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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

June 6, 2018

Destiny: The Secret Operations of the Yodogō Exiles

In 1970, nine members of a Japanese New Left group called the Red Army Faction hijacked a domestic airliner to North Korea with dreams of acquiring military training in order to bring about a revolution in Japan. The North Korean government accepted the hijackers ̶ who became known in the media as the Yodogō group ̶ and two years later they announced their conversion to juche, North Korea’s political ideology.

This talk will trace the story of the Yodogō exiles to North Korea, Kōji Takazawa’s involvement in their story and his work of investigative journalism.

Patricia G. Steinhoff, University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa
Scott North, Osaka University

April 25, 2018

Japanese Development Cooperation as a Political Tool

The world of development cooperation is changing quickly. There are several reasons for this. First of all, the objectives of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) adopted by the United Nations go well beyond poverty reduction. Another reason is the fact that once dominant western thinking in the field of Official Development Assistance (ODA) is fading away as new donors, such as China, are advancing their positions.

In this lecture Marie Söderberg will give a picture of how Japanese foreign aid now plays a central role as a foreign policy instrument. Taking the Philippines as an example, she analyses the implementation of Japan’s 2015 Development Cooperation on the ground.
Naohiro Kitano will contribute his expertise on China’s foreign aid. China’s ODA is undergoing a transformation as China is rapidly stepping up its activities and expanding its influence especially in Southeast Asia.

Marie Söderberg, Stockholm School of Economics
Naohiro Kitano, Waseda University

1. März - 10. April 2018

Gemeinsame Bücherausstellung:

Wie wird die klassische japanische Bühnenkunst im Ausland gesehen und welche Forschung gibt es dazu?

Die International House of Japan Library, die Bibliothèque de la Maison franco-japonaise sowie die Bibliothek des Deutschen Instituts für Japanstudien geben im Rahmen einer gemeinsamen Bücherausstellung Einblicke in englisch-, französisch- und deutschsprachige Übersetzungen sowie Forschungsliteratur zum Thema Kabuki und Bunraku.

Picture Copyright: 国立博物館所蔵品統合検索システム

April 5, 2018

space AGE space – Elderly Care in a Digitally Connected World

How can sensor technology and connectivity support care-taking? How far are we away from implementation? Which countries are taking the lead? What major obstacles need to be overcome?

A central part of Society 5.0 – Japan’s vision of fully digitally connected future – focuses on how connectivity, big data and AI can contribute to solve Japan’s pressing problems in the field of elderly care. Prof. Thomas Bock, a leading German engineer in the field of building robotics, and Prof. Shuichi Matsumura, a leading Japanese engineer specializing in system design for housing and urban spaces, will talk about the potential of the digital revolution for elderly care in living environments.

Thomas Bock, Technical University of Munich
Shuichi Matsumura, The University of Tokyo

March 15, 2018

Tokyo as Fashion Space: Usage Practices, Social Space and Media Discourse

For the world of street fashion, the seemingly small neighborhood of Harajuku has become a nationally as well as internationally renowned hotspot where all kinds of trends are shaped and reinterpreted every day. Harajuku also is a prime example of how social attribution processes work within a city: If popular discourse had not defined and named the area, it would only exist as Shibuya-ku Jingūmae and Takeshita dōri or Cat Street would only be nameless roads.

The aim of this research is to explore how this small piece of land came to be recognized as a fashion space from the early 1970s onwards and how it has continued to attract creatives and shoppers alike, even in a fashion world that has seemingly shifted to location-indifferent online media.

Jana Katzenberg, University of Cologne

Picture Copyright: CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 | flickr/jun560

March 1, 2018

Informal Figures of Japanese Imperialism: the political activism of the Gen’yōsha

The history of Japanese nationalism and expansionism remains a controversial part of the nation-building process in postwar Japan. Many historians have struggled to come to terms with the ambivalent role of the past in the processes of modern nationalism and imperialism. In this respect, the history of the Meiji era is particularly controversial.

This talk will focus on the political association Gen’yōsha and its members during the 1868-1910 period. It will show how the association was an integral part of the Freedom and People’s Rights Movement and its spearhead in the Kyūshū region. After presenting the historical process that led to the foundation of the Gen’yōsha, it will explain how the group played an instrumental role in the uprising of the so-called tairiku rōnin, and how these political activists where important elements of Japan’s expansionist policies.

Picture: Public Domain | wikimedia

February 14, 2018

AI/IOT and the Future of Society

The workshop brings together scholars and researchers from Japan, Germany and the U.S. to discuss a social science research agenda in the face of the oncoming digital revolution, i.e., the arrival of the internet-of-things, with artificial intelligence, ubiquitous sharing, autonomous systems, and the so-called Industry 4.0, Society 5.0 and Life 3.0.

So far, futuristic visions of the implications associated with digital connectivity, big data and AI have been mostly the bailiwick of engineers and science fiction authors. The social sciences are only just now beginning to seriously consider the subject matter.

February 28, 2018

WeberWorldCafé: Demographic Change – Challenges and Answers for Local Communities

Many modern societies are increasingly confronting demographic change, i.e. the ageing and shrinking of population. This is particularly true for Japan and Germany, which are the worldwide “front-runners”. The social, economic and political implications are most strongly and directly felt at the level of local communities.

The idea of the WeberWorldCafé on “Demographic Change – Challenges and Answers for Local Communities” jointly conceived and organized by the German Institute of Japanese Studies (Tokyo) and the Institute of Gerontology at the Technical University of Dortmund is to bring together researchers, policy makers and civic society representatives with proven expertise in local demographic policies from Germany, the EU and Japan, to discuss how local communities can best prepare to cope with the demographic challenge.

Upcoming Events

July 25, 2018
  • DIJ Social Science Study Group
    18:30 ~ 20:00

    "Impact of shareholder-value pursuit on labor policies of large companies listed in the Nikkei 400"

Call for Papers

International Workshop
Labour Market Liberalisation after the Lehman Crisis: France, Germany and Japan in Comparative Perspective
until July 30, 2018

Contemporary Japan
Issue 30, No. 2
until August 1, 2018


DIJ Monographien, Volume 61

DIJ Monographien, Volume 61

“Networks and Mobilization Processes: The Case of the Japanese Anti-Nuclear Movement after Fukushima” — by Anna Wiemann


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💡🎓 PhD grant! The DIJ offers PhD students an extraordinary opportunity for a temporarily limited (8-12 months) fie…

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💡🎓 Doktoranden-Stipendium! Das DIJ bietet Promovenden im Forschungsfeld „Alter und digitale Technik“ eine außero…

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☝️💡 Upcoming #DIJStudyGroup! Kostiantyn Ovsiannikov from the University of Tsukuba (@UofTsukuba) will talk about t…