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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

July 14, 2020

Future Visions of a (Digital) Public Sphere:
Findings from Japan

© M. Hohendanner & C. Ullstein

With the pandemic since early 2020, the use of online platforms has increased in most societies. Consequently, providers of digital platforms have gained substantial influence on how people inform themselves, for example about the novel coronavirus or political topics. However, many posts and publications include falsified or unproven data (better known as “fake news”), also in Japan. In the course of our research we raise the question how the status quo and the future of the aforementioned digital platforms can be explored collectively with regards to issues like fake news, democratic values or privacy. We argue that the resulting scenarios, which arise from the subjective experiences of their speculators and, hence, reveal individual hopes and fears, allow us to explore and discuss utopian and dystopian visions of technological futures and alternative realities. Details

Michel Hohendanner, Munich University of Applied Sciences
Chiara Ullstein, Technical University of Munich

July 15, 2020

Webinar on ‘Tokyo Olympics Postponed: How Japanese Society Responds’

Originally scheduled to begin on July 24, 2020, the Tokyo Olympics have been postponed to July 2021. This is a dilemma: The Olympics were supposed to present a brand-new Japan to the world, a leader in sustainability, diversity, inclusion, and a slew of other admirable goals. But almost overnight, Tokyo’s buzz of Olympic logos, countdown clocks and construction hustle have come to an eerie standstill: What now? Join sociologist and DIJ deputy director Barbara Holthus, editor of Japan Through the Lens of the Tokyo Olympics and Ulrike Schaede, former member of the DIJ’s advisory board, on July 15, 8:30 a.m. (JST) in this UC San Diego Japan Forum Webinar for a discussion of how the postponement has affected the various stakeholders in society: athletes with crushed aspirations, para-Olympians with broken dreams, disappointed volunteers, empty-handed ticket holders, devastated inn- and shopkeepers, jubilant anti-Olympic movement participants, among Tokyoites and in the periphery.
Please download the event flyer for information on how to register for this event.


DIJ research presentations at SASE Virtual Conference


DIJ research fellows Susanne Brucksch and Markus Heckel will participate in the 32nd Annual Meeting of the Society for the Advancement of Socio-Economics (SASE). This year’s meeting will be held online from July 18-21.
Susanne will participate as a discussant in the Roundtable “Economy, Society, Polity: Global and National Health(care) Lessons from the Covid-19 Pandemic”. She will also present her paper “Innovation Activities through Medtech Partnerships in Japan?” which highlights current efforts to increase medtech partnerships, cluster policies and matching-hubs to cross disciplinary and organizational boundaries and to encourage innovation activities in the field of medical devices in Japan.
Markus will present two papers: “Deflation – Lessons from the Japanese Experience”, co-authored with DIJ director Franz Waldenberger, applies the quantity theory of money and international arbitrage conditions. It suggests that expansionary monetary policies are very limited in fighting deflation in Japan. Markus’ paper “Central Bank Communication under Unconventional Monetary Policy: The Bank of Japan during Times of Crisis” analyzes the monetary policy and central bank communication of the Bank of Japan during 2003-2019 with a focus on the global financial crises and the Fukushima nuclear disaster. Results show that the complexity of monetary policy can be reduced to forms of “general” monetary policy with quantitative easing and short-term liquidity emergency measures used in crisis times.

June 30, 2020

New issue of DIJ Newsletter published

The latest issue of our DIJ Newsletter features reflections on the impact of COVID-19 on Japan and Japanese Studies, summarizes our first web forum on the pandemic in Germany and Japan, and introduces a new DIJ research project on Digital Transformation as well as a book publication on the Olympic Games. We also congratulate one of our colleagues on the receipt of a prestigious award, give an update on recent publications, and announce recent personnel changes  in our “Staff News” section.
Visit our DIJ Newsletter webpage to download the most recent issue or to order your free print copy.

July 9, 2020

Murata Sayaka’s Convenience Store Woman: Discussing Gender Identity and Society in Contemporary Japanese Literature

Lecture Series ‘Gender and Sexuality in East Asia’ (3/5)
A convenience store is a reflection of Japan’s society. The way people behave, act, react, and interact is a display of contemporary Japan’s common sense. It reveals how social life is organized in terms of interpersonal relations, habits, norms, values, etc. What, however, happens when someone does not fit Japan’s common sense? This presentation will elaborate on how Murata addresses the fundamental question of an individual’s place within society by focusing on how the novel deals with social conventions, gender constructions, and work. The analysis of these issues shows how Murata deconstructs Japan’s common sense and reveals its naturalized, unspoken, and taken-for-granted rules that organize contemporary Japanese society. Details

Ronald Saladin, Trier University

June 25, 2020

Cute Masculinity – Investigating the Meaning of Virtual Shōjo and Girl Parody by Young Men in the 2010s

Lecture Series ‘Gender and Sexuality in East Asia’ (2/5)
Around 2010, cute male characters, drawn visually identical to bishōjo (beautiful girl) characters, moved beyond erotic computer games (erogē) and into cosplay and cute cross-dress fashion subculture, on campuses and online. By the middle of the 2010s, M2F cute and girlish boys were also a tangible theme in advertising and major media production. The well-trained bodies and willing faces of young girls lining screens and interfaces in the city, became infiltrated by male talents and pop idols in cute cross-dress. This paper explores the pick-up and adaptation of cute as a male visual aesthetic in subcultural practices and fashion and considers its complex play with transformation and masculine identity. Details

Sharon Kinsella, The University of Manchester

June 18, 2020

How Real Are Numbers?
Making Sense of National COVID-19 Statistics

DIJ MFJ Web-Forum
The number of infections, reproduction numbers, doubling speeds, death rates: national pandemic statistics are updated, compared and discussed daily. The numbers are shocking, but so are the huge national differences. Why are there so few people infected in Japan? Why is the death rate in Germany so low? Why is the situation in France so bad? For sure, countries apply different testing and reporting methods. Simple comparisons are likely to be misleading. Nevertheless, these numbers are relevant as they influence important policy decisions. In our Web-Forum we ask leading experts in the field from France, Germany, and Japan to explain the apparent differences in national data related to the COVID-19 pandemic and what the numbers can really tell us about the situation in the three countries. Details
Ansgar Lohse, University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf
Paul-André Rosental, Sciences Po Paris
Kenji Shibuya, King’s College London
You can access this online event here:

Upcoming Events

July 14, 2020
  • DIJ Social Science Study Group
    18:30 ~ 20:00

    Future Visions of a (Digital) Public Sphere → finished check-red

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.

Call for Papers

Interdisciplinary Conference “Climate Change, Energy, and Sustainability in the Pacific Region. Knowledge, Policies, and Transfers (1970s – Present)”, DIJ Tokyo, 19-20 April 2021

Deadline for proposals: 15 July 2020.
Read full CfP → conference page.

Project: Tokyo Olympics

“Japan through the lens of the Tokyo Olympics”

For more information see our
→ project page.

DIJ researchers Susanne Brucksch and Markus Heckel will present their latest research on health tech and on monetary policies, respectively, at the 32nd Annual Meeting of the Society for the Advancement of Socio-Economics @SASE, July 18-21 ... #SASE2020

Reminder: Join @barbGhawaii, editor of & @UlrikeSchaede, director of @GPS_UCSD's JFIT on July 14, 4:30 pm PDT (July 15, 8:30 am JST) in a discussion of how the postponement of #Tokyo2020 has affected Japan. ... Registration required ⬇️

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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. 32, No. 1
Contemporary Japan is open year-round for rolling submissions, with accepted publications published immediately online. Please see the instructions for submission here.