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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

Event Series
June 30, 2022

DIJ talk on data protection regulation in Japan and abroad

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In a digitalized world, the trans-border flow of data has become essential for trade and the exchange of services. But some protectionist trends are gaining ground at the international level, such as data localization. Japan is one of the convenors of the WTO e-commerce negotiations, and as a firm believer in the free market and multilateral trade, Japan has tried to export its own ideas internationally. This is why former prime minister Shinzo Abe coined the expression ‘Data Free Flow With Trust’: its objective is to ease the flow of data but with the necessary safeguards for cybersecurity, personal data, or intellectual property. This talk will assess Japan’s push for this concept at the international level, including its successes but also challenges. It will put it in relation with other relevant actors, such as the United States, the EU, and China. Details and registration here

Ana Gascón Marcén, University of Zaragoza
June 23, 2022

Method Talk (hybrid event): Actors, networks, and where to find them in rural Japan

Aging inhabitants, economic decline of the primary sector, outmigration of the young generations – the postgrowth state of Japan’s peripheries challenges local communities to sustain rural living in the globalized age. To stop or even reverse this structural decline, various actors such as regional governments and research institutions forge strategies of revitalization, following national aims as well as global frameworks. For the investigation of these new and complex formations of power and knowledge in rural Japan, actor-and-network theory (ANT) can provide a window to shed light on how different allies find their goals unified in a common project and how links between centers and peripheries are established. It can, moreover, help to understand the impacts that such projects may – or may not – have on the local communities, which are supposed to benefit from them.

Thimo Thelen, Kanazawa University
June 15, 2022

Franz Waldenberger gives talk at Japan-Germany Forum

Screenshot DJW website

Upon invitation by the Asia-Eurasia Research Institute DIJ director Franz Waldenberger will give a talk in Japanese on “Japan’s past and present through the eyes of a German” at the Japan-Germany Forum on June 15. The talk will take place online (Zoom) from 14.00-15.00h JST. It will be moderated by Hayase Isamu, chairman of the Japan-Germany Forum. Registration and details here


June 7, 2022

The Future of Liberalism: international symposium with keynote by Thomas Piketty

Thomas Piketty, French economist and author of Capital in the Twenty-first Century, will be the keynote speaker at the symposium ‘The Future of Liberalism: Japan, France and Germany in global context’. It will take place online from June 7 to 9 and features 18 international experts on liberalism and capitalism. On Day 1, Piketty’s keynote will be followed by a roundtable discussion with Lisa Herzog (University of Groningen) and Shigeki Uno (University of Tokyo). Day 2 features nine presentations, including by DIJ alumna Yufei Zhou on the “Transition of the Dominant Economic Ideology in China in the 21st Century”. On the closing day, DIJ director Franz Waldenberger will present his paper “Governance in a Knowledge Driven Society”. The symposium is jointly organised by the DIJ, the French Institute of Research on Japan at the Maison franco-japonaise (MFJ), and the Nippon Institute of Research Advancement (NIRA). Registration and details here

Event Series
May 25, 2022

Environmental Humanities talk on ‘Cultural Specificity and Planetary Thinking’

Ishimure Michiko is best known for her writing on mercury poisoning of the Shiranui Sea in and around Minamata in Southern Japan. Yet, in her later years she became increasingly invested in the concept of the planetary. In this talk, we will examine this shift in her writing and the complicated role that cultural forms play in writing that is especially invested in planetary health. Marran will introduce the concept of the “biotrope” as a tool for analyzing Ishimure’s attention to cultural and material elements in the discussion of Ishimure’s final work “Hana no okudo e” (2014). We will conclude our discussion by addressing the ways that area studies may or may not be compatible with particular forms of ecocriticism. This talk is part of the DIJ Environmental Humanities in East Asia lecture series and takes place online on May 25. Details and registration here

Christine L. Marran, University of Minnesota

Event Series
May 18, 2022

DIJ Method Talk on Critical Discourse Analysis and the politics of reproduction

© Brill

With ongoing attempts since the early 1990s to elevate the low birth rate in Japan, the politics of reproduction are a highly contested realm in Japanese society. While policy makers’ attempts to influence reproductive behavior on an individual level have been scrutinized in diverse analyses, the role of the biomedical business and mass media has been mostly overlooked. Isabel Fassbender addresses this lacuna in her recent publication Active Pursuit of Pregnancy: Neoliberalism, Postfeminism and the Politics of Reproduction in Contemporary Japan (Brill, 2021) by using Critical Discourse Analysis on the “active pursuit of pregnancy” (ninkatsu). In her talk, Isabel will not only focus on Critical Discourse Analysis as a research method in theory but also try to show a possible practical implementation by presenting concrete examples from her work. Details and registration here

Isabel Fassbender, Doshisha Women’s College, Kyoto

April 26, 2022

Online panel discussion of East and Southeast Asian responses to the Russian War on Ukraine


The Russian invasion of Ukraine and the US- and EU-led response to it are watershed events in global affairs with far-reaching political and economic implications for East and Southeast Asian stability. Governments in these regions have largely sided with the USA and the EU in the General Assembly of the United Nations; however, due to historically rooted and strategic reasons, most Southeast Asian governments did not join their efforts in sanctioning Russia. This online panel discussion will provide a critical assessment of the responses of countries across East and Southeast Asia. It features panelists Hee Kyoung Chang (Korea), Kasira Cheeppensook (ASEAN), Manuel R. Enverga III (Philippines), DIJ researcher David M. Malitz (Japan), Surachanee Sriyai (Thailand), Patrick Ziegenhain (Indonesia) as well as Claudia Derichs (moderation) and welcome remarks by DIJ director Franz Waldenberger and Nele Noesselt (director, IN-EAST). The panel is jointly organised by the Institute of East Asian Studies at the University of Duisburg-Essen (IN-EAST), the DIJ, the Chair of Transregional Southeast Asian Studies at Humboldt University Berlin, and the Faculty of Political Science, Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok. It takes place on Tuesday, April 26, 19-21h JST. Details and registration here

April 13, 2022

Joint DIJ-NUS Workshop explores Health Infrastructure in Asia


Jointly organised by the Asia Research Institute (National University of Singapore) and the DIJ, the workshop “Health Infrastructure and Asia’s Epidemiological Transitions: Historical Perspectives” will investigate Asian experiences in crafting health infrastructure over the long twentieth century. Asia has long been stigmatized as a source of global contagion, yet there has been relatively little historical examination of the everyday health challenges there, such as epidemiological transitions, climate change, and extensive internal and international migration. The workshop brings together scholars with different geographic foci within Asia to engage in a comparative and connective dialogue. It seeks to produce new ways of understanding the dynamics of health and disease under the processes of decolonization and development, but also with an eye to drawing lessons from the past that could lead to formulating better health policies in the present. The workshop takes place online on April 13-14 and is co-convened by DIJ’s David M. Malitz. Details and registration information here

Upcoming Events

  • DIJ History & Humanities Study Group
    18:30 ~ 20:00

    Data protection regulation in Japan against the background of international trends

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    Special Project:
    Tokyo Olympics

    “Japan through the lens of the Tokyo Olympics”

    For more information see our
    → project page.

    Tomorrow @dij_tokyo! Still time to register for online or offline participation ....

    Galoppierende Inflation oder Staatsbankrott - wohin steuert Japans lockere Geldpolitik? DIJ Direktor @franzDIJTokyo erklärt die Nullzinspolitik der japanischen Zentralbank im Interview mit @erdmann_kathrin @tagesschau ...

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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
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    Call for Submissions

    Contemporary Japan
    current issue Vol. 34, No. 1
    Contemporary Japan is open year-round for rolling submissions, with accepted publications published immediately online. Please see the instructions for submission here.