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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

December 2, 2021

Nora Kottmann gives online talk on methods in Area Studies


Recent years have seen a growing demand for more systematic and transparent research practices in Area Studies. Based on their recently edited handbook Studying Japan, a comprehensive guide on qualitative methods, research designs, and fieldwork in social science research on Japan, DIJ principal researcher Nora Kottmann and co-editor Cornelia Reiher (FU Berlin) will discuss the role and potential of qualitative methods for Area Studies in the QUAL Speaker Series at the University of Washington. In their online talk on December 1, 12.20 pm (PST)/December 2, 5.20 am (JST), they will outline general discussions, give concrete examples, and introduce recent developments and trends. Details and registration here

November 11, 2021

New article by Sonja Ganseforth analyses Japanese fishery reform

© Wiley

A new, open-access article by DIJ principal researcher Sonja Ganseforth investigating the ongoing reform of Japanese fishery governance and its social and environmental implications has just been published in The Geographical Journal (online first). “Blue revitalization or dispossession? Reform of common resource management in Japanese small-scale fisheries” analyses the growth-oriented reform which challenges successful resource co-management in small-scale fisheries by opening up coastal fishery resources to corporate investors and strengthening top-down regulation. Its analysis offers deeper insights into the transformative as well as dispossessive potential of the global paradigmatic shift towards an intensified industrial exploitation of the oceans against the background of globally proliferating discourses on “blue growth” and the “blue economy”. The article is based on in-depth anthropological field research in rural Japan and an outcome of Sonja’s research project Fishing communities between growth and demise.

December 9, 2021

Online conference on German-East Asian entanglements in the social sciences

© Chalothorn Muangviroj

At the end of the nineteenth century, Germany was widely recognized as the premier place to study political economy, law, and social sciences as summarized under the term Sozialwissenschaften. With its relatively state-centric perspectives and a tendency to grasp society in the context of the interplay of institutional, economic, and psychological factors, the German Sozialwissenschaften significantly influenced elites from the so-called “catch-up countries” such as Russia, Japan, China, and Southern Europe. As a consequence it became the standard reference for scholars from these countries, in some cases even until after World War Two. Focusing on the multinational personal links and multi-fold intellectual entanglements in the context of the globally rising theoretical quest for connections and correlations of empirical facts, this one-day online conference will reexamine the legacies and pitfalls left behind by the German Sozialwissenschaften in East Asia from historical and transnational perspectives. Details and registration here

November 20, 2021

DIJ researchers and alumni at VSJF disciplinary sections’ meeting


Several DIJ researchers and alumni will present, moderate, and discuss latest research on Japan in disciplinary sections of the German Association for Social Science Research on Japan (VSJF) on November 20. Among others, DIJ alumna Carola Hommerich (Sophia University) will present her co-authored paper “Impact of COVID-19 Pandemic on Household Income and Mental Well-Being: Evidence from a Panel-Survey in Japan” in the section Sociology and Social Anthropology. This section is co-convened by Carola, together with DIJ researchers Nora Kottmann and Celia Spoden. DIJ alumni Katharina Dalko and Sebastian Hofstetter (both Halle-Wittenberg University) will give their paper “Technical innovations in the health care sector: Challenges and risks of co-creative approaches using the example of the project DigiVid19” in the Technology section which is convened by DIJ researcher Susanne Brucksch and DIJ alumna Cosima Wagner (FU Berlin). Further section meetings include Economics, convened by DIJ alumnus Harald Conrad (Dusseldorf University), and Culture and Media, organized by DIJ alumna Elisabeth Scherer (Dusseldorf University). The complete programme (in German) is available here

November 24, 2021

Talk by David M. Malitz on Chinese and Japanese Medical Diplomacy in Thailand


DIJ senior research fellow David M. Malitz will be the next speaker in the IN-EAST Research Forum Lecture Series at the University of Duisburg-Essen on November 24. His online talk “Chinese and Japanese Medical Diplomacy in Southeast Asia: The Case of Thailand during the Covid-19 Pandemic” will compare Chinese and Japanese medical diplomacy in Thailand and attempt a first analysis of their reception by the Thai public. The last decade saw an intensifying competition for influence between the People’s Republic of China and Japan in Southeast Asia. Since the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic, this rivalry has extended to the field of medical or health diplomacy, the donation of equipment, drugs and especially vaccines. Thailand offers an interesting case study in this regard as the kingdom enjoys close relations with both China and Japan. Details and registration here

November 19, 2021

Film screening and discussion with filmmaker Thomas Ash: ‘Ushiku’ – fully booked –

In cooperation with the Friedrich-Ebert-Foundation and the OAG Tokyo, the DIJ organizes a special preview screening of the film Ushiku on November 19, ahead of its Japan theatrical release. The screening at the OAG House Tokyo will be followed by a discussion with director Thomas Ash, several protagonists, and human rights expert Ai Kihara-Hunt (University of Tokyo). The film takes viewers deep into the psychological and physical environment inhabited by foreign detainees in one of the largest immigration centres in Japan. On the eve of Japan’s recent immigration reform efforts, the director bypasses the media blackout the government has imposed on its immigration centres, bringing viewers into immediate contact with the detainees, many of whom are refugees seeking asylum. The event will be moderated by DIJ principal researcher Nora Kottmann. Please note: Due to the COVID-19 pandemic special rules for attendance apply. This event is fully booked. We regret that registration is no longer possible. Details here

November 17, 2021

Franz Waldenberger moderates digital currencies panel at virtual GoN-summit

© Group of Nations

DIJ director Franz Waldenberger will moderate the panel “Digital Currencies – European and Japanese Initiatives” at the Group of Nations ‘Solutions through Inclusivity’ virtual summit on November 17.  Together with panelists Andrea Pinna (ECB), Jonas Gross (Frankfurt School Blockchain Center), Hiromi Yamaoka (Future Corporation), and Nobuyuki Kinoshita (Tokyo Financial Exchange), he will discuss how digital currencies are changing the future of financial systems in the digital age. The panel will introduce major findings of the open access book publication The Future of Financial Systems in the Digital Age: Perspectives from Europe and Japan, edited by Markus Heckel and Franz Waldenberger. It is forthcoming from Springer Singapore in 2022 and contains chapters by leading scholars, policymakers, and regulators from Japan and Europe, including the editors as well as panelists Jonas Gross, Hiromi Yamaoka, and Nobuyuki Kinoshita. Registration for the virtual summit is open here

October 20, 2021

Germany’s new Ambassador to Japan visits DIJ

© DIJ Tokyo

On October 20, Germany’s new Ambassador to Japan, Clemens von Goetze, visited our institute. He was accompanied by Lothar Mennicken, the Embassy’s Counsellor for Science and Technology. DIJ director Franz Waldenberger, deputy director Barbara Holthus, and administrative director Joachim Röhr informed the Ambassador about the institute’s ongoing research activities. Franz Waldenberger also presented the Ambassador with a selection of latest DIJ publications. The Ambassador expressed great interest in the DIJ’s expertise in different aspects of contemporary Japan, in particular society and politics. Before assuming his current post, Clemens von Goetze was Germany’s Ambassador to Israel (2015-18) and to the People’s Republic of China (2018-21). We are very pleased and honoured that Ambassador Goetze took the time to visit our institute one day before presenting his credentials to the Emperor at the Imperial Palace. Photo (left to right): Joachim Röhr, Franz Waldenberger, Barbara Holthus, Clemens von Goetze, Lothar Mennicken.

Upcoming Events

December 9, 2021
  • Conference (online)
    16:00 ~ 22:30

    Globalizing the Social Sciences: German-East Asian Entanglements in the 19th and 20th Century

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.

Special Project:
Tokyo Olympics

“Japan through the lens of the Tokyo Olympics”

For more information see our
→ project page.

DIJ research on 3.11

You can find an overview of recent publications and activities by the institute and its researchers on the lasting impact of 3.11 on our special page 10 Years After 3.11 – A Collection of DIJ Research on the ‘Triple Disaster’

This year's New Words and Buzzwords Awards have just been announced In the Top Ten: 'Mokushoku' 黙食 and 'Bottakuri danshaku' ぼったくり男爵 which we have introduced in the recent issues of the DIJ ... Newsletter


As Japan is preparing its bid to host the #Sapporo2030 #WinterOlympics, DIJ principal researcher @stenweber looks back at the positive and negative legacy of #Tokyo2020 in the IIAS Newsletter @AsianStudies: "Olympic Dreams and Traumata" ...

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