Events and Activities
The continuing low fertility rate in Japan, coupled with high ageing is a severe problem for Japan’s social welfare system and its economy. One important element of family policies is to provide affordable and good quality childcare institutions. In international scholarship on the evaluation of family policies, surveying parents specifically in regard to their satisfaction with family policies is rare. For the case of Germany, studies find daycare expansion positively associated particularly with maternal subjective well-being, with some differences between parents in West and East Germany, as well as that parents’ education, their income, and the age of the child all impact their levels of satisfaction with family policies. Mirroring the study by Camehl et al. (2015) and applying this to the case of Japan, I conducted a quantitative analysis of the JPWS 2012 (Japan Parental Well-Being Survey) data. Findings are that Japanese mothers’ and fathers’ own experiences are an important indicator for their satisfaction with family policies. If they managed to secure a childcare space, in particular in a public daycare center, they are more likely to be satisfied with family policies. A place in a public daycare center in contrast to any other childcare institution contributes most significantly to the parents’ satisfaction with family policies.
Furthermore, the region of living is a highly significant factor. Parents in the urban metropolitan areas of Kanto and Kinki are significantly less satisfied—due in part to the fact that in these urban areas daycare spaces are more difficult to get than in anywhere else. In regards to infrastructural family policy satisfaction, gender differences in satisfaction pale in comparison to regional differences. it is hoped that policy makers will acknowledge the importance of evaluating the “success” of family policies by the level of satisfaction of parents with family policies, and that the diverse conditions and needs of families in different regions be adequately addressed.
With multinational companies being globally active, deploying people in different locations all over the world has become a common practice. A recent survey of KMPG predicts that the number of international assignments will continue to increase in the next 5 years and that companies worldwide will continue to take advantage of their global workforce. Japanese multinational companies also strongly rely on this workforce as it enables them to control their foreign subsidiaries, foster knowledge transfer across national borders and establish globally standardized policies. According to the statistics of the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications, the number of Japanese nationals working overseas increased by nearly 10% in the last five years. For FY 2017, 463,700 nationals were working for private enterprises abroad. Considering the crucial importance of these employees for the long-term corporate success, it becomes imperative for both researchers and practitioners alike to understand what determines expatriates´ success abroad and how human resource management practices may support expatriates to stay committed to their employers.
Tassilo Schuster, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München
Inscribing Edible Otherness: Intersections of Food, Gender, and Ethnicity in Contemporary Zainichi Poetry
This presentation explores the intersections of food, gender, and ethnicity in contemporary zainichi Korean poetry. Far more than simply a biological necessity, “food serves as an indicator of social identity, from region to ethnicity, from class to age or gender” (Wendy Leeds-Hurwitz 1993: 90). In zainichi Korean literature, representations of food, cooking, and eating often do not primarily serve to add realism to the work. Rather, food is used as shorthand for the ties that persist between Korean immigrants and their pasts, and to indicate the degree of their assimilation in Japan. This function is particularly clear in poetry, which, due to its brevity, must forego world building and instead invest meaning in every single word. With a focus on the representation of what is probably the most iconic Korean food, kimchi, I examine how ethnic food is celebrated, and simultaneously resisted, as (gendered) cultural heritage. I show how food is used to highlight cultural anxieties and desires, mark processes of inclusion and exclusion, and express a wavering sense of connectedness between Korea, the imagined country of the poets’ descent, and Japan, the country of their own birth.
Kristina Iwata-Weickgenannt, Nagoya University / Trier University
Dreaming of Being a Chef? The Overseas Mobility of Young Japanese Women and Their Employment in Düsseldorf’s Japanese Foodscapes
The temporary and permanent presence of numerous Japanese citizens in Dusseldorf is certainly one of the reasons why the offerings of Dusseldorf’s ‘Japanese’ food sector are particularly extensive and diverse in comparison to other German cities. In spite of increasing academic interest in the growing Japanese foodscapes, in Japanese communities abroad, and in the overseas mobility of Japanese women, so far there is almost no research on the relationship among these topics.
Düsseldorf and the (young) women who work in gastronomy there offer an interesting case study in this context. Using qualitative data from a field study in Dusseldorf’s ‘Japanese’ foodscapes from 2016 onwards, this article focuses on young Japanese women working in this sector.
Labour Market Liberalisation after the Lehman Crisis: Comparing France, Germany and Japan
10 years after the collapse of the investment firm Lehman Brothers, a shift in discourses on structural labour market reforms is becoming ever more visible. Whereas before the crash many experts and policymakers had argued that market-oriented reforms were necessary to improve labour market and economic performance, the social costs of liberalisation now seem to attract much more attention.
Yet the jury is still out on whether this discursive shift has prompted a similar change in policy. While policies emphasising social equality appear to have gained in popularity (e.g. minimum wages, equal treatment for non-standard workers), structural reforms echoing liberalisation are also still on the agenda (e.g. French reforms of labour contract law).
This event aims to shed light on this mixed picture of continuity and change by bringing together three renowned scholars from France, Germany, and Japan for a roundtable discussion. They will discuss whether and to what extent the Lehman crisis (a.k.a. the global financial crisis) has indeed led to a lasting reorientation of labour market policy and politics.
Bruno Amable, University of Geneva
Paul Marx, University of Duisburg-Essen
Mari Miura, Sophia University in Tokyo
Symposium Report: What is the “local”? Rethinking the politics of subnational spaces in Japan
On October 18 – 20, a symposium organized by DIJ researchers Sonja Ganseforth and Hanno Jentzsch discussed the question of what is the “local” in contemporary Japan. This question may appear trivial but it generates an array of problems differing from discipline and study subject.
DIJ’s Flagship Journal: Contemporary Japan
Contemporary Japan, the flagship journal of the DIJ, publishes peer-reviewed original research articles and book reviews on Japan from all disciplines in the humanities and social sciences twice per year.
DIJ NIRA Workshop: Big Data – the new competitive paradigm. How well is Japan prepared?
Big data are at the heart of the digital revolution. In the digitalized and connected world data have become abundant. Rapidly developing tools to process, integrate and analyze large volumes of diverse datasets in ever faster and intelligent ways open up enormous potentials for research, private enterprises and public policy.
Festive event in Hotel New Otani: 30 Years of the DIJ
Together with 170 guests, including high ranking representatives from academia, industry and government, DIJ celebrated its 30 year anniversary on 31 October.
Latest Statistics: Less overtime: Is Abe´s “work-style reform” working?
Historically, changes in overtime respond to changes in economic growth rates. However, since 2016 the two diverge, with overtime almost continuously falling despite continuing GDP growth.
We are seeking applicants to fill a project position planned to start on 1 March 2019 for a Post-Doctoral Research Fellow.
The position will form part of the project “Streams of Knowledge: Processes of Entanglement and Disentanglement in the Pacific Area.” This is a joint project carried out in cooperation with the German Historical Institutes in Moscow and Washington, their branch offices in Vladivostok and Berkeley, and the MWS Research Group at the National University of Singapore.
Deputy Director Barbara Holthus introduces the DIJ at the Monumenta Nipponica 80th Anniversary Symposium:
The event’s full video playlist is available on YouTube.