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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

December 3, 2022

Barbara Holthus to deliver keynote lecture at AJJ 2022 conference


DIJ deputy director Barbara Holthus and Wolfram Manzenreiter (University of Vienna) will deliver the keynote lecture at the Anthropology of Japan in Japan (AJJ) Annual Meeting at Kyoto University on December 3, 2022. Their presentation “The Social DNA of Happiness: Looking back, looking ahead” will outline the main research foci and results in a field that has become increasingly informed by findings from genetics, sociology, and anthropology. It will also introduce findings from their own studies in the field of happiness and well-being in Japan, including the relationality of well-being and happiness in rural Japan; life satisfaction among parents with young children and in social-movements; a new research tool to illustrate the multidimensionality of well-being in interviews. Looking ahead, their presentation will address the need for more anthropological engagement in this world of permanent flux, instability, threatened democracies, climate crisis, and the Covid-19 pandemic.

Event Series
November 24, 2022

Carsten Herbes discusses Generation Z and sustainable consumption at DIJ talk

Private consumption accounts for a significant share of the environmental and social impact of human activities. Therefore, understanding consumer perceptions and behaviours is important for policy makers and companies but also for NGOs. In this presentation, Carsten Herbes will shed light on the similarities and differences in consumption behaviour between Japanese and German youth, focusing on the areas of food and clothing. Herbes will discuss influencing factors such as attitudes, norms, perceived opportunities, knowledge and trust as well as engagement in the Fridays for Future movement. His analysis draws on the Theory of Planned Behaviour and is based on consumer interviews with Generation Z members (age 16-24) in both countries and expert interviews. In addition, a representative online survey of around 500 GenZ consumers in both Japan and Germany was performed. Details and registration here

Carsten Herbes, Nuertingen-Geislingen University, Germany/DIJ Tokyo
November 18, 2022

DIJ researchers and alumni at VSJF annual conference


Several DIJ researchers and alumni will participate in this year’s annual conference of the German Association for Social Science Research on Japan (VSJF) from November 18-20, 2022. On the 19th, Nora Kottmann will present her paper (Not) Alone: Being Single in a Marriage Centric ‘Hyper-Solo-Society’ in the panel on “Changing private Life”. In the Sociology section, Barbara Holthus will give a presentation on Furry Friends in Covid Japan. DIJ alumnus Felix Spremberg (Tübingen) will present a paper on Recent Changes in Japan’s Digitalization Policy in the same section. DIJ alumni Axel Klein (Populism and Japan) and Steffen Heinrich (Privatisation without growth: A unique challenge for Japanese welfare state reform?) will give presentations in the Politics section. The section meetings on Economics, History, Politics, Sociology, and Technology are (co-)convened by DIJ researchers and alumni. The theme of the 2022 annual conference is “Deviance and Norms in Times of Change in Japan”. It is organised by DIJ advisory board member David Chiavacci (University Zurich) and DIJ alumna Gabriele Vogt (LMU Munich). The complete programme is available online (conference and sections’ meetings).

November 1, 2022

New article by David M. Malitz studies influence of Meiji Constitution on Siamese/Thai political thought

Screenshot Taylor&Francis website

A new research article by DIJ historian David M. Malitz studies how the Meiji Constitution of 1889 and the Japanese Imperial Diet became crucial reference points in the development of Siamese/Thai political ideas from the 1880s to the 1940s. Published in the International History Review (October 2022), “‘What Is Good about the Japanese System of Governance?’ — The Reception of Imperial Japanese Parliamentarism in Siamese/Thai Political Thought (1880s–1940s)” is based on David’s contribution to the Symposium on the Occasion of the 130th Anniversary of the Opening of the Japanese Parliament, which he organized in November 2020 with the DIJ.

November 8, 2022

Starke DIJ-Präsenz beim Japan-Besuch von Bundespräsident Steinmeier

Mehrere Forscher und Forscherinnen des DIJ nahmen in der vergangenen Woche an Veranstaltungen im Rahmen des Japan-Besuchs von Bundespräsident Frank-Walter Steinmeier und seiner Frau Elke Büdenbender teil. Zu den zentralen Anliegen ihres Aufenthaltes zählten gesellschaftlicher Zusammenhalt und Inklusion. DIJ-Direktor Franz Waldenberger (im Foto 2. von rechts) moderierte eine Diskussionsrunde zum Thema Freiwilligenarbeit in Deutschland und Japan, zu der der Bundespräsident und seine Frau junge engagierte Volunteers eingeladen hatten. Im DAWN Avatar Robot Café berichtete Sozialwissenschaftlerin Celia Spoden zusammen mit Kentarō Yoshifuji, CEO des OryLabs und Entwickler der OriHime, einer Delegation um Frau Büdenbender, wie der OriHime-Avatar die Selbstständigkeit, Freiheit und gesellschaftliche Partizipation von körperlich eingeschränkten Menschen unterstützt. Am Empfang des Bundespräsidenten in der Residenz des Deutschen Botschafters nahmen die stellvertretende Direktorin Barbara Holthus und Sozialwissenschaftlerin Nora Kottmann teil. Am Thementisch zu “Gender equality” diskutierte Nora mit Frau Büdenbender sowie dem ehemaligen DIJ-Beiratsmitglied Kaori Hayashi (Universität Tokyo), Yuko Hayashi (Universität Yamaguchi) und Karen Makishima (Mitglied des Unterhauses, ehemalige Digitalministerin) über “Starke Frauen in Japan”.

October 27, 2022

DIJ founding director receives prestigious Japanese Studies award


DIJ founding director Josef Kreiner has been announced winner of the International Prize in Japanese Studies 2022 awarded by the Japanese National Institutes for the Humanities (NIHU). “As founding director, Professor Josef Kreiner made a significant contribution to the positive reception and reputation of the DIJ in Japan. The award shows that his research is still held in extremely high esteem today. We are very happy for him and congratulate him very warmly”, said DIJ director Franz Waldenberger. Josef Kreiner is Professor Emeritus of the University of Bonn and Visiting Researcher of Hosei University Research Center for International Japanese Studies. He was instrumental in the negotiations that led to the founding of the DIJ in 1988 and served as its director from 1988 to 1996. The NIHU International Prize in Japanese Studies was established in 2019 with the aim to promote the development of Japanese Studies and deepen the understanding of Japanese culture internationally. The awards ceremony and commemorative lecture will take place on 20 January 2023 at The Japan Academy.

Event Series
November 17, 2022

Till Weingärtner discusses film stardom in postwar Japan in DIJ talk

Takamine Hideko (1924-2010) is one of Japan’s major film stars of the 20th century. She is remembered for her appearance in seminal works in the Japanese film canon, but also as an essayist. Often celebrated for her collaboration with major film directors such as Kinoshita Keisuke or Naruse Mikio, Takamine’s own career makes an interesting case study for understanding what film stars in post-war Japan represented for their audiences. Takamine had appeared in propaganda films during the wartime period and later appeared in roles presenting and interrogating new ideas of gender and the role of women in post-war Japan. Following the Star Studies approach, this talk will examine seminal films and key events in Takamine’s biography in relation to post-war Japanese society. It will explore what Takamine represented to her contemporary audience and why she still continues to be a popular film star today. Details and registration here

Till Weingärtner, University College Cork (Ireland)
November 2, 2022

POSTPONED Barbara Holthus discusses Tokyo Olympics legacy at OAG lecture

Screenshot OAG

PLEASE NOTE: This lecture had to be postponed until further notice. We will inform you about the new date as quickly as possible. 

Since Tokyo won the bid to host the Olympic Games in 2013, the year 2020 was traded as both a “goal” and a “new beginning” in the country. To this end, the Olympic Games were instrumentalised in a variety of ways, including Tokyo as the capital of “Cool Japan”; the most technologically sophisticated Olympics; economic rebound; a new volunteer culture. In this talk on 2 November at the OAG Tokyo and online, DIJ deputy director and Olympic volunteer Barbara Holthus will contrast these efforts to reinvent the country and the instrumentalisation of the Olympics with what ultimately became of these lofty goals. What was Tokyo 2020/21 and what remains socially, economically, (infra)structurally? Barbara’s lecture also offers insights into the pandemic Games themselves through participant observation as “field cast” volunteers at the Paralympic Games. 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

  • DIJ Social Science Study Group
    18:30 ~ 20:00

    'Caring Machines'

  • Workshop
    18:30 ~ 20:00

    Shinzo Abe's Legacy for the Future of Japanese-Southeast Asian Relations

  • DIJ Business & Economics Study Group
    18:30 ~ 20:00

    The non-internationalization of East Asian start-ups: the role of resources, strategies and context

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    DIJ Brochure

    Please see the DIJ Brochure for more information about our institute (v. 7/2022)

    Special Project:
    Tokyo Olympics

    “Japan through the lens of the Tokyo Olympics”

    For more information see our
    → project page.

    Reminder: you can still sign up for tomorrow's DIJ Study Group session with @giulia_de_togni on Socially Assistive Robots & how their care for humans affects care relationships. Dec 8, 18.30h JST online & on-site @ DIJ @SpodenCelia ...

    Why do #IT #startups in China, Korea & Japan not internationalize successfully and what is the role of resources, strategies & context ? Find out in our last DIJ Study Group session in 2022 with Martin Hemmert, Mon, Dec 12, 18.30 ... JST/10.30 CET, online only

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