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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

October 20, 2021

Germany’s new Ambassador to Japan visits DIJ

© DIJ Tokyo

On October 20, Germany’s new Ambassador to Japan, Clemens von Goetze, visited our institute. He was accompanied by Lothar Mennicken, the Embassy’s Counsellor for Science and Technology. DIJ director Franz Waldenberger, deputy director Barbara Holthus, and administrative director Joachim Röhr informed the Ambassador about the institute’s ongoing research activities. Franz Waldenberger also presented the Ambassador with a selection of latest DIJ publications. The Ambassador expressed great interest in the DIJ’s expertise in different aspects of contemporary Japan, in particular society and politics. Before assuming his current post, Clemens von Goetze was Germany’s Ambassador to Israel (2015-18) and to the People’s Republic of China (2018-21). We are very pleased and honoured that Ambassador Goetze took the time to visit our institute one day before presenting his credentials to the Emperor at the Imperial Palace. Photo (left to right): Joachim Röhr, Franz Waldenberger, Barbara Holthus, Clemens von Goetze, Lothar Mennicken.

August 9, 2021

DIJ expertise on Tokyo Olympics in international media


The Tokyo Olympics are now history — but what remains as their legacy? During the past few weeks several international media have interviewed DIJ director Franz Waldenberger and deputy director Barbara Holthus as well as principal researchers Sonja Ganseforth and Torsten Weber on different aspects of the Games. Franz Waldenberger commented on the exploding costs of Tokyo 2020 for Tagesschau online and the DLF Players podcast. Barbara Holthus appeared in live TV interviews on Al Jazeera, the BBC and was quoted in AP News, DLF radio, HR radio, Welt, and several other German and international media. An interview with Sonja Ganseforth on the anti-Olympic protests appeared in Japanese in the Mainichi daily newspaper. Comments by Torsten Weber on Tokyo’s Olympic past appeared in the Neue Zürcher Zeitung, Frankfurter Rundschau, Münchner Merkur, and Weekendavisen. For more information on research related to the Olympics, see the DIJ’s special project on the Tokyo Olympics and the open access book publication Japan Through the Lens of the Tokyo Olympics

June 3, 2021

“Sophistication with understatement” – Franz Waldenberger interviewed on Japanese radio

Screenshot J-Wave

DIJ director Franz Waldenberger shared his views on Japanese and German society in an interview series with Oguro Kazumi, the host of Lohas Talk on J-Wave radio. Franz introduced the institute, its research, and his own interests in Japanese society and economy. He revealed that he had a “positive culture shock” when he first came to Japan and that he was impressed with the unique “atmosphere”, importance of “human relations”, and “politeness”. The talk also touched upon women in politics, work-style, and work-life-balance. “In Germany, above all result matters but in Japan people are praised for their efforts”, he observed. On energy politics, Franz criticized that calculations of the costs of nuclear energy in Japan usually omit the costs for the disposal of nuclear waste. He praised the appeal of Japanese culture which, however, the Japanese themselves did not promote enough due to their attitude of “sophistication with understatement”. An audio file of the talk (in Japanese) is available here.

June 8, 2021

“No word on vaccines, no testing at all.”

Screenshot CBC

Several international media have interviewed DIJ deputy director Barbara Holthus about Olympic volunteering and the risks of holding the Tokyo Olympics amidst the ongoing pandemic. Barbara appeared on the Canadian broadcaster CBC’s News Morning Show (video), the Australian news programme Ticker News (video), and CNN’s news show The Lead (video). Barbara criticized the lack of vaccination opportunities for volunteers and said that it was too dangerous to hold the Olympics this year. Barbara was also interviewed by German news agency DPA and her statements appeared in several German news outlets, including Zeit online and FAZ online (in German). For more information on research related to the Olympics, see the DIJ’s special project on the Tokyo Olympics and the open access book publication Japan Through the Lens of the Tokyo Olympics

June 11, 2021

What remains of the Tokyo Games? DIJ researchers at INEAST East Asia Day

DIJ deputy director Barbara Holthus and principal researcher Torsten Weber will participate in this year’s online INEAST East Asia Day at Duisburg-Essen University on June 11. The event “NOlympia? The Tokyo Games and what remains of them” will discuss the fate of the world’s biggest sports festival in times of a pandemic. Other participants are Katharina Bauernschmidt (Paracanoeist, Team Germany Paralympics) and Martin Fritz (Japan-based journalist and author). The event will be moderated by DIJ alumnus Axel Klein (Professor for Social Sciences of East Asia/Japanese Politics, Duisburg-Essen University). Details and registration here

May 25, 2021

New on YouTube: Roundtable ‘Belt and Road Initiative as Method’

© Asia Research Insititute (ARI), National University of Singapore (NUS)

What are broader theoretical implications of China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI)? Members of the Max Weber Foundation Research Group on Borders, Mobility and New Infrastructures convened the Roundtable Discussion ‘BRI as Method: Forging Theoretical Agendas’ to discuss the significance of China’s controversial project for the geography of knowledge production. A video of the event is now available on the DIJ’s YouTube channel, including links to the abstracts of the papers by the panelists Tim Bunnell, Yang Yang (both ARI), Darren Byler, Tim Oakes (both University of Colorado Boulder), Chong Ja Ian, and Woon Chih Yuan (both NUS). The panel was convened by Shaun Lin, Naoko Shimazu, and James D Sidaway. The research group, located at the NUS in Singapore, was founded in 2017 and is supported by the DIJ and the Max Weber Foundation. More information here.

May 24, 2021

“There is a great danger that the Olympics will become a superspreader event”

Screenshot © ZDF

German TV ZDF visited the DIJ to interview deputy director Barbara Holthus about the increasing criticism of the Tokyo Olympics. “There is a danger of the Olympics becoming a superspreader event”, Barbara said. Her comments were broadcast in the ZDF Sport Reportage (23 May 2021) and can be viewed online. Barbara was also interviewed by German radio DLF about the potential cancellation of the Games. She said that she sees only a ten per cent chance for cancellation. “Monetary interests and the power of the IOC are too strong after all.” In addition, Barbara’s recent interview with German news agency SID on Olympic volunteers can now be viewed on the DIJ’s YouTube channel. For more information on research related to the Olympics, see the DIJ’s special project on the Tokyo Olympics and the open access book publication Japan Through the Lens of the Tokyo Olympics

May 18, 2021

DIJ expertise on Tokyo Olympics in international media

Screenshot © Arirang TV

DIJ director Franz Waldenberger and deputy director Barbara Holthus have been quoted in several German and international media about recent developments regarding the Tokyo Olympics and their potential cancellation. In an interview with German radio DLF, Franz Waldenberger commented on the merits and demerits of a cancellation of the Games for Japanese companies. “If they have made advance payments, then they are now in a bad situation”, he explained. In a live interview with Korean TV Arirang’s News Center, Barbara Holthus argued that “the Games should not be held at this time, in the midst of a pandemic, at a time when really the whole world is suffering”. In the Daily Mail, she emphasized that holding the Games now was a “recipe for disaster” and that she was “very scared for the country and for the people of Japan”. For the German news agency SID and the news site Tagesschau, she explained the risks for Olympic volunteers and the general public. “There is a danger that the Games will become a superspreader event”, she commented. For more information on research related to the Olympics, see the DIJ’s special project on the Tokyo Olympics and the open access book publication Japan Through the Lens of the Tokyo Olympics

Upcoming Events

December 9, 2021
  • Conference (online)
    16:00 ~ 22:30

    Globalizing the Social Sciences: German-East Asian Entanglements in the 19th and 20th Century

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.

Special Project:
Tokyo Olympics

“Japan through the lens of the Tokyo Olympics”

For more information see our
→ project page.

DIJ research on 3.11

You can find an overview of recent publications and activities by the institute and its researchers on the lasting impact of 3.11 on our special page 10 Years After 3.11 – A Collection of DIJ Research on the ‘Triple Disaster’

Advent, Advent, ein Buchgeschenk🎄Zum 1. Advent schenken wir 2 Personen je einen Band aus unserer Monographienreihen zum Thema Leben in Japan. Einfach bis Montag Tweet liken oder RT. Die Gewinner können sich ... einen der 4 Bände aussuchen #Adventsverlosung


Join DIJ principal researcher @kott_no & C. Reiher @GEAS_FU for a discussion of the potential of qualitative methods for Area Studies @UWJSIS, based on their co-edited handbook Studying Japan Dec 1, 12.20pm ... PST/Dec 2, 5.20am JST

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