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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

October 8, 2021

Autumn issue of DIJ Newsletter published

© DIJ Tokyo

We have just published the autumn issue of our DIJ Newsletter featuring updates on our research, publications, and events, including three upcoming Web Forum sessions on Digital Transformation; two CfP for a workshop on health infrastructures and a conference on sustainable societies; new book publications by our researchers Barbara Geilhorn, Sonja Ganseforth and our alumnus Hanno Jentzsch; an interview with our new senior research fellows Celia Spoden and David M. Malitz; a new contribution to our Catchword series; and much more. We hope you will enjoy exploring this new edition of the DIJ Newsletter. If you haven’t done so yet, you can subscribe to receive it directly to your inbox. The full issue and subscription form are available here.

Event Series
October 20, 2021

DIJ lecture on female rakugo performers on Tokyo’s stages

Screenshot suika rakugo

When talking about traditional Japanese stage-arts, many think of men in kimono. In most stage arts, to this day, female performers are either not trained at all or trained but not accepted to perform in their respective schools’ main stages. Today, about 5% of Tokyo’s rakugo performers are female and most enjoy a big fan following. However, the portfolio of rakugo stories has been created by men for mostly male audiences. This presentation gives an historic overview of the development of the involvement of female performers on Tokyo’s yose stages and discusses the different approaches they take on-stage, particularly looking into issues such as modification of stories, voice, tone, appearance and stage persona. This session of the DIJ History and Humanities Study Group is part of the DIJ Gender and Sexuality in East Asia Lecture Series. Details and registration here

Sarah Stark, University of Ghent

Event Series
October 21, 2021

Fourth Web Forum Series ‘DT’ session on the Future of Society

© Gerd Altmann

Yuko Harayama (Council for Science, Technology and Innovation of Japan), Dietmar Harhoff (Max Planck Institute for Innovation and Competition), and Ulrike Schaede (University of California San Diego) will be the speakers in the fourth session of our MWS Web Forum Series ‘The Digital Transformation’ on October 21. Its focus will be on ‘The Future of Society – National Ambitions and Strategies’. Yuko Harayama’s paper “How to use ‘Society 5.0’?” will introduce the concept and explain its use in Japan and the interest it has attracted abroad. In his presentation “Reconsidering German National Strategies towards Digitalization”, Dietmar Harhoff will focus on the government’s strategic plan ‘Industrie 4.0′, its national AI strategy, and initiatives to accelerate the digitalization of the public sector. Ulrike Schaede’s paper “National Differences in Preparing for the Digital Disruption: Markets v. Industrial Policy” will compare Japan’s reliance on industrial policy, the US’ focus on markets and private initiatives, and Germany’s in-between position. Details and registration here

October 1, 2021

Joint book exhibition ‘World Heritage in Japan’ in October

Japan is home to no less than 25 UNESCO World Heritage sites, including Himeji Castle, Hiroshima Peace Memorial, and Mount Fuji. In July, two new sites in Japan were added to this list: the first comprises Amami-Oshima Island, Tokunoshima Island, northern part of Okinawa Island, and Iriomote Island (Kagoshima and Okinawa prefectures); the second are Jomon Prehistoric Sites in Northern Japan (Hokkaido, Aomori, Iwate, and Akita prefectures). In this year’s joint autumn book exhibition, the International House of Japan Library, the Bibliothèque de la Maison franco-japonaise , and the DIJ’s library are displaying English, French, and German materials on Japan’s World Heritage sites. The exhibition takes place from October 1st to October 30th. For further information, please contact each library. Details here

September 20, 2021

New edited volume explores work of theatre maker Okada Toshiki

© Performance Research Books

Playwright, novelist and theatre director Okada Toshiki is one of the most prominent voices of the current generation of Japanese contemporary theatre makers. His plays, which have been staged at theatre festivals all over the world, address issues such as social inequity, life in Japan after the 3.11 triple disaster, and post-human society. Okada Toshiki & Japanese Theatre (Performance Research Books, 2021), co-edited by DIJ researcher Barbara Geilhorn, Peter Eckersall, Andreas Regelsberger, and Cody Poulton, explores Okada’s work and its importance to the development of contemporary performance in Japan and around the world. For the first time in English it gathers a comprehensive selection of essays, interviews, and translations of three of Okada’s plays. In addressing the work of Okada Toshiki from an interdisciplinary perspective, the book provides an in-depth analysis of an outstanding Japanese artist and contributes to a better understanding of art and society in contemporary Japan. More information here

September 7, 2021

New issue 33(2) of Contemporary Japan published

© Taylor&Francis

The latest issue of Contemporary Japan is now available online and in print. It features original research articles exploring: 1) how crime prevention (bōhan) became a widespread concept in low-crime Japan (Schimkowsky); 2) changing media representations of the imperial family from the Meiji era to the dawn of the Reiwa era (Anzai); 3) and a critical discussion of the role of satirical depictions of Japan in Victorian British cartoons (Matthewson). In addition, we continue our Invited Commentary section with the historian Gerhard Krebs’ critical analysis of the argument regarding Imperial Japan’s expansionist ambitions by Gerhard L. Weinberg, whose works have suggested that Japanese imperial ambitions extended as far as the Caribbean. Lastly, our book review section includes a broad range of important publications in the fields of philosophy, history, anthropology, gender studies, food studies, and religious studies. Please see the full issue here

Event Series
October 14, 2021

Web Forum Series ‘DT’ on Data Infrastructures and Open Science

© Gerd Altmann

Miho Funamori (National Institute of Informatics), Jeroen Sondervan (Utrecht University), and Helmuth Trischler (Deutsches Museum and Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich) will be the speakers in the third session of our MWS Web Forum Series ‘The Digital Transformation’ on October 14. This session’s focus will be on ‘Data Infrastructures and Open Science’. Miho Funamori’s paper “Who owns research data at universities?” will provide an analysis of research data management practices and policies from the perspective of university management. In his presentation “Notions on the differences in form and speed of the transformation to Open Science in Europe”, Jeroen Sondervan will give an overview of open science policy developments in Europe and will take the developments at Utrecht University as an example. Helmuth Trischler’s paper “Why and how should we establish research data infrastructures in the historical sciences?” will present recent initiatives to create research data infrastructures according to the FAIR principles in Germany. Details and registration here

October 14, 2021

Barbara Holthus gives talk on Tokyo Olympic volunteers at Princeton University

© Princeton University

DIJ deputy director Barbara Holthus will give an online talk on her research into Tokyo Olympic volunteers at Princeton University. Her presentation “Smiling behind the mask: Tokyo Olympics and its volunteers” on Thursday, October 14, 8 a.m. JST is sponsored by Princeton’s East Asia Studies Program. In her talk, Barbara will  particularly focus on the Field Cast – the Olympic and Paralympic volunteers. Volunteering was supposed to get a huge boost in popularity in Japanese society. Yet thousands of volunteers either were let go due to the ban on spectators, or they quit their (unpaid) jobs. Fieldwork through participant observation highlights the heterogeneity of those volunteers that remained, shedding light on their motivations and dreams – and what they took away from the experience. For more information on research related to the Olympics, see the DIJ’s special project on the Tokyo Olympics and the open access book publication Japan Through the Lens of the Tokyo Olympics

Upcoming Events

October 1 – October 30, 2021

Book exhibition ‘World Heritage in Japan’

October 20, 2021
  • DIJ Lecture Series Gender and Sexuality in East Asia
    18:30 ~ 20:00

    From learning good manners to training one’s own apprentices: Female rakugo performers on Tokyo’s stages

October 21, 2021
  • MWS Web Forum Series 'The Digital Transformation'
    21:00 ~ 23:00

    The Future of Society – National Ambitions and Strategies

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. If you would like to visit our library’s book exhibition “World Heritage in Japan”, please contact our library via email (

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’

What are different national ambitions and strategies to create The Future of Society? Find out in session 4 of our online #DX Web Forum Series, Thu Oct 21, 9-11 pm JST, with Yuko Harayama @riken_en, @UlrikeSchaede @GPS_UCSD & ... @DietmarHarhoff @mpi_inno_comp

Did you know that about 5% of Tokyo’s #rakugo performers are female and most enjoy a big fan following, incl. @s_sui_s? Join us next Wed, 20 Oct, for an online presentation by @SarahStarkTYO to find out more about female rakugo performers... #DIJStudyGroup

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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.