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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
March 27, 2023

DIJ hosts panel discussion ‘Human-Machine Interaction and Responsibility’

human machina interaction panel discussion

Rapid advancements in new technologies, such as robots and AI, have brought about new social practices and realities. They come with manifold expectations and concerns, which mirror our understanding of what it means to be human. Drawing on perspectives from technological development, psychology, philosophy, social sciences, literature and art studies, the panel discussion ‘Human-Machine Interaction and Responsibility’ will tackle psycho-social aspects of human-machine interaction and their consequences, as well as ethical, legal, and socio-political implications. One important issue will be people’s rights and responsibilities when collaborating with machines and AI: Who will be credited for achievements, and who will be held responsible for tragic accidents? How does responsibility depend on the context and type of interaction between humans and machines? How should robots or AI be designed to be beneficial for society? The event takes place on March 27, on-site only at the DIJ, and will be moderated by DIJ’s Celia Spoden. Details and registration information here

Event Series
March 1, 2023

Joint book exhibition on Mori Ōgai


The year 2022 marked the 160th anniversary of the birth and 100th anniversary of the death of Mori Ōgai, who is considered one of the greatest modern Japanese novelists. To celebrate both anniversaries, the International House of Japan Library, the Bibliothèque de la Maison franco-japonaise, and the Deutsches Institut für Japanstudien Bibliothek are displaying translations of Ōgai’s works and critical studies in English, French, and German. For more information on opening times and entry regulations, please contact our library. Details here

November 7, 2022

Discussion Paper on Japan’s monetary policy co-authored by Markus Heckel


DIJ economist Markus Heckel has co-authored the discussion paper Assessing Unconventional Monetary Policy in Japan Using Market Operation-based Monetary Policy Indices which was published in the RIETI Discussion Paper series in November 2022. Together with his co-authors Tomoo Inoue (Seikei University), Kiyohiko G. Nishimura (Graduate Institute for Policy Studies), and Tatsuyoshi Okimoto (Research Institute of Economy, Trade and Industry, RIETI), Markus analyzes the effectiveness of unconventional monetary policy (UMP) from 2002 to 2019. Their study quantifies the effect of UMP carried out by open market operations on the macroeconomy in Japan based on four market operation-based monetary policy indices. The results indicate that there were three distinctive regimes with different policy impacts and that UMP carried out using market operations was the most effective in the second regime (mid-2008 to mid-2016). The discussion paper is freely available for download here

Event Series
March 30, 2023

Online DIJ talk by Chika Watanabe on Patchwork Ethnography

© Chika Watanabe

Against the background of neoliberal university labour conditions, expectations of work-life balance, and environmental concerns, long-term fieldwork is becoming difficult for researchers using ethnographic methods. Gökçe Günel and Chika Watanabe propose ‘patchwork ethnography’ to consolidate the innovations that are already happening in ethnographic research out of necessity—to balance family and research, for example—but that remain black boxed. Patchwork ethnography begins from the acknowledgement that recombinations of ‘home’ and ‘field’ have perhaps always existed in fieldwork practices. However, the interpenetration of the personal with the professional is often deemed illegitimate in research practices. This talk presents patchwork ethnography as a provocation to open spaces of honest conversation so that models other than uninterrupted fieldwork can become recognized methodological approaches, while still upholding the importance of long-term commitments, language proficiency, and contextual knowledge. Details and registration here

Chika Watanabe, University of Manchester
January 11, 2023

Special journal issue on Abe’s legacy for Southeast Asian relations

© Kyoto Review

The latest volume of the open-access Kyoto Review of Southeast Asia investigates Shinzo Abe’s legacy for the future of Japanese-Southeast Asian relations. It was guest edited by DIJ historian David M. Malitz who also contributed the article “Japanese-Thai Relations through Two Coups: Back to Business”. In it, David traces the positive development of Japanese-Thai relations under Abe’s government (2006-07, 2012-20) during times of political instability in Thailand. The special issue also contains articles on Shinzo Abe’s military legacy for Indonesia (Bima Prawira Utama), Philippine-Japan relations (Karl Ian Cheng Chua), Japan-Singapore relations (Kei Koga), and Vietnam-Japan relations (Hoang Minh Hang). All articles can be accessed freely via the journal’s website here

Event Series
March 7, 2023

Conference presents results from DIJ’s research cluster on ‘Local Communities’


Six former and current DIJ researchers who have contributed to the DIJ’s research cluster The Future of Local Communities in Japan – Risks and Opportunities in the Face of Multiple Challenges will give presentations on their research results at the conference ‘Local Self-organization and Civic Engagement in Regional Japan’ on March 7, 2023, on-site only at the DIJ. Topics covered include social welfare provision, volunteerism, regional theatre, fishery cooperatives, and shifting state-society relations. They will be complemented with presentations by prominent Japanese scholars in the field. The conference will close with a book break introducing Rethinking Locality in Japan (eds. Sonja Ganseforth & Hanno Jentzsch, Routledge 2022). Details and registration here

March 18, 2023

DIJ researchers at AAS conference in Boston


DIJ historian David M. Malitz and social scientist Nora Kottmann will present results from their latest research at the upcoming annual conference of the Association for Asian Studies (AAS) in Boston. David will give his paper “Written out of History: Japanese-Siamese (Thai) Relations Prior to the 1932 Revolution” in the panel Hedging Towards Hegemony: Deconstructing the Myth of the “Bamboo Diplomacy” in Thailand. Nora is organizer and chair of the panel Privileged transnational families in and from East Asia: Gendered practices, gendered spaces? Her paper “(Un)Voluntarily trapped in heteronormativity: Familial decision making of transnational professionals in Tokyo” analyzes how and where transnational corporate professionals and their families ‘do family’ from a gender perspective.

February 17, 2023

Franz Waldenberger chairs panel on ‘Digital and green transformation’

© Nissan Institute of Japanese Studies

DIJ director Franz Waldenberger will chair the panel ‘Digital and green transformation’ at the two-day conference Reforming Capitalism, Going Digital and Going Green: Does Japan Hold Answers? organized by Oxford University’s Nissan Institute of Japanese Studies. Its goals are to go behind the international headlines on inflation, cost of living crises, and interest rates to ask what can we learn from the Japanese experience of our shared challenges. Topics include productivity and investment, ‘leveling up’, digital and green transformation, and the common quest to reform capitalism and build a new ‘growth model’. The conference brings together sixteen experts from Japan and Europe, across the academic, business, and political spectrum to help develop shared solutions to our shared problems. It takes place on February 17-18, 2023 at Saïd Business School in Oxford. Details and programme here

Upcoming Events

March 1 – March 31, 2023

Book exhibition Mori Ōgai

  • Panel Discussion
    15:00 ~ 18:00

    Human-Machine Interaction and Responsibility

  • DIJ Method Talks
    18:30 ~ 19:30

    Patchwork Ethnography: Interpenetrations of the Personal and the Professional in Research

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    DIJ Brochure

    Please see the DIJ Brochure for more information about our institute (v. 7/2022)

    Special Project:
    Tokyo Olympics

    “Japan through the lens of the Tokyo Olympics”

    For more information see our
    → project page.

    #Reconciliation and overcoming historical tensions between Japan & S Korea are on the agenda again with a proposed summit. In her timely article on national #apologies, Jane Crawford Munro @Griffith_Uni asks, What is the impact of an ... apology? @japansocsci

    At yesterday's Kantō branch workshop of the Society of Socio-Informatics, I gave a talk on the "Connection of COVID-19 countermeasures in Japan and the National Data Strategy". I will treat the topic in several forthcoming articles. ... #社会情報学会

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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. 2
    Contemporary Japan is open year-round for rolling submissions, with accepted publications published immediately online. Please see the instructions for submission here.