Events and Activities
Special issue of Contemporary Japan on Tokyo Olympics 2020
We are pleased to announce the publication of a Special Issue of Contemporary Japan (vol. 35, no. 1) on “Tokyo Olympics 2020: Between Dream and Contention”, guest edited by David Chiavacci and Iris Wieczorek. The issue features an interdisciplinary collection of seven articles covering the success/failure of the Olympics for various stakeholders, urban development strategies, media narratives, online political discourses, the anti-Olympic movement, Olympic reality and fantasy in the anime Akira, and a theoretical critique of capitalist realism, as well as two commentaries critiquing the costs and corruption of the Games and Japan’s treatment of migrants in the name of Olympic preparations. Rounding out the issue, our book review section covers English and Japanese language publications from the fields of history, policy studies, and anthropology. Please see the full issue here
New book chapter by Harald Kümmerle studies information banks in Japan
The Japanese certification scheme for information banks has recently received attention as an important example in the regulation of data intermediaries. The book chapter “More Than a Certification Scheme: Information Banks in Japan Under Changing Norms of Data Usage” by Harald Kümmerle explains why information banks matter for processing customer data in Japan and as theoretically rich examples of data intermediaries. His study traces the information bank concept to its origins in the 2000s, providing context on how the certification scheme came into existence in the late 2010s. The long-term success of the concept nationally would be eased if Japan succeeds in promoting Data Free Flow with Trust for less sensitive data internationally. Harald’s chapter was published in Adopting and Adapting Innovation in Japan’s Digital Transformation (eds. Anshuman Khare/William W. Baber, Springer 2023). It is an outcome of his research project The discourse on the digital transformation in Japan: an analysis based on the concept of data.
Open access journal article by David M. Malitz investigates Japanese influence on Siam/Thailand
A new article by David M. Malitz investigates Japanese cultural and political influences in the Kingdom of Siam, renamed Thailand in 1939. Early exchanges in the late 16th and early 17th centuries saw the consumption of Japanese products in the Southeast Asian kingdom as status symbols. Japanese swords in particular were cherished and have become dynastic heirlooms since then. From the late 19th century onward, Imperial Japan was seen as a role model of successful modernization in Bangkok and Japanese advisors and instructors were hired by the court. Critics of the absolute monarchy meanwhile stressed that Imperial Japan had become a great power as a constitutional monarchy. “Royal and Imperial Connections: Japanese Influence at the Court of Bangkok and on the Siamese/Thai Monarchy” was published in Japanese Studies Around the World 2022 (eds. Ayako Kusonoki/Hiromi Matsugi, Nichibunken 2023) and is available open access. The article is an outcome of David’s research project Japanese-Thai Relations: Past, Present, and Future.
Max Weber Foundation delegation meets Tokyo Governor Koike
A delegation of the Max Weber Foundation, led by DIJ director Franz Waldenberger and the Foundation’s president Ute Frevert, was met by Tokyo Metropolitan Governor Yuriko Koike on May 10th. Governor Koike welcomed the group and shared her ideas about how to tackle the challenges faced by Tokyo, Japan, and Germany, including demographic change, migration, climate change, and gender equality. Drawing on her own experience of studying abroad, Koike also emphasized the importance of international academic exchange facilitated by organizations such as the Max Weber Foundation. The Foundation runs eleven academically autonomous institutes in Europe, the Middle East, the United States, India, and the DIJ in Tokyo. The delegation is currently staying in Tokyo for the International Conference Transnational Research in a Multipolar World and further meetings of the Foundation’s bodies.
DIJ Study Group session on ‘Diversity of Japanese Churches’
Ever since the Catholic mission to Japan in the 16th century, Christianity has upheld its presence in the Japanese society. While many churches such as the Japanese Lutheran Church are still connected to Christian (missionary) organisations overseas, there are a few Japanese (indigenous) churches founded by Christian intellectuals that aimed for an independent development of Japanese Christianity without the influence of Western actors. These independent churches are known for their history, their theological and intellectual approaches to Christian ethics and society. Based on on-going fieldwork in various Japanese congregations and inspired by the material turn, this talk by Dunja Sharbat focuses on the materiality of Japanese independent churches in present-day Japan. Considering the history and current situation of these churches, she will discuss their socio-spatial arrangements and compare it to other Japanese churches in order to analyse differences and similarities in their materiality. Details and registration here
Dunja Sharbat, Ruhr-University Bochum
Online lecture on Japan’s carbon pricing policy by DIJ director Franz Waldenberger
The introduction of greenhouse gas emission rights and their allocation through trading schemes (“carbon markets”) is considered an essential policy tool to achieve the ambitious net-zero emission goals, to which countries – including Japan – have committed under the Paris Agreement. Japan has so far not established carbon markets on a national scale. Also, its carbon tax introduced in 2012 has remained ineffectively low. The presentation “Carbon Pricing – Why is Japan lagging behind?” by DIJ director Franz Waldenberger will discuss why carbon pricing has so far not been used within Japan’s climate policy framework. It will also try to assess to what extent the absence of a national emission trading scheme has impacted Japan’s ability to achieve the 2050 net-zero goals. This online presentation is part of the lecture series at Goethe University Frankfurt’s Center for Financial Studies. Details and registration here
DIJ co-sponsors hybrid book talk on Japan’s Nuclear Disaster
In this book talk, Florentine Koppenborg (Technical University of Munich) argues that the regulatory reforms after the Fukushima disaster on March 11, 2011, directly and indirectly raised the costs of nuclear power in Japan. The new Nuclear Regulation Authority resisted capture by the nuclear industry and fundamentally altered the environment for nuclear policy implementation. Independent safety regulation changed state-business relations in the nuclear power domain from regulatory capture to top-down safety regulation, which raised technical safety costs for electric utilities. Antinuclear protests, – mainly lawsuits challenging restarts – incurred additional social acceptance costs. Increasing costs undermined pro-nuclear actors’ ability to implement nuclear power policy and caused a rift inside Japan’s “nuclear village.” Small nuclear safety administration reforms were, in fact, game changers for nuclear power politics in Japan. The book talk takes place on May 30, 6.30 pm at Temple University’s Japan Campus and online. Details and registration here
International Workshop explores holistic multispecies worldviews
With the Global Financial Crisis of 2007/08, the Covid-19 pandemic, and the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the opening decades of the 21st century has already been a period of global crises. While these crises emerged out of different spheres of human activity (economics, human-nature relationships, politics/ideologies), they have demonstrated not only the transnational economic, political, and social interconnectedness of human societies, but also the connections between the human and the non-human worlds, as well as between the realms of ideas and of physical existence. The philosophical traditions of South, East, and Southeast Asia know the metaphor of Indra’s Net to express the fundamental interconnectedness and interdependence of all existence. With this frame as an inspiration, the workshop Caught yet blind in Indra’s Net: Reflections on Interconnected Crises in the Late Capitalist Anthropocene explores holistic multispecies worldviews stemming from intellectual traditions found across South, Southeast, and East Asia. Instead of remaining within Indra’s Net of inescapable interconnection and interdependence while remaining blind to it, this workshop will critically connect recent theoretical debates to concrete case studies in order to advance programs for achieving social and environmental justice. Details and registration here