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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
February 29, 2024

Hybrid Study Group on AI and Jesuit Written Artefacts

© Herzog August Bibliothek Wolfenbüttel

Between 1595 and 1610, the first recorded contacts between Europeans and Japanese took place. In the Jesuit Colleges in Kyushu, lectures were delivered on Aristotelian philosophy, theology, and Ptolemaic cosmology. In Germany, almost 450 years later in 2019, this tripartite work on science and religion is discovered in the Herzog August Bibliothek Wolfenbüttel: the first complete Japanese translation of the so-called Compendia compiled in Japan. Bridging the gap between computer science and historical linguistics, this talk will present a novel approach of understanding this written artefact by applying the possibilities artificial intelligence offers. It will address the challenges of finetuning AI-powered tools to historical Japanese, training AI models for text recognition in multiple text directions and writing systems, coding scripts tailored to historical romanization, and conducting quantitative analysis of a comparative text corpus of Jesuit codices. Details and registration here

Sophie Takahashi, Ruhr University Bochum/DIJ Tokyo
March 14, 2024

Workshop explores relationship in human-machine interaction

When humans and machines interact, do they form (real) relationships? At the workshop Relationship in Human-Machine Interaction, six keynote speakers will share insights on the relationship-building aspects of humans and robots, avatars, or devices. Their talks will cover social psychology, media studies, computer science, and engineering viewpoints, including a presentation by DIJ researcher Celia Spoden on avatar robots as alter ego for hospitalized students. The talks and discussions are followed by the interactive workshop “Detour: Brand characters, tonalities, and emotions”. The event highlights the potential of technology to support communication, ease loneliness and decrease isolation, and enable new ways to organize work and life. All participants are invited to join the discussions and share their perspectives. The workshop is organised by the German Research Foundation (DFG) and the German Centre for Research and Innovation Tokyo (DWIH Tokyo). It is co-supported by the DIJ. Details and registration here


Japan 2023: Articles by DIJ researchers and alumni on Japanese society, economics, history, and politics

© Iudicium

The latest issue of the Japan Jahrbuch, the yearbook published by the German Association for Social Science Research on Japan, includes four articles (in German) written by current and former DIJ researchers on Japanese society, economics, history, and politics. DIJ director Franz Waldenberger and Kostiantyn Ovsiannikov (Atsugi) provide a quantitative review of Japan’s municipalities in demographic transition, while DIJ economist Markus Heckel assesses the Bank of Japan’s monetary policy under Haruhiko Kuroda and Kazuo Ueda. DIJ historian Torsten Weber and Anke Scherer (Bochum) analyse recent developments in historical debates and historical consciousness in Japan. Former DIJ senior research fellow Christian G. Winkler (Fukuoka) examines domestic Japanese politics in 2022/2023. The volume is edited by DIJ advisory board member David Chiavacci and DIJ alumna Iris Wieczorek. For more details please see the table of content. The book is available as softcover and e-book from the publisher here.

Event Series
March 19, 2024

Hybrid Study Group discusses Japanese career women’s identity conflict

© LMU Munich School of Management

This presentation explores how career-minded Japanese women experience and respond to identity conflict. Based on 125 in-depth interviews with Japanese women who face incompatible expectations for their roles in their professional and private lives, it shows how this dilemma leads to an identity conflict to which the women react with different identity work strategies: Individuals may either sacrifice their career ambitions or forego starting a family; alternatively, they might attempt to reconcile professional and personal role expectations by relinquishing perfectionism in both spheres, or seek partners whose personal expectations align more closely with their career objectives. While these strategies may resolve incompatible external role expectations, this study reveals that they do not effectively diminish internalized dilemmas. Possible solutions to resolve the dilemma will be discussed. Details and registration here

Helene Tenzer, LMU Munich School of Management
January 4, 2024

Franz Waldenberger im Gespräch über japanische Infrastrukturpolitik mit brand eins Magazin

Screenshot brandeins

Stuttgart 21, Flughafen Berlin, veraltete Infrastruktur, Verspätungen: Großbauprojekte laufen in Deutschland selten nach Plan. Was macht Japan anders und was kann Deutschland von Japan lernen? DIJ-Direktor Franz Waldenberger erklärt im Interview und Artikel “Im Flow” (brand eins, 1/2024), wie Investitionen in die Infrastruktur und in die Verkehrsplanung Japan einen Mobilitätsvorsprung gegenüber Deutschland verschafft hätten. So könne bei der Nettoreisezeit die Bahn in Japan bis 800 Kilometer mit dem Flugzeug mithalten, wogegen dies in Deutschland nur bis 400 Kilometer gelte. Insgesamt sei der öffentliche Transport in Japan deutlicher besser als in Deutschland, weil für ihn mehr Ressourcen genutzt würden und der Verkehr besser geplant sei. Waldenberger verweist auch auf die relativ zeit- und kosteneffiziente Umsetzung von Großbauprojekten in Japan, die im Alltag nur zu geringen Störungen führe. “Es ist Wahnsinn, welche Großbauprojekte mitten in Tokio stattfinden”, sagt er. Auch wenn neue Stadtviertel oder Verkehrsnetze gebaut würden, funktioniere “drum herum alles ganz normal weiter”.   

December 15, 2023

DIJ Newsletter Winter 2023/24

In the winter issue of our DIJ Newsletter we introduce new team members, guests, and publications. We also report on two Alumni meetings as well as on a selection of our recent academic and outreach activities. We hope you will enjoy exploring this new edition of the DIJ Newsletter. If you haven’t done so yet, you can subscribe to receive our Newsletters directly to your inbox. The full issues and subscription form are available here.

December 22, 2023

Season’s Greetings and best wishes for the New Year

© DIJ / Keith Crowley (photo)

Das Deutsche Institut für Japanstudien wünscht erholsame und frohe Festtage und einen guten Start in ein erfolgreiches Jahr des Drachens!

The German Institute for Japanese Studies wishes you a happy holiday season and a successful Year of the Dragon!


December 12, 2023

Now Open Access: book publication ‘Research into Japanese Society’ co-edited by Sebastian Polak-Rottmann


How can researchers conduct fieldwork during a pandemic? And how can students contribute actively to the collaborative production of knowledge? The new open access publication Research into Japanese society: Reflections from three projects involving students as researchers during the COVID-19 pandemic (University of Vienna 2023), co-edited by Antonia Miserka and DIJ’s Sebastian Polak-Rottmann, collects three group projects from Sophia University, the University of Vienna and FU Berlin that involve students as researchers at different stages in their academic lives. In all three cases, students actively participated in gathering data for a group project and reflected on their experiences. The volume also demonstrates how research in a team can be conducted, albeit in an adjusted manner, during a pandemic. The fifteen contributions include a chapter co-authored by Sebastian and DIJ alumnus Hanno Jentzsch (“Rural spaces, remote methods—the virtual Aso Winter Field School 2022”) and a conversation between Sebastian and John W. Traphagan (University of Texas at Austin) on his book Cosmopolitan Rurality, Depopulation, and Entrepreneurial Ecosystems in 21st-Century Japan.

Upcoming Events

  • DIJ History & Humanities Study Group
    18:30 ~ 20:00

    Christ, Codices, Coding: Applying AI to Jesuit Written Artefacts

  • DIJ Business & Economics Study Group
    18:00 ~ 19:30

    Japanese Career Women’s Persistent Identity Conflict

  • DIJ Social Science Study Group
    18:30 ~ 20:00

    Socialising the Soldier: Negotiating History, Tradition, and Identity at Japan’s National Defense Academy

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    Call for Submissions

    Contemporary Japan
    current issue Vol. 35, No. 2
    Contemporary Japan is open year-round for rolling submissions, with accepted publications published immediately online. Please see the instructions for submission here.

    DIJ Monograph Series

    Our monograph series is Open Access Open Access after a one-year embargo period. Downloads are available on our
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