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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

Events
January 29, 2020

Improving Japan’s Disability Employment
From Separate to Inclusive Workplaces

Japan’s “Act on Employment Promotion of Persons with Disabilities” has been revised in 2013 and 2019. The 2013 amendment prohibited discrimination on the grounds of disability and obliged employers to provide reasonable accommodation to employees with disabilities, and was supposed to be a paradigm shift in Japan’s disability employment policy, which until then had relied on the disability employment quota system. As the law originally intended to improve employment opportunities in the general labor market, the quota and related systems contributed to quantitative improvements. However, it also established the “special but separate” treatment for persons with disabilities (PWD). In order to answer the puzzle why different or separate treatments remained in place in the employment of PWD even after the 2013 amendment, I have analyzed statistical data, administrative guidelines, and the debate preceding the recent 2019 amendment.

Speaker:
Reiko Yoshida, The University of Tokyo

Events
February 5, 2020

Assimilation Policies and Ainu Identity
Questioning Japan’s Recognition of the Ainu People as Indigenous

In April 2020, the Japanese government will open the “Symbolic Space for Ethnic Harmony” in Shiraoi (Hokkaido). The “Symbolic Space” will consist of a National Ainu Museum, a National Ethnic Harmony Park, where Ainu culture can be practiced, and a central depot for Ainu remains. The government is expecting one million visitors per year. According to the official reading, Ainu indigenous rights will be implemented here incrementally, supported by the New Ainu Law, which was adopted in April 2019. Against this backdrop, the talk asks whether the recognition of the Ainu is in accordance with an international understanding of the term “indigenous”.
The lecture addresses the process of colonization (after 1590) and will give a summary of the treatment of the Ainu in Japanese legal history. Policies of assimilation already began a century prior to the modern Meiji state as is evidenced by the Bakufu guidelines for officials in Hokkaido (1799). The “Hokkaido Former Aborigines Protection Act” of 1899 had the objective of forcing the Ainu into a farming existence, and schooling and welfare policies were additional measures. This law was repealed only a century later, in 1997, with the recognition of the Ainu as a group with a distinct culture and history. In 2007, Japan supported the “United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples”, and the “New Ainu Law” of April 2019 now addresses the Ainu as “indigenous” for the first time in Japanese legislation. Following this outline, the contribution analyzes the question whether Japan is actually fulfilling its commitments to UNDRIP. Relevant criteria are land, fishing/hunting, and language rights as well as the repatriation of stolen human remains to Ainu communities, among others.

Speaker:
Uwe Makino, Chuo University (Tokyo)

Events
February 13, 2020

DIJ KAS Roundtable
US-Japan Relations under Donald Trump and Shinzo Abe

US-Japan relations form a core element in Asian regional security and a central pillar of the international trade regime. The quality of the relationship has always been shaped by the personalities representing the two countries. Shinzo Abe, Japan’s now longest-serving prime minister, has been keen to establish good personal ties with Donald Trump, whose “America First” policy implied a major shift in the US approach to regional and global issues. This roundtable will discuss the changes that US-Japan relations underwent since the beginning of Trump’s presidency and analyze the regional and global implications.

Keynote:
Glen S. Fukushima, Center of American Progress
Comments:
Koichi Nakano, Sophia University
Tilman Schmit-Neuerburg, German Federal Foreign Office

Events
February 17, 2020

Money, parenting and happiness: A comparative and historical perspective

Money and parenting are two key factors that can bring considerable joy or misery to our daily lives. Empirical studies have shown that while money is generally associated with greater happiness, having small kids can actually be a source of unhappiness, especially for women. In this session, two experts – a sociologist and an economist – explore the intricate relationship between money, parenting and happiness, from a comparative and historical perspective.

Speakers:
Hiroshi Ono, Hitotsubashi University Business School
Matthias Doepke, Northwestern University

Events
January 15, 2020

The new Japanese Fishery Policies between Revitalization and Capitalization

Coastal fisheries in Japan have been in decline since the early 1990s. Situated mostly in rural areas, fishing communities suffer from depopulation, aging and a lack of successors. Moreover, stagnating production levels, falling prices, decreasing demand and rising costs have led to income insecurities, further deterring young people to enter the industry. Policymakers and fishermen alike have been struggling to find solutions for this complex mix of challenges.
The dissertation projects analyzes how fishery policies have changed since the implementation of the 2001 Fisheries Basic Act. The Basic Act stipulated the revitalization of small scale coastal fisheries with a focus on communities as one of its the main goals, followed by several programs channeling subsidies into fishing to achieve this. Since 2014, however, we can observe a policy shift with several distinct features. The responsibility of developing measures for revitalization is increasingly put into the hands of the fishermen and local authorities, with a strong emphasis on economic factors. The 2018 reform of the Fishery Law further emphasizes this trend, aiming to usher in more capital-based fisheries. Moreover, management of stocks will increasingly be based on Total Allowable Catch (TAC) systems, a move away from the traditional community based management. This has left many small-scale-fishermen worried about their future in coastal fisheries.

Speaker:
Susanne Auerbach, Freie Universität Berlin

Events
December 12, 2019

User-driven Innovation in Health- & Elderly Care in Japan

Japan is enthusiastic about developing and applying innovative technology in the context of health- and elderly care. Research and development in care robotics, sensor technology (mimamori sensā), or ICT applications are widely promoted by the government. Despite these manifold efforts and activities, many devices fall short of meeting the needs expressed by users. Therefore, this DIJ Forum raises the question, what is necessary to fulfil user’s needs in healthcare? What needs to be done to improve user acceptance and usability of technology regarding innovation in health- and elderly care? Our two speakers are best suited to discuss these questions from a cross-disciplinary perspective.

Speakers:
Sarah Cosentino, Waseda University
Nobu Ishiguro, Osaka University

Events
November 28, 2019

DIJ Roundtable
The Future of Society – German and Japanese Perspectives

Institutions are the foundations of our society. They help to coordinate individual actions and they are also needed to integrate various social, economic and political subsystems. But institutions cannot not be fully understood by their functional contribution alone. There is also an important normative part. It is too often forgotten, that institutions have normative foundations. In the face of current challenges like the digital transformation, the avance of AI, climate change and new geopolitical power relations, the normative qualities of our social institutions are being challenged with far reaching consequences for social cohesion.

Professor Udo Di Fabio, former judge of the German Federal Constitutional Court, has recently published two books on the foundations of modern society, combining historical, legal and sociological perspectives. He will present his main arguments in a keynote adress. His ideas will by commented on by Japanese and German scholars before the general discussion is opened to the floor.

Events
November 21, 2019

Image(-Text) correlations in the works of Natsume Sōseki

Even though the first publications of Natsume Sōseki’s (1867–1916) works were illustrated and had visual elements, the research on Sōseki focuses mostly just on the text. Nevertheless, Sōseki’s entire oeuvre shows from the beginning to the end a deep but shifting image-text relation that has to be introduced and placed into the historical context, taking the artists (Natori Shunsen, Noda Kyūho, Asai Chū, Hashiguchi Goyō, Nakamura Fusetsu, and Tsuda Seifū), publication type (newspaper, book, pocketbook) and genre into consideration. This approach can thereby identify a network of artists and intellectuals, as well as places and visual ideas.

My presentation aims to give an overview of the material and the illustrations, while also analyzing particular image and text examples, thereby giving Sōseki also a visual standing in the discourse about Modernity and the Fin de Siècle.

Speaker:
Kevin Schumacher, University of Munich / DIJ

Upcoming Events

January 29, 2020
  • Social Science Study Group
    18:30 ~ 20:00

    Improving Japan’s Disability Employment. From Separate to Inclusive Workplaces

February 5, 2020
  • DIJ Social Science Study Group
    18:30 ~ 20:00

    Assimilation Policies and Ainu Identity Questioning Japan's Recognition of the Ainu People as Indigenous

February 13, 2020
  • DIJ KAS Roundtable
    16:00 ~ 18:00

    US-Japan Relations under Donald Trump and Shinzo Abe

February 17, 2020
  • DIJ Forum
    18:30 ~ 20:00

    Money, parenting and happiness: A comparative and historical perspective

Project: Tokyo Olympics

“Japan through the lens of the Tokyo Olympics”

More information available on our
→ project page.

Monograph Series

The DIJ’s monograph series is now
Open Access Open Access.

Downloads are available directly on our
→ monograph pages.

Please Note: Volumes become open access one year after publication.

Call for Papers

Contemporary Japan
Issue 33, No. 1
until February 1, 2020

Twitter|@dij_tokyo

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DIJ Tokyo
@dij_tokyo

Mehr #Diversität, mehr #Inklusion, mehr #Volunteering: wie versucht Japan sich durch #Tokyo2020 neu zu erfinden? Vi… t.co/naj791lNpx

DIJ Tokyo's Twitter avatar
DIJ Tokyo
@dij_tokyo

Current #Japanese #fisheriespolicy has seen some major #reform amidst critique from coastal fishermen and experts.… t.co/zgMG3dC3jC

DIJ 30th Anniversary

Anniversary Event

In October 2018 we celebrated the DIJ’s foundation 30 years ago — with lots of inspiring speeches and fruitful conversations.

→ Event page