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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

September 12, 2020

FULLY BOOKED Boys for Sale – film screening and discussion at OAG House

©Ian Thomas Ash

Lecture Series ‘Gender and Sexuality in East Asia’ (4/5)
In Tokyo’s Shinjuku 2-chome district there are bars that specialize in urisen, young guys who have sex with men. Featuring candid interviews and interspersed with animation detailing the awkward, sweet, and sometimes horrific situations these young sex workers experience, the boys for sale boldly tell their stories of life in the Tokyo underground. This documentary is an illuminating look into a rarely seen world that tantalizingly shows the humanity of sex work. The film screening will be followed by a discussion with the film’s producer Ian Thomas Ash and a protagonist from the film.
Please note that this event takes place at the OAG House Tokyo. Details

September 9, 2020

Economic Policy Responses to the Covid-19 Crisis in the Euro Area and Japan

DIJ DWIH Web-Forum
Governments and central banks all over the world have taken historically bold fiscal and monetary policy measures to fight the dramatic, yet still not fathomable economic impact of the Covid-19 crisis. While the announcements have certainly calmed sentiments of market participants, many important questions remain as to how the proposed measures are to be implemented effectively given their gigantic scope and the lack of precedence. Actions need to be taken in a timely manner, as the impact of lockdowns, social distancing and travel restrictions is being felt immediately, and they need to be targeted accurately, because the economic impact varies extremely across industries and households. The speakers in our web-forum will address these concerns by taking Japan and the Euro area, especially Germany as examples. Details
Masaaki Shirakawa, former Bank of Japan Governor (2008-2013)
Volker Wieland, member of the German Council of Economic Experts
Moderated by Yuri Okina, Chairperson of The Japan Research Institute

July 15, 2020

Webinar on ‘Tokyo Olympics Postponed: How Japanese Society Responds’

Originally scheduled to begin on July 24, 2020, the Tokyo Olympics have been postponed to July 2021. This is a dilemma: The Olympics were supposed to present a brand-new Japan to the world, a leader in sustainability, diversity, inclusion, and a slew of other admirable goals. But almost overnight, Tokyo’s buzz of Olympic logos, countdown clocks and construction hustle have come to an eerie standstill: What now? Watch sociologist and DIJ deputy director Barbara Holthus, editor of Japan Through the Lens of the Tokyo Olympics and Ulrike Schaede, former member of the DIJ’s advisory board, in this UC San Diego Japan Forum Webinar to learn how the postponement has affected the various stakeholders in society: athletes with crushed aspirations, para-Olympians with broken dreams, disappointed volunteers, empty-handed ticket holders, devastated inn- and shopkeepers, jubilant anti-Olympic movement participants, among Tokyoites and in the periphery. The video of this event is available on You Tube (link).


DIJ research presentations at SASE Virtual Conference


DIJ research fellows Susanne Brucksch and Markus Heckel will participate in the 32nd Annual Meeting of the Society for the Advancement of Socio-Economics (SASE). This year’s meeting will be held online from July 18-21.
Susanne will participate as a discussant in the Roundtable “Economy, Society, Polity: Global and National Health(care) Lessons from the Covid-19 Pandemic”. She will also present her paper “Innovation Activities through Medtech Partnerships in Japan?” which highlights current efforts to increase medtech partnerships, cluster policies and matching-hubs to cross disciplinary and organizational boundaries and to encourage innovation activities in the field of medical devices in Japan.
Markus will present two papers: “Deflation – Lessons from the Japanese Experience”, co-authored with DIJ director Franz Waldenberger, applies the quantity theory of money and international arbitrage conditions. It suggests that expansionary monetary policies are very limited in fighting deflation in Japan. Markus’ paper “Central Bank Communication under Unconventional Monetary Policy: The Bank of Japan during Times of Crisis” analyzes the monetary policy and central bank communication of the Bank of Japan during 2003-2019 with a focus on the global financial crises and the Fukushima nuclear disaster. Results show that the complexity of monetary policy can be reduced to forms of “general” monetary policy with quantitative easing and short-term liquidity emergency measures used in crisis times.

July 14, 2020

Future Visions of a (Digital) Public Sphere:
Findings from Japan

© M. Hohendanner & C. Ullstein

With the pandemic since early 2020, the use of online platforms has increased in most societies. Consequently, providers of digital platforms have gained substantial influence on how people inform themselves, for example about the novel coronavirus or political topics. However, many posts and publications include falsified or unproven data (better known as “fake news”), also in Japan. In the course of our research we raise the question how the status quo and the future of the aforementioned digital platforms can be explored collectively with regards to issues like fake news, democratic values or privacy. We argue that the resulting scenarios, which arise from the subjective experiences of their speculators and, hence, reveal individual hopes and fears, allow us to explore and discuss utopian and dystopian visions of technological futures and alternative realities. Details

Michel Hohendanner, Munich University of Applied Sciences
Chiara Ullstein, Technical University of Munich

July 9, 2020

Murata Sayaka’s Convenience Store Woman: Discussing Gender Identity and Society in Contemporary Japanese Literature

Lecture Series ‘Gender and Sexuality in East Asia’ (3/5)
A convenience store is a reflection of Japan’s society. The way people behave, act, react, and interact is a display of contemporary Japan’s common sense. It reveals how social life is organized in terms of interpersonal relations, habits, norms, values, etc. What, however, happens when someone does not fit Japan’s common sense? This presentation will elaborate on how Murata addresses the fundamental question of an individual’s place within society by focusing on how the novel deals with social conventions, gender constructions, and work. The analysis of these issues shows how Murata deconstructs Japan’s common sense and reveals its naturalized, unspoken, and taken-for-granted rules that organize contemporary Japanese society. Details

Ronald Saladin, Trier University

June 25, 2020

Cute Masculinity – Investigating the Meaning of Virtual Shōjo and Girl Parody by Young Men in the 2010s

Lecture Series ‘Gender and Sexuality in East Asia’ (2/5)
Around 2010, cute male characters, drawn visually identical to bishōjo (beautiful girl) characters, moved beyond erotic computer games (erogē) and into cosplay and cute cross-dress fashion subculture, on campuses and online. By the middle of the 2010s, M2F cute and girlish boys were also a tangible theme in advertising and major media production. The well-trained bodies and willing faces of young girls lining screens and interfaces in the city, became infiltrated by male talents and pop idols in cute cross-dress. This paper explores the pick-up and adaptation of cute as a male visual aesthetic in subcultural practices and fashion and considers its complex play with transformation and masculine identity. Details

Sharon Kinsella, The University of Manchester

Upcoming Events

Nothing from September 18, 2020 to February 18, 2021.

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.


Das DIJ sucht wissenschaftliche Mitarbeiter / Mitarbeiterinnen (w/m/d), die zur aktuellen Forschung des Instituts beitragen. Bewerbungsschluss: 31. Oktober 2020.
Hinweise zu den Stellen und den Ausschreibungstext finden Sie hier.

Project: Tokyo Olympics

“Japan through the lens of the Tokyo Olympics”

For more information see our
→ project page.

Conference Announcement

Interdisciplinary Conference “Climate Change, Energy, and Sustainability in the Pacific Region. Knowledge, Policies, and Transfers (1970s – Present)”, DIJ Tokyo, 19-20 April 2021

See details on our → conference page.

Isaac Gagné’s new article Dislocation, Social Isolation, & the Politics of Recovery in Post-Disaster Japan @transcultpsych analyzes the psychosocial impacts of prolonged dislocation & how these effects are mitigated through ... grassroots community activities


«Verstrahlte» Gesellschaft: ein japanisches Trauma. Mein Radio-Feature über die vielen Verbindungslinien zwischen Hiroshima und Fukushima. Dank an Barbara Geilhorn vom @dij_tokyo für eine neue Perspektive auf Japan. #srf ...

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