Events and Activities
Joint book exhibition ’10 Years after 3.11′ in March
Ten years have passed since the massive Great East Japan Earthquake hit Japan on March 11, 2011. To mark the anniversary, the International House of Japan Library, the library of the German Institute for Japanese Studies, and the Bibliothèque de la Maison franco-japonaise present publications related to the earthquake and its aftermath in English, German, and French. The joint book exhibition is open to the public from March 1 to 31. For further information on the exhibition please see the flyer and contact the respective library. A list of available books and articles at the DIJ library is available here for download (PDF).
DIJ research presentations at “Sporting Japan” conference
DIJ principal researchers Sonja Ganseforth and Torsten Weber have been invited by the Japanese Studies Program at Ateneo de Manila University to give research presentations at the 19th Annual International Conference of Japanese Studies. This year’s theme is “Sporting Japan: Manifestations of Society in Transition” and both will present papers related to their research on the Tokyo Olympics. Sonja’s paper “Spectacle and disaster – Opposition against the Tokyo 2020+1 ‘Recovery Games’” is part of the panel “Prospects of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics” (March 5, Friday, 11-13 JST). Torsten will give his paper “1940, 1964, 2020: Tokyo’s Olympic Pasts as Selective Memory, Nostalgia, and Denial” in the panel “History, Remembrance, and Representation of the Olympics” (March 5, Friday, 14-16 JST). Both papers draw on research Sonja and Torsten undertook for the DIJ’s special project on the Tokyo Olympics and the open access book publication Japan Through the Lens of the Tokyo Olympics. You can register for this online conference here.
Election campaign film available on DIJ YouTube channel
Pictures at an Election is a 68 min. documentary that shows Japan’s electoral machinery in full steam and focuses on the question of how Japanese candidates try to appeal to voters. It depicts different strategies and techniques, and presents a lively picture of political culture in Japan. It was filmed by political scientist and then DIJ senior research fellow Axel Klein (now Duisburg-Essen University, Germany) during the electoral campaigning in July 2007. Until today the documentary has been distributed for free to more than 100 universities all over the world. Since the pandemic has made on campus teaching impossible and online access to teaching material has become indispensable, the DIJ and Axel Klein have decided to publish the documentary on the DIJ’s YouTube channel. Coincidentally, the (unintended) protagonist of the documentary, Marukawa Tamayo, became Minister in charge of Women’s Empowerment and Gender Equality and Minister of State for the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games in February 2021. This documentary shows how she started her political career with her first election campaign. Details
Torsten Weber quoted in Süddeutsche Zeitung article on Japanese history textbooks
DIJ historian Torsten Weber was interviewed by the German daily Süddeutsche Zeitung for an article on the debate about history textbooks in Japan. Torsten explains that due to the so-called “neighbouring country clause” the majority of Japanese history textbooks presented a mainstream and relatively well-balanced narrative of Japanese imperialism and war-time aggression. The main objective of the textbooks was to prepare for entry exams. Consequently, they focused on teaching facts, causal relations, and omitted interpretations and controversial statements. Torsten gives the example of the Nanjing atrocities which are explicitly mentioned in the textbooks, including the victimization of Chinese civilians by the Japanese military. However, they avoided giving a number of victims as this remains a contested issue between the governments of Japan and the PR China. The article “Es geht um das, was nicht drinsteht” (It’s about what’s not in it) appeared in the print version of the SZ on 22 February and can be read online here.
DIJ researchers in Belgian and German media on Tokyo Olympics
DIJ human geographer Sonja Ganseforth and historian Torsten Weber are quoted in newspaper articles in the Belgian daily De Standaard and the German weekly Die Zeit. Sonja comments on recent criticism in Japan of the Tokyo Olympics. “Activists have been criticizing the exorbitant spending and corruption in the run-up to the Games for years”, she is quoted in the article “Japanners vrezen dat Spelen zullen fungeren als superverspreider” (Japanese fear that Games may act as superspreader). “The expensive postponement due to the Covid crisis also leads to skepticism”, Sonja says. Torsten’s comments on how the Tokyo Olympics have become linked to promoting nationalism in Japan are quoted in “Olympia 2021 in Japan: Japans Nationalisten und ihr Plan mit den Spielen” (Japan’s nationalists and their plan with the Games). Their research on the impact of the 2020 Olympics on Japanese society is part of the DIJ’s special project on the Tokyo Olympics and the open access book publication Japan Through the Lens of the Tokyo Olympics.
In the post-3.11 decade, Japan has seen at least two peaks in social movements: anti-nuclear protests in the year following the triple disaster of 2011 and a second one in 2015 in response to the Diet passing the National Security Act legislation. Together they mark the largest protest wave Japan has seen since the 1970s. In her latest DIJ Working Paper, deputy director Barbara Holthus introduces the findings of a large-scale survey undertaken in 2017 with close to 80,000 participants in the larger Tokyo metropolitan area. Questions focus on understanding who was sympathetic to the 3.11 movement, who was mobilized, and who participated in the protests. The goal was to understand what distinguishes the participants from the non-participants and to understand the role values and political views play in this. Gendered social movements in post-3.11 Japan: A survey report is the first English-language publication to present an overview of the data that was originally published in Japanese in 3.11go no shakai undō: 8mannin no dēta kara wakatta koto (eds. Naoto Higuchi & Mitsuru Matsutani) in 2020. This publication is part of Barbara’s ongoing research project Social movements and gender in post-3.11 Japan.
New book chapter on Japanese occupation of China
DIJ historian Torsten Weber has contributed a chapter on Chinese Asia discourse to the sourcebook Translating the Occupation. The Japanese Invasion of China, 1931–45, published by the University of British Columbia Press in February 2021 and edited by Jonathan Henshaw, Craig A. Smith, and Norman Smith. It is the first English-language volume to provide a diverse selection of important primary sources on Japan’s occupation of China translated from Chinese, Japanese, and Korean. Torsten’s chapter “Finding China’s ‘Asia’ in Japanese Asianism” studies how Chinese elites in the pro-Japanese Reorganized National Government (1940-45) tried to find a balance between cooperation and resistance to Japan by appropriating Japanese Asianist rhetoric of a ‘New Order in East Asia’ and an ‘East Asian League’. This chapter draws on his earlier research on Japanese and Chinese Asianism and his monograph Embracing ‘Asia’ in China and Japan. Asianism Discourse and the Contest for Hegemony (Palgrave 2018).
Online cooperation meeting with University of Vienna
On February 4, seven researchers from the DIJ and its cooperation partner at the University of Vienna met online. Due to the pandemic, Vienna doctoral students are forced to modify their Japan research: travel to Japan has not been possible for over a year, and the doctoral students turn to hiring a Japanese company to conduct survey research on their behalf. DIJ deputy director Barbara Holthus and DIJ researchers Sonja Ganseforth and Nora Kottmann, who have all conducted their own surveys in Japan provided hands-on advice on research companies, costs involved, possible sampling strategies, questionnaire construction and the importance of sharei (incentives). Former DIJ PhD students Florian Purkarthofer and Dennis Askitis as well as Stefan Hundsdorfer, who are all currently doctoral students at Vienna, attended the meeting. It was part of the tight-knit cooperation between the DIJ and Japanese Studies at the University of Vienna. The cooperation started in 2010 with Wolfram Manzenreiter, who also participated in the online meeting, joining the editorial board of Contemporary Japan. Since 2014, one DIJ researcher per year has been teaching a class in Vienna.