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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 15, 2024

Call for Papers: Workshop ‘Imagined Futures in Japan and Beyond’

The DIJ, in collaboration with the German Centre for Research and Innovation (DWIH) Tokyo, is hosting an interdisciplinary workshop delving into both fictional and nonfictional portrayals of Japan’s technological future. We will juxtapose these visions with those from other cultures and analyze them through the lens of “narrative” and “sociotechnical imaginary” theoretical frameworks. Scholars whose research aligns with the thematic scope of our workshop are invited to send their abstracts for their planned presentations via E-Mail to by June 15, 2024. We welcome paper proposals by scholars from different career stages (including PhD students) and from a variety of cultural and disciplinary backgrounds. Participants who are accepted for the workshop will be notified by July 5, 2024. Before submitting your abstract, please see the full Call for Papers here

Event Series
June 20, 2024

Hybrid Study Group on fairness in law in Japan and Germany

When the legal system is abused to merely cause harm to another person or the exercise of the law is grossly contrary to social norms, judges can prohibit the exercise of a legal right. This principle, known as “abuse of rights”, was adopted by Japan from Europe after the Meiji Restoration to resolve conflicts between written law and social norms. This presentation deals with the historical development and contemporary practice of the prohibition of abuse of rights in Japan and Germany. Decisions and the theoretical discussion from the first application in Japan to today will be presented, analyzed, and contrasted with German theory and practice. The aim is to answer the question of how and why the Japanese understanding of the prohibition of abuse of rights differs from that in Germany. This also leads to very fundamental questions about the relationship between legislators and courts, and society’s understanding of law as a whole. Details and registration here

Felix Dröll, Goethe-Universität Frankfurt/DIJ Tokyo
Event Series
June 13, 2024

Hybrid Study Group on Southeast Asia and hedging strategies

Southeast Asia faces the conundrum that its largest economic benefactor China is also a geopolitical challenger to the region’s cohesion and rules-based order. How do Southeast Asian states balance their economic interests and security interests? What is the role of the Free and Open Indo-Pacific Vision (FOIP) and Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) in that balancing process? How can we conceptualize these balancing actions using hedging? Using Cheng-Chwee Kuik’s hedging framework, this presentation comparatively investigates how Southeast Asian states hedge against China by leveraging the FOIP vision and BRI to secure strategic autonomy. This research finds that the competitive nature of Sino-Japanese relations, as manifested in the interaction between the BRI and FOIP, provides Southeast Asian states extra regional assets to lessen the contradictions that exist between the beneficial economic interactions with China and its geopolitical challenges. Details and registration here

Stephen R. Nagy, International Christian University (ICU)
June 9, 2024

Nicole M. Mueller to give presentation on Thomas Mann reception in Japan

No less than 15 retranslations of Thomas Mann’s Tonio Kröger were published in Japan between 1927 and 2018. How do they differ and what do the differences tell us about changes in Japanese society and culture? In her presentation “Japanese Thomas Mann Reception between Cultural Heteronomy and Emancipation – 100 Years of Japanese Tonio Kröger Retranslation in the Mirror of Digital Topic Modelling” (in German) at the spring meeting of the Japanese Society for German Studies on June 9, Nicole M. Mueller will focus on the relationships of similarity and influence between the different texts. Using a specially developed digital analysis tool based on topic modelling, she shows that the different translation variants are located in specific historical contexts, which also reflect inter- and intra-cultural relationships of influence and power. The lecture will present first insights into Nicole’s forthcoming book on the same topic.

Event Series
June 6, 2024

‘The Ends of War’: onsite DIJ Forum on Modernity and World War II

Please note: this event is fully booked. Registration is no longer possible. Looking back upon the extra-long twentieth-century that begins in the latter half of the nineteenth century and that continues today, it has become increasingly clear that “freedom” is not necessarily the antithesis of oppression and domination. Instead, “freedom” has too often been the condition for the workings of power. One of the most obvious examples in modern Japan is the Japanese empire’s promise to free those in the Asia-Pacific from the bonds of Euro-American colonialism and racism. This relation between the promise of freedom and new oppressions has been a recurring theme in modern history throughout the world. This talk grapples with this question through the example of Japanese history, including during the Second World War, while discussing the complicity of freedom with the oppressions that have accompanied nationalism, imperialism, colonialism, the “emperor system,” and various forms of social discrimination. This DIJ Forum (onsite only) is the first event in the Max Weber Foundation event series ‘The Ends of War’, commemorating the 80th anniversary of the end of World War Two. Details here

Takashi Fujitani, University of Toronto
Jordan Sand, Georgetown University/Kokugakuin University
Event Series
June 10, 2024

Joint DIJ and DWIH workshop on interconnections of sustainability

The workshop “Building a Sustainable Future: Integrating Consumption, Finance, and Education” delves into the interconnected issues of sustainability, sustainable consumption, sustainable finance and education. Collectively, they form a holistic approach to creating a more balanced and resilient world. Sustainable consumption encourages mindful choices to minimize waste and environmental impact, while sustainable finance directs capital toward environmentally friendly and socially responsible investments. Together, they create a powerful framework that fosters innovation, promotes responsible resource management, and drives positive social and environmental outcomes, paving the way for a sustainable and prosperous future. This one-day in-person workshop, jointly organized by the DIJ and the German Center for Research and Innovation (DWIH) Tokyo, brings together eights experts who will share they views and latest research on different aspects of sustainability. Details and registration here

May 19, 2024

Celia Spoden presents research on avatar robots at international symposium in Kyoto

DIJ researcher Celia Spoden will present latest results from her research project Cyber-physical spaces and avatar technologies: new opportunities for an inclusive society? at the International Symposium ‘Participation (Un)plugged: Exploring Dignity and Disability through Human-Robot Interaction’ at Ritsumeikan University in Kyoto on May 19. Her paper “An alter ego in the classroom: Potential and limitations of avatar robots for hospitalized children or children with disabilities” is one of four presentations at the symposium that will explore how the digital space — where people, objects, and information intersect — can reshape notions of ‘personhood’ and ‘dignity’. Participation is possible online and onsite. Details and registration here

Event Series
May 15, 2024

Hybrid Study Group on Post-Bubble Housing Insecurity in Tokyo

© Marcus Reichmann

Before the speculative bubble in Japan’s real estate market burst in the early 1990s, real estate prices in Tokyo skyrocketed without wage growth at all levels of society keeping pace. When the crisis hit, the city experienced unprecedented levels of homelessness. In response, labor and housing markets were subjected to neoliberal restructuring. But what created greater housing insecurity in other parts of the world seemed to have the opposite effect in Tokyo – the number of officially recorded rough sleepers dropped significantly. How could this be? Based on a reevaluation of Japanese literature, an analysis of government, industry, and business reports, and backed up by in-depth interviews conducted with both entrepreneurs and residents, this presentation will outline four case studies of fragile housing to examine the regulation of homelessness as an expression of Japanese capitalism in crisis. Details and registration here

Lenard Görögh, Freie Universität Berlin

Upcoming Events

  • DIJ Study Group
    18:30 ~ 20:00

    Fairness in Law: A Comparative Analysis of the Abuse of Rights Principle in Japan and Germany

  • DIJ Study Group
    18:30 ~ 20:00

    The Role of Imagined Futures in Gendered Educational Trajectories: Adolescents’ Expectations and Uncertainty in Japanese Selective High Schools

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    DIJ Brochure

    Please see the DIJ Brochure for more information about our institute (v. 2/2024)

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    Call for Submissions

    Contemporary Japan
    current issue Vol. 36, No.1
    Contemporary Japan is open year-round for rolling submissions, with accepted publications published immediately online. Please see the instructions for submission here.

    DIJ Monograph Series

    Our monograph series is Open Access Open Access after a one-year embargo period. Downloads are available on our
    → monographs pages


    DIJ Tokyo
    Jochi Kioizaka Bldg. 2F
    7-1 Kioicho Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo
    102-0094 Japan
    Where to find us

    +81 (0)3 3222-5077
    +81 (0)3 3222-5420



    DIJ-ARI Asian Infrastructures Research Partnership