Events and Activities
Social scientists are frequently concerned with the “local”, including issues such as subnational elections, local governance, the formation of local identities and communities, or local economic “clusters”. However, the social and spatial boundaries of the “local” are often elusive, and subject to change. This seems particularly true in Japan, where local administrative boundaries were abruptly redrawn in a wave of municipal mergers in the mid-2000s, initiating an ongoing process of local socio-spatial readjustments. Beyond the Japanese case, refining our conception of what constitutes a subnational “locality” – its spatial, social, formal and informal boundaries – produces new questions, reveals different stakeholders, and uncovers the impact of social constellations that otherwise remain invisible.
The two speakers will address political and economic consequences implied by differing delineations of subnational spaces in Japan and China.
Carolyn Cartier, University of Technology, Sydney
Franz Waldenberger, German Institute for Japanese Studies
This symposium aims to enhance the discussion of the “local” as unit of analysis – a discussion that is vital to avoid under-complex approaches to multilayered socio-economic and political phenomena. The focus is on contemporary Japan, which provides a particularly interesting case in this respect, not least due to the massive reorganization of the local administrative landscape in the mid-2000s. The symposium brings together researchers who link different conceptions of the “local” to concrete social, economic, and political problems. Analyzing the (re)configuration and interaction of formal and informal, spatial and social sub-national boundaries will advance the understanding of socio-economic and political organization in and beyond Japan.
Hosting the Olympic and Paralympic Games, the greatest media spectacle of modernity, Tokyo will be at the center of the world’s attention in summer 2020. The nearly universal reach via television and internet broadcast provides the IOC with multi-billion dollar revenue streams and the host with opportunities for placing highly visible messages about the state of the nation and its future to the world.
With less than two years ahead of the Games, the DIJ roundtable features three leading experts on sport mega-events to discuss the political economy of hosting the Olympic Games, the difficulties of message control in the post-factual age, and the legacies of the Games for Japan in the 2020s.
Munehiko Harada, Waseda University
John D. Horne, Waseda University
Wolfram Manzenreiter, University of Vienna
Bouncing Back After Failure: Perceived and Actual Similarity as a Coping Resource in Multinational Work Teams
Multinational work environments challenge the coping capabilities of employees with additional culture-related stressors above and beyond those usually found at the workplace. This paper examines the differential effects of perceived team leader / member similarity, their actual national similarity, and the mutual overlap in personal values on the coping potential of team members in a multinational work team setting, with a special focus on the Japanese context. An analysis of the data provided by 365 dyads of multinational team leaders and members in mixed Japanese/non-Japanese work teams revealed that the coping abilities of team members who shared the leader’s country of origin (surface level national similarity) were not significantly higher than those of team members who came from a different country. Conversely, the actual overlap in personal values endorsed by a team’s leader and each individual team member emerged as a robust predictor for that team member’s coping potential, both directly and indirectly through generalized similarity perceptions. This highlights that in order to understand why some multinational work teams work out in the long run and others do not, an overly strong focus on surface characteristics of their composition (e.g., national or ethnic diversity) may not be an optimal approach. In many cases, the actual determinants may be the perceived and experienced match or mismatch between the deep-level psychological characteristics (e.g., shared personal values) of team members and their leaders.
The Politics of Balancing Flexibility and Equality: A Comparison of Recent Equal Pay Reforms in Germany and Japan
In Germany and Japan, like in most OECD countries, the equal pay for equal work principle and other regulations related to equal treatment have been strengthened recently through reforms. These have been justified and promoted as measures to address gender wage gaps as well as discriminatory practices regarding non-standard workers. Yet, observers remain sceptical as to whether these reforms will be effective. Previous research has argued that Germany and Japan as “socially conservative welfare states” (Gottfried and O’Reilly 2002) face particular institutional and value-related obstacles for achieving equal treatment in practice. This paper argues that, while these factors remain important, gaps between policy output and persisting inequalities are increasingly the result of a strategically motivated politics of balancing. Policymakers in both countries use existing institutions such as collective bargaining and labour-management consultations to balance conflicting policy goals, i.e. improving equal treatment and maintaining employment flexibility, which crucially relies on differentiated treatment of workers by, for example, distinguishing between standard and non-standard workers. By resorting to strategies of balancing policymakers hope to console both objectives while mitigating the political risks of controversial structural reform.
Haiku is popular not only in Japan, but also in other countries. The works of Matsuo Basho in particular are highly regarded for their artistry, and his name is widely known throughout the world.
The International House of Japan Library, the Bibliothèque de la Maison franco-japonaise, and the Deutsches Institut für Japanstudien Bibliothek will be displaying translations of Basho’s works and other haiku, as well as critical studies.
On this occasion, please enjoy various haiku translated in English, French, and German editions.
Japanese studies as an occupation: Career planning for Early Career Researchers in theory and practice (A lecture and practical exercise)
Navigating an international research career is a potentially hazardous journey, with many unforeseen challenges and pitfalls to be faced. Japanese Studies like all Area Studies necessarily invites such challenges, as scholars will almost certainly spend long periods on sojourn in radically different scholarly environments. One challenge is to know about and act on institutional expectations and norms with the intention of securing and improving employment opportunities. This is particularly important for early career researchers (ECRs) who may spend long periods on field work or in junior employment in Asia. Moreover, although academics generally insist on evidence based scholarship in their fields of interest, they may rely on personal experience, institutional norms, and hearsay as guides when making decisions in their own organizations. Naturally the decisions that both ECRs and employers make in their respective roles will, in the absence of systematic empirical evidence, be strongly subject to heuristic biases. This research will present quantitative and qualitative evidence from the UK and Japan to inform both ECRs of the potential pitfalls in navigating an international career in academia, and employers in making more informed decisions on hiring junior scholars. It will be followed by a short workshop for participants to support them in working on their own, evidence based, career development planning.
This is a special joint workshop session organized by the DIJ History and Humanities Study Group and the Social Science Study Group designed to encourage conversation among early career scholars.
Peter Matanle, University of Sheffield
This presentation focuses on the discourses in contemporary Japanese popular media and in the recent Japanese academic literature revolving around sexless (hetero-sexual) couple relationships and extra-marital affairs from 2000 to 2017. In addition, this presentation draws from an interview research conducted with 45 Japanese men and women in their 20s to 40s. The aim of this study is to clarify the transformation and the characteristics of the Japanese sexless phenomenon in conjunction with the rise of extra-marital affairs, by demonstrating how the meaning of sexuality (and its lived behavior) in extra-marital affairs diverges from the social expectations on sexuality within couple relationships.
Alice Pacher, Meiji University