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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

October 8, 2021

Autumn issue of DIJ Newsletter published

© DIJ Tokyo

We have just published the autumn issue of our DIJ Newsletter featuring updates on our research, publications, and events, including three upcoming Web Forum sessions on Digital Transformation; two CfP for a workshop on health infrastructures and a conference on sustainable societies; new book publications by our researchers Barbara Geilhorn, Sonja Ganseforth and our alumnus Hanno Jentzsch; an interview with our new senior research fellows Celia Spoden and David M. Malitz; a new contribution to our Catchword series; and much more. 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 it directly to your inbox. The full issue and subscription form are available here.

October 1, 2021

Joint book exhibition ‘World Heritage in Japan’ in October

Japan is home to no less than 25 UNESCO World Heritage sites, including Himeji Castle, Hiroshima Peace Memorial, and Mount Fuji. In July, two new sites in Japan were added to this list: the first comprises Amami-Oshima Island, Tokunoshima Island, northern part of Okinawa Island, and Iriomote Island (Kagoshima and Okinawa prefectures); the second are Jomon Prehistoric Sites in Northern Japan (Hokkaido, Aomori, Iwate, and Akita prefectures). In this year’s joint autumn book exhibition, the International House of Japan Library, the Bibliothèque de la Maison franco-japonaise , and the DIJ’s library are displaying English, French, and German materials on Japan’s World Heritage sites. The exhibition takes place from October 1st to October 30th. For further information, please contact each library. Details here

September 20, 2021

New edited volume explores work of theatre maker Okada Toshiki

© Performance Research Books

Playwright, novelist and theatre director Okada Toshiki is one of the most prominent voices of the current generation of Japanese contemporary theatre makers. His plays, which have been staged at theatre festivals all over the world, address issues such as social inequity, life in Japan after the 3.11 triple disaster, and post-human society. Okada Toshiki & Japanese Theatre (Performance Research Books, 2021), co-edited by DIJ researcher Barbara Geilhorn, Peter Eckersall, Andreas Regelsberger, and Cody Poulton, explores Okada’s work and its importance to the development of contemporary performance in Japan and around the world. For the first time in English it gathers a comprehensive selection of essays, interviews, and translations of three of Okada’s plays. In addressing the work of Okada Toshiki from an interdisciplinary perspective, the book provides an in-depth analysis of an outstanding Japanese artist and contributes to a better understanding of art and society in contemporary Japan. More information here

September 7, 2021

New issue 33(2) of Contemporary Japan published

© Taylor&Francis

The latest issue of Contemporary Japan is now available online and in print. It features original research articles exploring: 1) how crime prevention (bōhan) became a widespread concept in low-crime Japan (Schimkowsky); 2) changing media representations of the imperial family from the Meiji era to the dawn of the Reiwa era (Anzai); 3) and a critical discussion of the role of satirical depictions of Japan in Victorian British cartoons (Matthewson). In addition, we continue our Invited Commentary section with the historian Gerhard Krebs’ critical analysis of the argument regarding Imperial Japan’s expansionist ambitions by Gerhard L. Weinberg, whose works have suggested that Japanese imperial ambitions extended as far as the Caribbean. Lastly, our book review section includes a broad range of important publications in the fields of philosophy, history, anthropology, gender studies, food studies, and religious studies. Please see the full issue here

Event Series
November 11, 2021

DIJ lecture on the dissemination of contemporary Shugendō

© Josko Kozic

In recent years there has been an increasing interest in Shugendō, a syncretic religion based on mountain worship and ascetic exercises. Various practicing groups across the country are expanding beyond their sanctuaries and gather in social networks, even creating new structures and international groups and practicing outside of Japan. The scope of Shugendō’s discourse and practice has expanded to a larger public, thereby attaching Shugendō to the popular belief in so-called “power spots”. Behind this growing popularity might be an interest in a “world invisible to the eyes” (Roth, 2019), in which worldly conflicts and individual concerns may be solved detached from rationalism. This lecture will explore to what extent Shugendō has been rematerialized and staged in the course of its popularization. Does Shugendō, as some scholars claim, represent an “embodiment of Japanese culture” that is worth spreading? Details and registration here

Josko Kozic, Heidelberg University

Event Series
November 4, 2021

Sixth Web Forum ‘DT’ introduces Digital Humanities projects

© Gerd Altmann

The sixth and last session of our MWS Web Forum Series ‘The Digital Transformation’ on November 4 will introduce six Digital Humanities (DH) projects from different institutes within the Max Weber Foundation. Harald Kümmerle (DIJ) will give a talk on “Datafication as observed in speeches in the Japanese Diet – an analysis using topic modelling”. Esther Meier and Sebastian Kindler (German Historical Institute Moscow) will introduce the German-Russian documentation and digitisation project “Soviet and German Prisoners of War and Internees”. Jörg Hörnschemeyer (DHI Rome) will give an overview of DH at the German Historical Institute in Rome. Mareike König (German Historical Institute Paris) will introduce “Academic blogging in the humanities” using the example of the platform de.hypotheses. Anne Klammt (DFK Paris) will give a talk on the “Deutsch-Französische Kunstvermittlung 1871–1940 & 1945–1960” and Jana Keck (German Historical Institute Washington) will introduce “Semi-Automated Genre Classification for Historical Newspapers”. Details and registration here

Event Series
October 28, 2021

Fifth Web Forum Series ‘DT’ session on History and the Digital Age

© Gerd Altmann

Andreas Fickers (Luxembourg Centre for Contemporary and Digital History) will be the speaker in the fifth session of our MWS Web Forum Series ‘The Digital Transformation’ on October 28. His presentation “What the D does to History – The Digital Age as a New Historical Time Regime?” will focus on the interface between theory and practice, conceptual penetration and methodological reflection of historical scholarship in the digital age. It will discuss the tensions between a discipline based on 19th century methodological foundations and the radically changing knowledge economy of the 21st century. These tensions force historians to rethink and adapt central concepts and practices of thinking and doing history – including the question of the temporal regime of the digital which will be at the heart of this lecture. Details and registration here

Event Series
October 21, 2021

Fourth Web Forum Series ‘DT’ session on the Future of Society

© Gerd Altmann

Yuko Harayama (RIKEN), Dietmar Harhoff (Max Planck Institute for Innovation and Competition), and Ulrike Schaede (University of California San Diego) will be the speakers in the fourth session of our MWS Web Forum Series ‘The Digital Transformation’ on October 21. Its focus will be on ‘The Future of Society – National Ambitions and Strategies’. Yuko Harayama’s paper “How to use ‘Society 5.0’?” will introduce the concept and explain its use in Japan and the interest it has attracted abroad. In his presentation “Reconsidering German National Strategies towards Digitalization”, Dietmar Harhoff will focus on the government’s strategic plan ‘Industrie 4.0′, its national AI strategy, and initiatives to accelerate the digitalization of the public sector. Ulrike Schaede’s paper “National Differences in Preparing for the Digital Disruption: Markets v. Industrial Policy” will compare Japan’s reliance on industrial policy, the US’ focus on markets and private initiatives, and Germany’s in-between position. Details and registration here

Upcoming Events

December 9, 2021
  • Conference (online)
    16:00 ~ 22:30

    Globalizing the Social Sciences: German-East Asian Entanglements in the 19th and 20th Century

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’

Advent, Advent, ein Buchgeschenk🎄Zum 1. Advent schenken wir 2 Personen je einen Band aus unserer Monographienreihen zum Thema Leben in Japan. Einfach bis Montag Tweet liken oder RT. Die Gewinner können sich ... einen der 4 Bände aussuchen #Adventsverlosung


Join DIJ principal researcher @kott_no & C. Reiher @GEAS_FU for a discussion of the potential of qualitative methods for Area Studies @UWJSIS, based on their co-edited handbook Studying Japan Dec 1, 12.20pm ... PST/Dec 2, 5.20am JST

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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. 2
Contemporary Japan is open year-round for rolling submissions, with accepted publications published immediately online. Please see the instructions for submission here.