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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 10, 2021

DIJ Web-Forum on Data and Values in Japan and Germany

© Luc Legay

Data are widely considered to be the “oil” of the digital economy. But whereas the concept seems essential and ubiquitous, social, economic, and legal aspects associated with the meaning, ownership, exchange, use, and protection of data remain highly contested even among countries with similar economic and political systems like Japan and Germany. Our speakers will present the main legal regulations and public discourses related to the concept of data in Japan and Germany. In the discussion, we will try to pinpoint major differences in the understanding of data and their implications for the ownership, protection, use, and international exchange. Details and registration here


Axel v.d. Bussche, Taylor Wessing

Stefan Heumann, Stiftung Neue Verantwortung

Hitomi Iwase, Nishimura & Asahi

Koichi Sumikura , National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies (GRIPS)

moderated by Franz Waldenberger, German Institute for Japanese Studies

May 31, 2021

“You cannot not compare.” Concluding contribution to Comparing Comparisons blog

Screenshot Comparing Comparisons blog

In their concluding contribution to the Comparing Comparisons blog, DIJ director Franz Waldenberger and James D. Sidaway (Professor of Political Geography, NUS) emphasize the invaluable benefits from comparing as a method in the humanities and social sciences. “You can do it wrong or be seduced by too easy comparisons, but you cannot easily do without some”, they conclude. Their article “Who compares? The commodification and decolonization of comparison” is the final contribution to the blog which originates from the international and interdisciplinary meeting by scholars affiliated with the Max Weber Foundation Research Group at the National University of Singapore and DIJ researchers in Tokyo in December 2019. Previous contributions offer variations of the blog’s theme and draw examples from the authors’ respective areas of specialization, including anthropology, ethnography, Japanese studies, political geography, economics, cross-cultural studies, business and management research.

May 31, 2021

Public talk ‘Tokyo Olympics – An Uphill Battle’ with Barbara Holthus

Screenshot © ISDP

What are the latest developments and challenges that overshadow the Tokyo Olympics? Join DIJ deputy director Barbara Holthus, Olympic expert Vanessa Åsell Tsuruga, and  special advisor to former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, Tomohiko Taniguchi, for an online discussion of the risks and opportunities ahead and their impact on Tokyo and Japan. The event ‘Tokyo Olympics: An Uphill Battle’ is hosted by the Japan Center at the Institute for Security & Development Policy (ISDP), a Stockholm-based non-profit and non-partisan research and policy organization. The webinar will be moderated by Jon Thunqvist, Senior Research Fellow at the ISDP, and takes place on Monday, 31 May, 10.00-11.00 (CEST) / 17.00-18.00 (JST). Registration is required via the ISDP.

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 26, 2021

First lecture of DIJ Method Talks series: Sakura Yamamura on Mental Mapping

Collage © Sakura Yamamura

The diversification in and of urban spaces through rising mobility is inevitable, yet the actual capturing of socio-spatial urban transformation is still methodologically underexplored. Based on the analytical framework of Löw (2001), Sakura Yamamura employed the novel methodological tool of mental maps in her research on global and local mobility patterns. She combined it with 45 interviews with transnational migrant professionals in Tokyo, ethnographic site surveys and geographical mapping. The mental maps were drawn by transnational professional migrants in order to capture the extent and locations of urban transformations. In this presentation, she will introduce the method of mental mapping and discuss how it can be connected to spatial theory to capture socio-spatial transformations and mobility patterns in Tokyo and beyond. This lecture opens the new ‘DIJ Method Talks’ lecture series. Details and registration here

Sakura Yamamura, Max Planck Institute for the Study of Religious and Ethnic Diversity

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

May 19, 2021

DIJ Study Group on Post-Fukushima Literature

© Chiara Pavone

This talk will explore the political stakes of modes of seeing and remembering through the lenses of proximity and transparency, while proposing a possible reevaluation of these concepts in the light of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster. Radiation upsets spatial hierarchies and visual regimes by posing its own questions on positionality and representation. A tentative answer to such queries might come from a careful consideration of recent directions in scholarship in new materialism and ecocriticism, and in the form of a kind of ‘radioactive aesthetic’. Thanks to its poetics of avisuality and distance, radioactive aesthetic often attracts into its orbit literary works apparently removed from the catastrophe, thus proposing a corrective to the criteria of authority and proximity implicit in the process of canonization of works of ‘post-Fukushima literature’ and of disaster literature in general. Details and registration here

Chiara Pavone, University of California, Los Angeles

Upcoming Events

June 23, 2021
  • DIJ Lecture Series Gender & Sexuality
    19:30 ~ 21:00

    Croft, Quiet, and Kantai Collection: Female Bodies in Japanese Videogames

June 25, 2021
  • Workshop
    16:00 ~ 20:00

    Technology & Society in Japan and Beyond

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’

Thank you to everyone who joined yesterday's JDZB/DIJ panel discussion & book talk 'Recovery Games under the Mask' with papers by @SGanseforth @barbGhawaii @stenweber @AxelPKlein @Japan_research. Special thanks to our fantastic ... moderator @AlastairGale and the JDZB @julia_muench

DIJ researcher @kott_no will present her latest research on "Expatriate women, trailing husbands and negotiations of interfamilial power" at the International Society for Ethnology and Folklore Congress #SIEF2021 on June 23. Congress starts... tomorrow!

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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. 1
Contemporary Japan is open year-round for rolling submissions, with accepted publications published immediately online. Please see the instructions for submission here.