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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

Publications
March 29, 2024

New issue of Contemporary Japan with ‘Art and Regional Revitalization’ special section

We have just published a new issue of Contemporary Japan (vol. 36, no. 1), containing a special section curated by DIJ alumna Barbara Geilhorn on “Art and Regional Revitalization – Case Studies from Japan”. It features four research articles by Eimi Tagore, Carolin Funck & Meng Qu, Anemone Platz, and Peter Eckersall & Tom Looser that assess how art festivals, exhibitions, and theatre in rural communities can “create new types of social, cultural and economic capital”. The issue also contains research articles on motherhood discourses and political activism (Rosemary Soliman Dawood), women and organized crime in popular culture (Erik Ropers), and conscription insurance in pre-war Japan (YingYing Jiang). CJ’s first “Current Topic Commentary” article by Igor Prusa analyses the media rituals surrounding the Johnny & Associates sex abuse scandal. The book review section covers Japan’s nationalist right, a cultural analysis of Japan’s national character, immigration, and prison chaplaincy. Please see the full issue here

Publications
April 9, 2024

Journal article by Nicole M. Mueller examines historical change in Japanese translation strategies

© Nicole Marion Mueller

What happens if the same literary source text is translated again and again into the same target language? In her PhD research, Nicole M. Mueller set out to answer this question by conducting a digitally augmented analysis of the 15 Japanese (re)translations of Thomas Mann’s novel Tonio Kröger – a seminal text for the elitist kyōyōshugi movement that had a lasting influence on Japanese humanities and on scholarly translation culture. By implementing digital Topic Modeling as a means of operationalizing similarity scores between literary (re)translations, Nicole retraces previously hidden patterns of influence and similarity between different takes on the same source text. This reveals connections between varying historical factors and translation priorities such as faithfulness towards the source text or a natural expression in the Japanese target language. The article (in Japanese) summarizes key findings from Nicole’s PhD project and is published open access in Keiō University’s bulletin Nihongo to Nihongo kyōiku.

Publications
March 28, 2024

DIJ Newsletter Spring 2024

In the spring issue of our DIJ Newsletter we introduce new publications, new team members, guests, and upcoming events. We also report on Alumni news as well as on a selection of our recent academic and outreach activities. We hope you will enjoy exploring this new edition of the DIJ Newsletter. If you haven’t done so yet, you can subscribe to receive our Newsletters directly to your inbox. The full issues and subscription form are available here.

Publications
February 29, 2024

New DIJ Monograph studies political participation and well-being in rural Japan

© Iudicium

What motivates people to get involved in politics in their free time? How can they derive pleasure from it? In this new book publication (in German), DIJ political scientist Sebastian Polak-Rottmann analyses how people in rural Japan try to change local society through a variety of activities, such as agricultural, political, and social work. Based on extensive fieldwork in Southern Japan’s city of Aso (Kumamoto prefecture), he concludes that mutual enjoyment is a core element of the well-being of politically active people in rural Japan. Giving pleasure to others through activities therefore leads to a positive experience for both sides involved. With this reciprocal understanding of well-being, this book builds on relational concepts of happiness and embeds them in a new model that focuses on the connections between spatial, social, every day, individual, procedural, and temporal contexts. Wie politische Partizipation Freude bereiten kann (How political participation can be enjoyable) is published by Iudicium as volume 67 in the DIJ Monograph series.

Publications
March 8, 2024

New journal article discusses Japan’s digital capitalism and its global relevance

A new journal article by DIJ researcher Harald Kümmerle and DIJ director Franz Waldenberger studies Japan’s consensus-driven approach to data regulation as an alternative to the market-driven US, the state-driven Chinese, and the rights-driven EU models. The authors argue that Japan’s approach is based on soft regulation and aims at striking a balance between privacy concerns and commercial and public interests in the usage of data. They also show that Japan’s COVID-19 countermeasures relied on data strategies fully compatible with its consensual regulatory model. By combining rights-driven and market-driven aspects, Japan can potentially mediate between the EU and the US regimes. Japan’s approach also offers an attractive alternative for countries that do not want to pick a side in the Sino-American competition. “Japan’s ‘consensual’ variety of digital capitalism and its global relevance” was published in Asia Pacific Business Review (online first).

Events
July 5, 2024

Carolin Fleischer-Heininger to present paper at Disability Research Conference

DIJ researcher Carolin Fleischer-Heininger will give a presentation on her latest research on representations of disabilities in contemporary Japanese literature at the 12th Alter Conference ‘Disability Research for the Real World’ at KU Leuven on July 5. Her presentation “Transgression as emancipation: Redefining disability in Hanchibakku (2023) by Ichikawa Saō” analyzes disabilities in the short novel Hanchibakku with particular regard to interpersonal relations, sexuality and natality. She shows how dependencies that are often a formative experience in disabled people’s lives get outlined and discusses the protagonist’s desire to become pregnant and abort the unborn child as an articulation of tensions regarding dominant perceptions about disabled people and their lives. Carolin’s presentation demonstrates that the novel encourages reflections about imbalances and indicates the possibility of revising current realities and working towards a more humane future. Details and programme here

Event Series
Events
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

Speaker:
Stephen R. Nagy, International Christian University (ICU)
 
Events
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.

Upcoming Events

Nothing from 19/07/2024 to 19/12/2024.

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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
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    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
    dijtokyo@dijtokyo.org

     


     

    DIJ-ARI Asian Infrastructures Research Partnership