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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
October 5, 2023

Hybrid DIJ Forum on Germany’s New Security Policy and Japan’s Take

In February 2022, Germany’s Chancellor Olaf Scholz proclaimed a Zeitenwende (“epochal shift”) denoting a shift away from close economic ties with Russia and announcing a massive investment in Germany’s defense capabilities. These measures were meant to meet the economic and political challenges faced by a country that had previously relied on pacifist politics. Drawing on a historical perspective of Germany’s “long remilitarization” from the Korean War to the Armed Forces’ missions in Afghanistan and Mali, this talk will evaluate what the Zeitenwende means for Germany’s present and future with a particular focus on security policy. Professor Tokuchi will comment on Professor Leggewie’s presentation providing a Japanese view on the changing global security landscape. After the presentations, the discussion will be opened to the floor. The event will be followed by a networking reception. Details and registration here

Claus Leggewie, Giessen University
Hideshi Tokuchi, Research Institute for Peace and Security
Event Series
October 18, 2023

Workshop and public symposium on ‘Mediated Social Touch’

What is the future role of mediated social touch for social inclusion and societal participation in the context of the increasing digitalisation and diversification of Japanese and German societies? The workshop and symposium Mediated Social Touch. Interdisciplinary Exploration of Digital Touch to Connect Humans will bring together experts and practitioners from social sciences, neuroscience, haptics and computer science/AI to gain a comprehensive and multi-perspective understanding of mediated social touch and its potential for connecting humans in a digitalized world. The public symposium on 18 October at the OAG Hall in Tokyo is preceded by a three-day internal workshop. The project is funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG) and the Japanese Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS). Details and registration here


Event Series
September 28, 2023

Hybrid DIJ Study Group session on Spatial Dynamics in Japanese Poetry

© private

The COVID-19 pandemic has had a profound impact on our understanding of space. However, the world of reading, an activity traditionally seen as a purely cognitive act that allows readers to leave their physical bodies behind, appeared to remain relatively unaffected by these spatial constraints. This interdisciplinary presentation will closely examine poetic works like Saihate Tahi’s site-specific installation Shi no kasoku / shi no teishi (2020), Fuzuki Yumi’s sound installation Koe no genba (2021), and the online exhibition Kakuri-shiki nōkōsesshoku-shitsu (2020) by Mizusawa Nao and media artist Fuse Rintarō to explore space, proximity, and the act of reading within the context of poetry installations. The presentation will suggest that their works create poetic spaces that serve as a poignant reminder of the readers‘ own physicality. As a result, readers become more aware to the spaces that surround them and the far-reaching effects of COVID-19 on these settings. Details and registration here

Sarah Pützer, University of Oxford/DIJ Tokyo
September 26, 2023

Celia Spoden to discuss avatar robots in schools in Germany

Screenshot IFI website

Avatar robots designed for children unable to attend school due to injury, illness, or disability have been increasingly adopted in Europe and Japan in recent years. The online event Staying Connected: Implementing Avatar Robots at Schools in Norway, Denmark, Germany, and Japan will show cases of avatar robots being introduced into educational environments in European countries and Japan, accompanied by discussions about their challenges and potential opportunities. It features presentations by Arisa Ema (University of Tokyo), Sofie Sejer Skoubo (Aarhus University), Marit Haldar, Maja Nordtug (both Oslo Metropolitan University), and DIJ’s Celia Spoden. The event is hosted by the University of Tokyo’s Institute for Future Initiatives (IFI) and takes place on Tuesday, 26 September 2023. Details and registration here

Event Series
September 11, 2023

Workshop on discursive and material dimensions of the digital transformation

Based on perspectives from and on Japan, this workshop brings together 20 scholars to discuss connecting approaches and analytical concepts in digital transformation. Discursive and material dimensions of the digital transformation: Perspectives from and on Japan will explore visions, practices, and narratives in politics, research and development, and science fiction related to robots, artificial intelligence, and algorithms (day 1); the use of data and the development of data infrastructures with regard to their socio-cultural, economic, and historical situation (day 2). On the final day, the results of the previous days are compiled and related from a transdisciplinary perspective to think about possibilities of employing them productively. The workshop will draw on approaches from media and cultural studies, anthropology, the history of science, and science and technology studies. It takes place 11-13 September online, at Sophia University (keynotes), and in Shimokitazawa. Details and registration here

August 17, 2023

DIJ researchers and alumni at EAJS conference

Six DIJ researchers and more than twenty DIJ alumni will present their latest research at this year’s tri-annual conference of the European Association for Japanese Studies (EAJS). Paper presenters include Franz Waldenberger and Markus Heckel (Economics, Business and Political Economies section), Nora Kottmann (Anthropology and Sociologies section), Torsten Weber (History section), Sebastian Polak-Rottmann (Urban, Regional and Environmental Studies section), and Sarah Pützer (Modern Literatures section). The conference takes place at Ghent University from August 17-20, 2023. Programme and details here.

August 10, 2023

Online lecture by David Malitz on ‘Siam in the Japanocentric World Order’


Upon invitation by the Hamburger Gesellschaft für Thaiistik (Hamburg Society for Thai Studies), DIJ senior research fellow David M. Malitz will give an online presentation on 10 August to discuss Siam in the Japanocentric World Order. His presentation will focus on the former Japanese village of Ayutthaya, now a well-known and popular tourist attraction, and the relations between the Courts of Ayutthaya and Edo in the early 17th century. The muban yipun, as it is known in Thai, was one of the most important Japanese settlements in early modern Southeast Asia. As such, it has received considerable scholarly attention in the early 20th century. David’s talk will first provide a summary of the settlement’s overall history. It will then offer a reinterpretation of the official relations between the kings of Ayutthaya and the early Tokugawa shoguns based on the literature on Tokugawa foreign relations. Details and Zoom link here

Event Series
July 25, 2023

DIJ Forum on Japan’s Strategic Partnerships in South East Asia

As Great Power competition in the Indo-Pacific accelerates, South East Asia has emerged as an arena in which strategic rivalries are played out. As part of its more proactive international diplomacy in recent years, Tokyo has sought to strengthen relations with both ASEAN and a number of individual member states through the “Strategic Partnership” mechanism. It has also worked to build support for its vision of a “Free and Open Indo-Pacific” in tandem with the ASEAN Outlook on the Indo-Pacific and anticipates the official announcement of a “Comprehensive Strategic Partnership” to commemorate 50 years of diplomatic engagement. This hybrid DIJ Forum on 25 July examines the objectives and activities of these Strategic Partnerships, and assesses their future prospects, to offer insights into how Japan seeks to navigate Great Power competition in South East Asia. Details and registration here

Thomas Wilkins, University of Sydney/DIJ Tokyo
Takashi Terada, Doshisha University

Upcoming Events

  • DIJ Forum
    18:30 ~ 20:00

    Building peace with weapons. Germany’s New Security Policy and Japan’s Take

  • International Symposium
    14:30 ~ 19:00

    Mediated Social Touch. Interdisciplinary Explorations of Digital Touch to Connect Humans

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    Call for Submissions

    Contemporary Japan
    current issue Vol. 35, No. 2
    Contemporary Japan is open year-round for rolling submissions, with accepted publications published immediately online. Please see the instructions for submission here.

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