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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
July 17, 2024

Hybrid Study Group on Gendered Educational Trajectories

In Japan, despite women’s improved access to higher education, still only one in five applicants to the nation’s top university are women. This presentation focuses on the role of high school students’ “imagined futures” in the context of highly uncertain admission and diversified higher education to provide explanations for the underrepresentation of women in Japanese selective universities. It draws on data from qualitative interviews with high school seniors and teachers in high schools where almost everyone goes to college. In contrast to the expectation that students in these schools are homogeneous in terms of meritocratic aspirations, this study finds significant gender differences in “aiming high.” This presentation provides theoretical insights into how gendered imagined futures and macro-level contexts combine to allocate men and women with similar academic potential into different educational and occupational trajectories, with implications for inequality in higher education in other sociocultural contexts. Details and registration here

Speaker: Fumiya Uchikoshi, Harvard University
July 10, 2024

New book chapter by David M. Malitz on Thailand-Japan Relations

The book chapter “Beyond the Comprehensive Strategic Partnership: Taking Stock of Thailand-Japan Relations” by DIJ researcher David M. Malitz provides an overview of the development of Japanese-Thai relations leading to the Comprehensive Strategic Partnership in November 2022. David explains that due to demographic and technological change as well as the necessary transition to more sustainable economic development, the partnership’s economic backbone is faced with challenges. Nevertheless, and despite the growing influence of the People’s Republic of China, it is far too early to consider the Japanese-Thai economic partnership in terminal decline. Due to its importance for both sides, both governments have already declared their commitment to support it and make it fit for the future. Japan’s considerable soft power will be a major asset for this endeavour, the chapter concludes. David’s chapter is published in Southeast Asian Affairs 2024 (ISEAS – Yusof Ishak Institute), edited by Daljit Singh and Hoang Thi Ha.

June 5, 2024

New open access article co-authored by Celia Spoden on avatar robots in schools

With advancements in communication technologies and internet connectivity, avatar robots for children who cannot attend school in person due to illness or disabilities have become more widespread. Introducing these technologies to the classroom aims to offer possibilities of social and educational inclusion. While implementation is still at an experimental level, several of these avatars have already been introduced as a marketable service. However, various obstacles impede widespread acceptance.  In the open access research article “Staying connected: implementing avatar robots at schools in Germany and Japan”, DIJ’s Celia Spoden and Arisa Ema (University of Tokyo) identify structural similarities and differences in both countries. Their study, published in Frontiers in Digital Health, suggests that avatar technologies bear high potential for children to stay socially and educationally connected.

April 1, 2024

Open access article on Japan as model in Thai conservative writings

Japan has been considered a role-model for the successful pursuit of ‘progress’ or national development in Siam/Thailand since the late 19th century. As Senior Research Fellow David M. Malitz shows, the Japanese exemplar played a significant role in Siamese/Thai political discourse, with three of the kingdom’s most important conservative thinkers writing in detail about Japanese history. They interpret Japanese battlefield and economic successes as the outcome of the national character of the Japanese. The message of these works is that to pursue national ‘progress’, the Siamese/Thai need to be more like the stereotypical Japanese, and become more disciplined, and patriotic, as well as cooperating for the national good rather than pursuing particular interests. “Japan for Example – National Character as the Driving Force of National Progress in Thai Conservative Writings about Japan” (Manusya: Journal of Humanities, 26(1), 1-15) is available open access here

March 31, 2024

New open access paper on social care in rural Japan

Screenshot Japan Focus

How can local stakeholders activate the local community to prevent regional care systems from collapsing? Through the lens of challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, this study by DIJ political scientist Sebastian Polak-Rottmann and DIJ alumnus Hanno Jentzsch (Leiden University) reveals the strengths and weaknesses of community-based regional welfare-making in Aso (Kumamoto Prefecture). Their data demonstrates that in the Aso region longstanding social ties, trust, and mutual support constitute the normative underpinning and the concrete social foundation for preventive old age care, based on routine cooperation between communities, volunteers, and social welfare councils. However, as the pandemic hindered social exchange and amplified processes of community decline, it further challenges local communities to realize the vision of a healthy “aging in place” based on mutual support. The paper “Community-Based Care During COVID-19: Balancing Social Distancing and Social Care in Rural Japan – The Case of the Aso Region” (Asia-Pacific Journal. Japan Focus, March 2024) is available open access here.

Event Series
June 15, 2024

Call for Papers: Workshop ‘Imagined Futures in Japan and Beyond’

The DIJ, in collaboration with the German Centre for Research and Innovation (DWIH) Tokyo, is hosting an interdisciplinary workshop delving into both fictional and nonfictional portrayals of Japan’s technological future. We will juxtapose these visions with those from other cultures and analyze them through the lens of “narrative” and “sociotechnical imaginary” theoretical frameworks. Scholars whose research aligns with the thematic scope of our workshop are invited to send their abstracts for their planned presentations via E-Mail to by June 15, 2024. We welcome paper proposals by scholars from different career stages (including PhD students) and from a variety of cultural and disciplinary backgrounds. Participants who are accepted for the workshop will be notified by July 5, 2024. Before submitting your abstract, please see the full Call for Papers here

June 3, 2024

Stellenausschreibung “Mitarbeiterin / Mitarbeiter (m/w/d) in der Verwaltung”

Das DIJ sucht Verstärkung im Verwaltungsteam. Die Stelle umfasst insbesondere folgende Aufgaben: Unterstützung bei der Planung und Durchführung von Veranstaltungen (Eventmanagement); Unterstützung bei der Beschaffung und Vergabe von Aufträgen an japanische Unternehmen und Partner; Kommunikation mit japanischen Behörden, Unternehmen und Kooperationspartnern; Unterstützung bei Visaangelegenheiten; sonstige Organisationsaufgaben und allgemeine Unterstützung des Institutsteams. Wenn Sie mindestens einen mittleren Schulabschluss, muttersprachliche Japanischkenntnisse, sehr gute Kenntnisse der deutschen und englischen Sprache haben sowie sicher sind im Umgang mit Bürosoftware, freuen wir uns auf Ihre Bewerbung bis zum 15. Juli 2024. Die vollständige Ausschreibung finden Sie hier auf Deutsch und auf Japanisch

Event Series
June 20, 2024

Online Study Group on fairness in law in Japan and Germany

When the legal system is abused to merely cause harm to another person or the exercise of the law is grossly contrary to social norms, judges can prohibit the exercise of a legal right. This principle, known as “abuse of rights”, was adopted by Japan from Europe after the Meiji Restoration to resolve conflicts between written law and social norms. This presentation deals with the historical development and contemporary practice of the prohibition of abuse of rights in Japan and Germany. Decisions and the theoretical discussion from the first application in Japan to today will be presented, analyzed, and contrasted with German theory and practice. The aim is to answer the question of how and why the Japanese understanding of the prohibition of abuse of rights differs from that in Germany. This also leads to very fundamental questions about the relationship between legislators and courts, and society’s understanding of law as a whole. Please note that this is an online only event. Details and registration here

Felix Dröll, Goethe-Universität Frankfurt/DIJ Tokyo

Upcoming Events

Nothing from 17/07/2024 to 17/12/2024.

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    DIJ Brochure

    Please see the DIJ Brochure for more information about our institute (07/2024)

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    Call for Submissions

    Contemporary Japan
    current issue Vol. 36, No.1
    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
    → monographs pages


    DIJ Tokyo
    Jochi Kioizaka Bldg. 2F
    7-1 Kioicho Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo
    102-0094 Japan
    Where to find us

    +81 (0)3 3222-5077
    +81 (0)3 3222-5420



    DIJ-ARI Asian Infrastructures Research Partnership