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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

Event Series
September 28, 2023

Hybrid DIJ Study Group session on Spatial Dynamics in Japanese Poetry

© private

The COVID-19 pandemic has had a profound impact on our understanding of space. However, the world of reading, an activity traditionally seen as a purely cognitive act that allows readers to leave their physical bodies behind, appeared to remain relatively unaffected by these spatial constraints. This interdisciplinary presentation will closely examine poetic works like Saihate Tahi’s site-specific installation Shi no kasoku / shi no teishi (2020), Fuzuki Yumi’s sound installation Koe no genba (2021), and the online exhibition Kakuri-shiki nōkōsesshoku-shitsu (2020) by Mizusawa Nao and media artist Fuse Rintarō to explore space, proximity, and the act of reading within the context of poetry installations. The presentation will suggest that their works create poetic spaces that serve as a poignant reminder of the readers‘ own physicality. As a result, readers become more aware to the spaces that surround them and the far-reaching effects of COVID-19 on these settings. Details and registration here

Sarah Pützer, University of Oxford/DIJ Tokyo
September 26, 2023

Celia Spoden to discuss avatar robots in schools in Germany

Screenshot IFI website

Avatar robots designed for children unable to attend school due to injury, illness, or disability have been increasingly adopted in Europe and Japan in recent years. The online event Staying Connected: Implementing Avatar Robots at Schools in Norway, Denmark, Germany, and Japan will show cases of avatar robots being introduced into educational environments in European countries and Japan, accompanied by discussions about their challenges and potential opportunities. It features presentations by Arisa Ema (University of Tokyo), Sofie Sejer Skoubo (Aarhus University), Marit Haldar, Maja Nordtug (both Oslo Metropolitan University), and DIJ’s Celia Spoden. The event is hosted by the University of Tokyo’s Institute for Future Initiatives (IFI) and takes place on Tuesday, 26 September 2023. Details and registration here

Event Series
September 11, 2023

Workshop on discursive and material dimensions of the digital transformation

Based on perspectives from and on Japan, this workshop brings together 20 scholars to discuss connecting approaches and analytical concepts in digital transformation. Discursive and material dimensions of the digital transformation: Perspectives from and on Japan will explore visions, practices, and narratives in politics, research and development, and science fiction related to robots, artificial intelligence, and algorithms (day 1); the use of data and the development of data infrastructures with regard to their socio-cultural, economic, and historical situation (day 2). On the final day, the results of the previous days are compiled and related from a transdisciplinary perspective to think about possibilities of employing them productively. The workshop will draw on approaches from media and cultural studies, anthropology, the history of science, and science and technology studies. It takes place 11-13 September online, at Sophia University (keynotes), and in Shimokitazawa. Details and registration here

August 17, 2023

DIJ researchers and alumni at EAJS conference

Six DIJ researchers and more than twenty DIJ alumni will present their latest research at this year’s tri-annual conference of the European Association for Japanese Studies (EAJS). Paper presenters include Franz Waldenberger and Markus Heckel (Economics, Business and Political Economies section), Nora Kottmann (Anthropology and Sociologies section), Torsten Weber (History section), Sebastian Polak-Rottmann (Urban, Regional and Environmental Studies section), and Sarah Pützer (Modern Literatures section). The conference takes place at Ghent University from August 17-20, 2023. Programme and details here.

August 10, 2023

Online lecture by David Malitz on ‘Siam in the Japanocentric World Order’


Upon invitation by the Hamburger Gesellschaft für Thaiistik (Hamburg Society for Thai Studies), DIJ senior research fellow David M. Malitz will give an online presentation on 10 August to discuss Siam in the Japanocentric World Order. His presentation will focus on the former Japanese village of Ayutthaya, now a well-known and popular tourist attraction, and the relations between the Courts of Ayutthaya and Edo in the early 17th century. The muban yipun, as it is known in Thai, was one of the most important Japanese settlements in early modern Southeast Asia. As such, it has received considerable scholarly attention in the early 20th century. David’s talk will first provide a summary of the settlement’s overall history. It will then offer a reinterpretation of the official relations between the kings of Ayutthaya and the early Tokugawa shoguns based on the literature on Tokugawa foreign relations. Details and Zoom link here

Event Series
July 25, 2023

DIJ Forum on Japan’s Strategic Partnerships in South East Asia

As Great Power competition in the Indo-Pacific accelerates, South East Asia has emerged as an arena in which strategic rivalries are played out. As part of its more proactive international diplomacy in recent years, Tokyo has sought to strengthen relations with both ASEAN and a number of individual member states through the “Strategic Partnership” mechanism. It has also worked to build support for its vision of a “Free and Open Indo-Pacific” in tandem with the ASEAN Outlook on the Indo-Pacific and anticipates the official announcement of a “Comprehensive Strategic Partnership” to commemorate 50 years of diplomatic engagement. This hybrid DIJ Forum on 25 July examines the objectives and activities of these Strategic Partnerships, and assesses their future prospects, to offer insights into how Japan seeks to navigate Great Power competition in South East Asia. Details and registration here

Thomas Wilkins, University of Sydney/DIJ Tokyo
Takashi Terada, Doshisha University
July 5, 2023

DIJ co-organizes ‘Japan-China Relations, 2001-2022’ book talk


The nature of Japan-China relations has shifted from “friendship” to “coexistence” during the five decades since the normalization of diplomatic relations in 1972. The newly published book Japan-China Relations, 2001-2022 (日中関係 2001-2022, University of Tokyo Press, 2023) collects seventeen chapters analyzing two decades of Japan-China relations since 2001 from different angles including politics, diplomacy, economy, and society. The online book talk “Japan-China Relations 2001-2022” on 5 July 2023 features the editors Takahara Akio (Graduate School of Law and Politics, University of Tokyo), Sonoda Shigeto (Institute for Advanced Studies on Asia, University of Tokyo), Marukawa Tomoo (Institute of Social Science, University of Tokyo), and Kawashima Shin (Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, University of Tokyo). Peter Gries (Manchester China Institute, University of Manchester) and DIJ principal researcher Torsten Weber will serve as discussants. The event is organized by the Global Asian Studies Initiative at the Institute for Advanced Studies on Asia and co-organized by the DIJ and the Manchester China Institute. Registration here

Event Series
June 29, 2023

DIJ Study Group session on ‘The Sublime and Wabi-Sabi’

© Philippe Bürgin

One of the most noteworthy examples of the Japanese art form known as karesansui (枯山水), i. e. dry landscape garden, can be found at the Ryōan-ji in Kyoto. Philippe Bürgin proposes that the aesthetic appeal of this garden’s composition can be fruitfully recontextualized in accordance with the aesthetic category of the Kantian sublime, in the sense that its abstract moments point towards a void, an idea, something that goes beyond our perception – but still within our perception. The aesthetic moments of the sublime coincide with Japanese aesthetic categories such as wabi-sabi by marking the spatial and temporal thresholds of what is representable. The presentation argues that there is a latent sublimity to Japanese art works in which even modern forms of artistic expression might have been anticipated. Details and registration here

Philippe Bürgin, State University of Fine Arts Stuttgart/DIJ Tokyo

Upcoming Events

  • DIJ Forum
    18:30 ~ 20:00

    Japanese Politics – What Keeps Women Out?

  • Workshop
    11:00 ~ 18:00

    Conceptualizing communicative spaces in rural areas in Japan and Germany

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    Call for Submissions

    Contemporary Japan
    current issue Vol. 35, No. 2
    Contemporary Japan is open year-round for rolling submissions, with accepted publications published immediately online. Please see the instructions for submission here.

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