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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

July 24, 2020

Japan and the Tokyo Olympics: Author Interviews on DIJ YouTube channel

On July 24, 2020, more than one billion people worldwide were expected to watch the opening ceremony of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. What was supposed to be a glorious year for Japan, 2020 instead catapulted the world into a pandemic, sees the Olympic Games postponed and their future for Tokyo uncertain. Despite its postponement and potential cancellation, the build-up to the 2020 Olympic Games has already had a major impact on Tokyo, Japan, and the many stakeholders in government, business, and society involved. The publication Japan Through the Lens of the Tokyo Olympics (Routledge 2020) explains this multifaceted impact and is available open access (free download). To learn more about the book’s chapters you can watch interviews with our authors on the new DIJ YouTube channel. The playlist will be updated periodically. In the first episode, main editor and DIJ deputy director Barbara Holthus introduces the book and her own chapter on volunteering.

June 30, 2020

New issue of DIJ Newsletter published

The latest issue of our DIJ Newsletter features reflections on the impact of COVID-19 on Japan and Japanese Studies, summarizes our first web forum on the pandemic in Germany and Japan, and introduces a new DIJ research project on Digital Transformation as well as a book publication on the Olympic Games. We also congratulate one of our colleagues on the receipt of a prestigious award, give an update on recent publications, and announce recent personnel changes  in our “Staff News” section.
Visit our DIJ Newsletter webpage to download the most recent issue or to order your free print copy.

June 1, 2020

Book chapter on Japan’s energy transformation and its potential for rural communities

© Daniel Kremers

Renewable energies have the potential to increase energy security, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and provide an economic basis for the sustainable development of rural areas. Facing typical peripherality issues such as socio-economic decline, poor accessibility, limited political autonomy and tightened budgets, rural communities in Japan are pressed to venture into new institutional arrangements in order to fulfill their statutory duties. Increasing self-sufficiency has therefore emerged as a key strategy for local governments, including energy self-sufficiency. The book chapter “Local renewables: Japan’s energy transformation and its potential for the remaking of rural communities”, co-authored by Daniel Kremers and Thomas Feldhoff (Bochum), analyzes some key trends in Japan’s recent energy transformation and energy policy, in particular government policies linking renewable energy to local development, and local-level conflicts related to increases in renewable energy generation. Case studies highlight the diversity of challenges and the need for locally-specific solutions that lead to healthier communities.
This chapter is part of the volume Japan’s New Ruralities. Coping With Decline in the Periphery (Routledge), co-edited by W. Manzenreiter, R. Lützeler, and S. Polak-Rottmann, and draws on Daniel’s research project on Energy Transition and Energy Democracy in Japan.

May 19, 2020

‘Comparing Comparisons’ – new blog series online

Comparison is back in fashion. In some fields it has spawned a vast literature and become the etiquette for discussions of appropriate focus and methods. The advent of big data and AI debates revolving around this have also rejuvenated comparative quantitative research. In other fields, however, comparison peaked long ago. There is a complex and uneven historical variance across disciplines. The new blog series ‘Comparing comparisons’ investigates which role comparisons play in different research fields, ultimately tackling the question of how and why we compare in the social sciences and humanities. The blog entries originate from the presentations of the international and interdisciplinary meeting by scholars affiliated with the Max Weber Research Group at the National University of Singapore and researchers from the German Institute for Japanese Studies that took place in Tokyo on 2nd and 3rd December 2019. Read the first article “Comparing Comparisons – Introduction and Overview” by James D. Sidaway and Franz Waldenberger on trafo blog for transregional research.

May 12, 2020

Joint NIRA/DIJ Opinion Paper “Coping with the Economic Consequences of the COVID-19 Pandemic”

The present crisis is surrounded by a high degree of uncertainty. We cannot eliminate the uncertainty, but we can fathom possible scenarios. Therefore, NIRA (Nippon Institute for Research Advancement) and the DIJ decided to jointly hold a policy discussion on COVID-19 with experts from several major regions across the world. The international conference was held online on April 23 and was attended by experts from China, the US, Germany, Sweden, and Belgium, as well as participants from Japan. The main purpose of the web-meeting was not to recount the publicly available information we already shared, but to exchange opinions about the economic impacts of the pandemic and the various national countermeasures based on the participants’ assessments.  Various issues were discussed: the need for international coordination and cooperation; the economic impact of the COVID-19 crisis and national economic countermeasures; the impact of the crisis on global energy markets; social and regional disparities; and the role of scientific expertise. The present pandemic presents a challenge to humankind. To cope with its global dimensions and implications requires intense and continuous international dialogue, not only for coordination and cooperation, but also for mutual understanding and learning. You can read the full joint NIRA/DIJ Opinion Paper here

May 11, 2020

Book publication on Japan and the Tokyo Olympics

Japan Through the Lens of the Tokyo Olympics (Routledge 2020) situates the 2020 Tokyo Olympics within the social, economic and political challenges for Japan. Tokyo 2020 is constructed to embrace diversity and inclusiveness in society, foster sustainability, boost Japan’s economy, and create a feeling of unity and pride for the country. Irrespective of the Olympic’s postponement or potential cancellation, this book explains the multifaceted impact of the Tokyo Olympics on Tokyo, on Japan and on its society, businesses, and its self-identity. Written by leading experts on Japan, this volume assembles 34 easily accessible chapters covering all relevant aspects of society, economics, culture, and politics incl. technology, food, security, work, media, sexuality, history, film, linguistics, volunteering, architecture, advertising, and – of course – sports! Project page
Edited by Barbara Holthus, Isaac Gagné, Wolfram Manzenreiter, and Franz Waldenberger, this book contains many contributions by current and former DIJ researchers. It is now available in paperback, hardcover and as open access book.

April 27, 2020

Book chapter on Decline and Diversification in Coastal Fisheries

© Jakob Günzler

Based on fieldwork in the prefecture of Saga in Northern Kyushu, this chapter by Sonja Ganseforth explores the struggles of small family fishing businesses and cooperatives dealing with global and national transformations since the 1980s. The emergence of buyer-driven global commodity chains in seafood, the proliferation of large supermarket chains and a re-orientation of consumer preferences constitute a profound shift in the seafood business in Japan. Growing resource problems, high input costs and stagnating fish prices contribute to the declining profitability of local coastal fisheries. Drawing on research on rural experiences of globalization as well as critical analyses of development, growth and sustainability discourses, the chapter “Reclaiming the Global Countryside? Decline and Diversification in Saga Genkai Coastal Fisheries” argues that qualitative reform of fishery cooperatives, marketing and resource management is needed to halt socio-economic decline in Japanese coastal fisheries.
This chapter is part of the volume Japan’s New Ruralities. Coping With Decline in the Periphery (Routledge), co-edited by W. Manzenreiter, R. Lützeler, and S. Polak-Rottmann, and draws on Sonja’s research projects on Japan’s Blue Economies and What Is the Local?

Upcoming Events

Nothing from August 9, 2020 to January 9, 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.

Call for Papers

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

Extended deadline for proposals: 21 August 2020.
Read full CfP → conference page.

Project: Tokyo Olympics

“Japan through the lens of the Tokyo Olympics”

For more information see our
→ project page.

“Whose city is Tokyo?” Watch @purkflo in ep. 8 of our Author Interviews’ series ‘Japan through the lens of the #TokyoOlympics’ on Tokyo’s architecture, urban structure, corporate monoculture & change ... in an ever-changing city

How to use the #OlympicVillage: hospitals? Homeless shelters? Watch ep. 7 of our Author Interviews’ series ‘Japan through the lens...’ with Ralph Lützeler on #Tokyo2020, neighborhood transformation & ... entrepreneurial city politics

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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.