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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

May 23, 2019

Androids and Virtual Reality – Simulations of the Human in Japanese Theatre

Contemporary artists are increasingly creating works that lack the presence of the human, as if to imagine a posthuman world, a posthumous world, a world without us. Such posthuman use of androids draws attention to the significance of negotiating different states of perception and transcending established value systems to sustain a viable position in a global world. But the human instinct to create images of ourselves is still strong, as we see not only in the androids used in the robot theatre of Ishiguro Hiroshi and Hirata Oriza, but also in such popular virtual idols as Hatsune Miku. Prof. Mari Boyd will situate the new 21st century development in Japanese robot/android theatre in two contexts: first, the karakuri (trick) automata popular from the 17th century and, second, the present national push in branding Japan as a society 5.0, i.e. a technology-based society emerging through the fourth industrial revolution.

Mari Boyd, Sophia University, Tokyo
M. Cody Poulton, University of Victoria, Canada

April 18, 2019

Protecting Children in Family Separation

As Japan has the sole custody system after divorce, there are a number of parental disputes over child custody and visitation or access nowadays. Currently, only 1/3 of children with divorced parents can have access to their non-custodial parent, and only 1/4 of children obtain child support from their non-custodial parent. In contrast, Germany and other Western countries have implemented joint custody after divorce, which requires both parents to consult with each other and take joint decisions in relation to long-term issues concerning their children.

The divergent legal settings and societal conditions between Japan and Western countries yield difficult questions in a cross-border family separation. Prof. Nishitani will address the historical, legal and societal background of these differences in family law institutions between Japan and Western countries with a particular focus on Germany. Prof. Odagiri will show what we have learned about the impact of divorce on children from research in psychology and what actions are now being taken.

Yuko Nishitani, Kyoto University
Noriko Odagiri, Tokyo International University


Wissenschaftliche/r Mitarbeiter/in

Das DIJ sucht eine/n wissenschaftliche/n Mitarbeiter/in mit Forschungsschwerpunkt in den Geistes-, Sozial- oder Wirtschaftswissenschaften des modernen Japan, auch im globalen Kontext.

Erwartet wird selbständige wissenschaftliche Arbeit an einem Forschungsprojekt, das sich aus sozial- oder geisteswissenschaftlicher Sicht mit Fragen der digitalen Transformation befasst. Durch Studium nachgewiesene Kenntnisse auf dem Gebiet der Mathematik und/oder Informatik sind wünschenswert.

Bewerber/innen sollen ein Konzept zu Ihrem Forschungsvorhaben vorlegen, das Fragestellung(en) und Methode(n) erläutert und darüber hinaus auch Anknüpfungspunkte an aktuelle internationale Forschung und Möglichkeiten der Kooperation mit Partnern in Japan, Deutschland oder Drittländern aufzeigt.

Neben der Forschung wird auch die Mitarbeit an allgemeinen Institutsaufgaben erwartet. Der Arbeitsort ist Tokyo.

Weitere Informationen (PDF, 45 KB)

May 14, 2019

How Can We Explain the Lag of Japan’s Sharing Economy?

In recent years, the emergence of “sharing economy” has brought people plenty of conveniences to collaboratively make use of under-utilized inventory through fee-based sharing. The topic of the sharing economy has also caught attention in public and academic debate. According to Yano Institute, the size of the Japanese sharing economy by transaction is 0.64 billion USD in 2017 and is estimated to reach only about 1.24 billion USD by 2022, which is relatively weak compared with other developed countries and even some developing countries. The Japanese Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications also states that the size of Japan’s sharing economy is relatively small. This research tries to seek answers to the question of why Japan’s sharing economy has evolved relatively slowly. Because there is no existing theory to explain the lag of Japan’s sharing economy, this research regards the sharing economy as a new form of process innovation that creates a new way for people to get access to goods and services. Taking a macro perspective theoretically informed by the National Systems of Innovation (NSI) literature, this research adopts semi-structured interviews to acquire in-depth insights from industry insiders.

Junxi Yao, University of Sheffield

March 13, 2019

Autonomy, Belonging and Long-Distance Relationships in Europe and Japan

Individualization and mobility increasingly define romantic relationships. ‘Despatialization’ and internationalization of work and education have intensified tensions between occupation and relationships. Therefore, as couples negotiate and coordinate their lives, flexibility and agency become more necessary to sustain relationships. Decisions along the life course demand privileging either individual autonomy or dyadic belonging. As all options likely imply trade-offs, actors will try to balance autonomy and belonging. This is for example the case in long-distance relationships (LDR), which can be seen as ‘solutions’ to systemic challenges, that, however, cause new challenges. Against this background, my talk asks how long-distance couples ‘manage’ distance, belonging and their life courses.

Markus Klingel, Bremen International Graduate School of Social Sciences


EU project partnership: „ACCESS – Supporting Digital Literacy and Appropriation of ICT by Older People“

The DIJ Tokyo is partner with the multi-disciplinary and transnational EU project “ACCESS – Supporting Digital Literacy and Appropriation of ICT by Older People”, which is coordinated by Professor Claudia Müller of the University of Siegen. Goals are to explore and evaluate ways for elderly people to learn the usage of modern ICT solutions that promise a better social participation and an overall improvement of the quality of life. The DIJ is responsible for the project’s Japan-related research.


Memorandum of Understanding with the Institut français de recherche sur le Japon à la Maison franco-japonaise

The DIJ and the Institut français de recherche sur le Japon à la Maison franco-japonaise concluded a Memorandum of Understanding in which both institutions agreed upon closer exchanges in the areas of socio-scientific and humanistic Japanese Studies. The Memorandum of Understanding places particular emphasis on developing and expanding the potential of joint research and events.


NIRA オピニオンペーパー no.43 /2019 .Feb
21世紀の「資源」: ビッグデータ

NIRA 総研はドイツ日本研究所との共催で、2018年11月1日に「ビッグデータ」ワークショップを開催。実務家や研究者、政府関係者など、多彩なポジションのスピーカーが、ビッグデータの特徴や問題点を語った。

 ✓  ビッグデータは21世紀の「資源」といわれ、20世紀に成長をけん引した石油にも比される。ビッグデータが「資源」となるために必要なものは何か。

 ✓  IoT モジュールなど最新の技術開発が先進的なサービスを可能にする一方、AI がもたらすバイアスなどの負の影響をどう考えるべきか。

 ✓  ビッグデータを活用したビジネスを開花させるために、企業や個人が安心してデータを共有、取引する仕組みは何か。企業や政府は、この課題にどう取り組んでいるのか。

 ✓  データの特性を踏まえた制度の構築、すなわち、巨大プラットフォーマーによるデータ市場の独占や、個人のプライバシー保護についての規制や制度はいかにあるべきか。


ワークショップ: Big Data – the new competitive paradigm. How well is Japan prepared?

Upcoming Events

May 14, 2019
  • DIJ Business & Economics Study Group
    18:30 ~ 20:00

    How Can We Explain the Lag of Japan’s Sharing Economy?


The institute will be closed on April 19th (Good Friday) and April 22nd 2019 (Easter Monday).

DIJ 30th Anniversary

Anniversary Event

In October 2018 we celebrated the DIJ’s foundation 30 years ago — with lots of inspiring speeches and fruitful conversations.

→ Event page

Anniversary Booklet

“30 Years Interdisciplinary Research on Site. 1988 – 2018”

Our anniversary booklet gives an overview of the past 30 years here at the DIJ.
Available for download now!

→ Publication page

Call for Papers

Contemporary Japan
Issue 32, No. 2
until August 1, 2019


DIJ Monographien, Volume 62

DIJ Monographien, Volume 62

“Parental well-being. Satisfaction with work, family life, and family policy in Germany and Japan”
— by Barbara Holthus and Hans Bertram


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💡 Achtung! #Jobs #Stellenangebot Das DIJ sucht eine/n wissenschaftliche/n Mitarbeiter/in mit Forschungsschwerpun…

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💡 Reminder: Registration for next week's #DIJForum is still open!

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DIJ historian Torsten Weber comments on the #Heisei era. #平成 #令和 #Reiwa