic, and historical aspects of the Games, the Japanese-German Center Berlin (JDZB) in cooperation with the DIJ hosts a virtual book talk and panel discussion, preceded by short input statements by DIJ researchers Sonja Ganseforth, Barbara Holthus, and Torsten Weber, DIJ alumnus Axel Klein (Duisburg-Essen University), and Wolfram Manzenreiter (University of Vienna). They have all contributed to the DIJ special project on the Tokyo Olympics and are authors of the recent publication Japan Through the Lens of the Tokyo Olympics (Routledge 2020, open access). The event will be moderated by Alastair Gale, Japan Editor at The Wall Street Journal. Details and registration here

June 17, 2021

Next DIJ Method Talk: Kaitlyn Ugoretz on digital ethnography

© Kaitlyn Ugoretz

While emic definitions of Shinto often describe the ritual tradition as the unique “indigenous faith of the Japanese people”, such claims are troubled by the growth of a “global Shinto.” The confluence of Japanese strategies for repositioning the nation as being of global import over the last few decades have rendered Shinto attractive and available to non-Japanese people around the world. Based on several years of multi-sited digital ethnographic research, in this presentation Kaitlyn Ugoretz will examine the development of transnational, digital Shinto communities on social media over the last twenty years. She will conclude with a reflection on the importance of digital ethnography as method in response to obstacles to traditional research during a global pandemic. Details and registration here

Kaitlyn Ugoretz, University of California, Santa Barbara

June 23, 2021

DIJ Study Group on women in Japanese videogames

© Rachael Hutchinson

This presentation examines the representation of women in Japanese videogames, situating the depiction of female bodies in terms of political discourse. Focusing on the online card-based wargame Kantai Collection, it analyzes how attributes of Japanese warships are reflected in the physical characteristics of women. At the same time, Kantai Collection is highly political in its theme, representation of women, and enactment of war memories. This presentation examines the game and related artefacts as part of a popular politicization of WWII by Japanese artists, also seen in the recent spate of blockbuster revisionist films, as well as Nazi imagery and narratives in anime and manga. It argues that the hyper-sexualization of women in Kantai Collection contributes to the exoticization of war as distant and unreal, in a continued context of controversial war memories in Japan. This event is part of the DIJ’s lecture series ‘Gender and Sexuality in East Asia’. Details and registration here

Rachael Hutchinson, University of Delaware

June 10, 2021

DIJ Web-Forum on Data and Values in Japan and Germany

© Luc Legay

Data are widely considered to be the “oil” of the digital economy. But whereas the concept seems essential and ubiquitous, social, economic, and legal aspects associated with the meaning, ownership, exchange, use, and protection of data remain highly contested even among countries with similar economic and political systems like Japan and Germany. Our speakers will present the main legal regulations and public discourses related to the concept of data in Japan and Germany. In the discussion, we will try to pinpoint major differences in the understanding of data and their implications for the ownership, protection, use, and international exchange. Details and registration here


Axel v.d. Bussche, Taylor Wessing

Stefan Heumann, Stiftung Neue Verantwortung

Hitomi Iwase, Nishimura & Asahi

Koichi Sumikura , National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies (GRIPS)

moderated by Franz Waldenberger, German Institute for Japanese Studies

May 31, 2021

“You cannot not compare.” Concluding contribution to Comparing Comparisons blog

Screenshot Comparing Comparisons blog

In their concluding contribution to the Comparing Comparisons blog, DIJ director Franz Waldenberger and James D. Sidaway (Professor of Political Geography, NUS) emphasize the invaluable benefits from comparing as a method in the humanities and social sciences. “You can do it wrong or be seduced by too easy comparisons, but you cannot easily do without some”, they conclude. Their article “Who compares? The commodification and decolonization of comparison” is the final contribution to the blog which originates from the international and interdisciplinary meeting by scholars affiliated with the Max Weber Foundation Research Group at the National University of Singapore and DIJ researchers in Tokyo in December 2019. Previous contributions offer variations of the blog’s theme and draw examples from the authors’ respective areas of specialization, including anthropology, ethnography, Japanese studies, political geography, economics, cross-cultural studies, business and management research.

May 31, 2021

Public talk ‘Tokyo Olympics – An Uphill Battle’ with Barbara Holthus

Screenshot © ISDP

What are the latest developments and challenges that overshadow the Tokyo Olympics? Join DIJ deputy director Barbara Holthus, Olympic expert Vanessa Åsell Tsuruga, and  special advisor to former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, Tomohiko Taniguchi, for an online discussion of the risks and opportunities ahead and their impact on Tokyo and Japan. The event ‘Tokyo Olympics: An Uphill Battle’ is hosted by the Japan Center at the Institute for Security & Development Policy (ISDP), a Stockholm-based non-profit and non-partisan research and policy organization. The webinar will be moderated by Jon Thunqvist, Senior Research Fellow at the ISDP, and takes place on Monday, 31 May, 10.00-11.00 (CEST) / 17.00-18.00 (JST). Registration is required via the ISDP.

Upcoming Events

June 17, 2021
  • DIJ Method Talk
    10:00 ~ 11:30

    Worshipping the Kami at a Distance: World-Wide Shinto and the Global Pandemic

June 23, 2021
  • DIJ History & Humanities Study Group
    19:30 ~ 21:00

    Croft, Quiet, and Kantai Collection: Female Bodies in Japanese Videogames

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’

Heute ab 16 Uhr (Duisburg) und 23 Uhr (Tokyo): 'NOlympia?'-Diskussion am 25. #INEAST #Ostasientag @unidue mit Katharina Bauernschmidt @teamdpara, Martin Fritz @abc4japan, Barbara Holthus @barbGhawaii & Torsten Weber @stenweber. ... Moderiert von @AxelPKlein

6 weeks ahead of the scheduled opening of the #TokyoOlympics only 12% of the Japanese population have received their 1st jab. "There is a significant potential of this becoming a superspreader event", says DIJ deputy director @barbGhawaii ... in this @CNN interview with @selinawangtv

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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. 1
Contemporary Japan is open year-round for rolling submissions, with accepted publications published immediately online. Please see the instructions for submission here.