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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 28, 2020

SJCC webinar on Japan’s system of corporate governance


On September 25, DIJ director Franz Waldenberger was guest speaker in the SJCC webinar series, organized by the Swiss-Japanese Chamber of Commerce in cooperation with JETRO Switzerland and the Japan Club of Geneva. Even 30 years of ongoing reforms and structural changes have not improved the image of Japanese corporate governance among foreign investors. In his talk “Japan’s system of corporate governance – bright and dark sides”, Franz Waldenberger explained why Japanese boards remain to be insider controlled and what implications this has for performance. However, he also stressed the positive sides of a system where shareholders can be assured that managers are loyal to their company. A video of the webinar is available on the SJCC’s website.

September 17, 2020

Barbara Geilhorn on post-3.11 theatre in Swiss radio feature


DIJ researcher Barbara Geilhorn has appeared in the SRF Swiss radio feature “Verstrahlte” Gesellschaft: ein japanisches Trauma (“Radiated” society: a Japanese trauma) by Martin Fritz. Drawing on her ongoing research project Local Issues Take Stage – Culture and Community Revitalization, Barbara provided expert commentary on how theatre in Japan has dealt with the nuclear meltdown in Fukushima in 2011. Theatre plays addressed the situation after the accident and the different reactions of people to it: either ignoring the nuclear dangers or facing them and acting accordingly. They also problematized issues of social conformity and the reluctance of Japanese people to voice criticism openly, Barbara explains. The radio programme is available as podcast on the SRF website here (in German)

September 4, 2020

DIJ research at the AAS-in-Asia 2020 conference

Our research fellows Isaac Gagné and Sonja Ganseforth have presented their latest research on social and economic developments in Japanese rural and fishing communities at the AAS-in-Asia 2020 conference, held online from August 31 to September 4. Isaac analyzed how residents and volunteers conceptualize and actualize local moral worlds of care through community-based services in his paper ‘Moral Worlds of Welfare: Social Isolation and Community-based Care in Aging Japan’. Sonja’s paper ‘New Marinalities of Japanese Fishing Villages’ discussed how structural change in rural Japanese fishing villages can be understood through the analysis of interconnected local, national, and global dynamics. Their panel “Rurality Check: Tracing the Nascent Global Countryside in Asia” was chaired and organized by Wolfram Manzenreiter (University of Vienna) and also had presentations by Heesun Hwang (Seoul National University) and Michael Leung (City University of Hong Kong).

September 3, 2020

75th anniversary of the end of World War Two in East Asia

On the occasion of the 75th anniversary of the end of the Second World War in Japan, Torsten Weber has made several comments in German media on the legacy of the war in East Asia (in German) and participated in an online outreach event on the global commemoration of the war (in English). For Deutsche Welle, Torsten explained how territorial and ideological disputes in the region have remained a burden of the war in East Asia. In Badische Zeitung and Berliner Zeitung, Torsten commented on the role of the Japanese Emperor during and after the war. Together with Yukiko Koshiro (Nihon University), Torsten also appeared in the Histocon talk event “Global Perceptions of WW2: Japan” which is part of an online series to discuss how the Second World War is commemorated globally. It is sponsored by the German Federal Agency for Civic Education (Bundeszentrale für politische Bildung).

August 30, 2020

Barbara Holthus comments on post-Abe Japan in New York Times

“Technology that enables more people to work from home could also help women, said Barbara G. Holthus, deputy director of the German Institute for Japanese Studies in Tokyo.” Read more of Barbara Holthus‘ comments on post-Abe Japan, teleworking, the role of women and her advice for Japan’s next prime minister in Motoko Rich’s article Many Want to Be Japan’s New Leader. Do They Know What Awaits Them? in the New York Times.

August 14, 2020

DIJ research at ‘Asia’s New Ruralities’ online conference

Our research fellows Sonja Ganseforth and Isaac Gagné presented their latest research on different aspects of rural Japan at the ‘Asia’s New Ruralities’ online conference (August 12-13) at the University of Vienna. Sonja’s paper (“Remaking rurality in Japanese fishing villages”) on global dynamics and structural change in rural Japanese fishing villages emphasized the need to pay close attention to the maritime side of fishing communities. Isaac’s paper “Local Economies of Care: The Impact of Demographic Changes on Social Welfare in Rural Japan” argued that it is in the rural areas, which are often seen as the most backward, most vulnerable, and least adaptive, where some of the most innovative transformations in welfare have been taking place. Among others they were joined by former DIJ research fellow Hanno Jentzsch who gave a presentation on “Wine Tourism and Rural Revitalization in Yamanashi”, based on fieldwork he conducted during his time at the DIJ. The full conference programme and abstracts are available here.

July 14, 2020

Franz Waldenberger in NHK World interview on recent stock market developments

Screenshot © NHK World

The value of tender offers, i.e. public takeover bids to purchase a major portion or all of a companies outstanding stock, have risen to a record in Japan this year. According to some experts the surge has been caused by the COVID-19 crisis because companies are now rushing to consolidate amid the business slowdown. On NHK World TV, DIJ director Franz Waldenberger explains what the increase in tender offers means for the Japanese economy and how the surge is related to the digital transformation. The interview was broadcast on NHK World’s Newsroom Tokyo programme on July 14, 2020 and can be viewed for one month on NHK World’s website.

Upcoming Events

November 9, 2020
  • DIJ DWIH Web-Forum
    18:00 ~ 19:30

    Quo Vadis, Central Banks? Monetary Policy in the COVID-19 Crisis and Beyond

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.

【書籍共同展示】2020年は三島由紀夫の没後50年に当たります。これを記念して、国際文化会館@I_House_Japan、日仏会館@mfjbf_ja、ドイツ日本研究所の各図書室では、三島作品の英語・フランス語・ドイツ語版や研究書を展示いたします。2020年10月31日まで... #mishima2020

REMINDER Join tomorrow's online #DIJStudyGroup 'Agenda-Cutting in Media News Coverage of Covid-19:
A Case Study from Japan' with @YosukeBuchmeier. Registration deadline today ...

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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.