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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

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

September 6, 2021

Journal article explores living arrangements of unmarried adults

© Taylor&Francis

Staying unmarried and not starting a nuclear family is increasingly common around the globe. At the same time, living arrangements are diversifying. A new journal article by DIJ social scientist Nora Kottmann investigates the relationship worlds of unmarried adults through and in relation to their living arrangements. Based on a qualitative study of unmarried individuals in Tokyo and Kyoto, “Living (alone) together in metropolitan Japan: shifting boundaries of dwelling, relating, and belonging” offers insights into how the emergence of a so-called ‘Hyper-Solo-Society’ in Japan is interwoven with the diversification of living arrangements. By identifying changing perceptions of home and belonging, Nora’s article contributes a new perspective to current global debates on ‘singles’ and their practices of relating and belonging at the intersection of gender, mobility, and space. The article was published online first in Gender, Place & Culture. A Journal of Feminist Geography and can be viewed here

August 23, 2021

Journal article reviews studies on new venture entrepreneurship

© SpringerNature

DIJ director Franz Waldenberger and DIJ alumnus Martin Hemmert (Korea University) are authors of a new open access article that systemically reviews studies on new venture entrepreneurship in East Asia. “New venture entrepreneurship and context in East Asia: a systematic literature review” (Asian Business & Management, online first), jointly researched and written with Adam R. Cross, Ying Cheng, Jae‑Jin Kim, Masahiro Kotosaka, and Leven J. Zheng, examines articles published in Social Science Citation Index (SSCI)-listed journals between 2000 and 2020. It finds that the research body is highly unbalanced: most articles are single-country studies focused on China, apply a quantitative methodology, and concentrate on topics such as entrepreneurial strategies and new venture entrepreneurs’ personal attributes and networks. More contextualized research on countries such as Japan and South Korea and on less studied themes such as culture, entrepreneurial financing and teams, new venture internationalization and entrepreneurial intention is desirable. The article is an outcome of the DIJ research project Start-ups in Asia – the role of agglomerations and international linkages.

August 6, 2021

New edited volume on Locality in Japan

© Routledge

What does it mean when we say “local” and what does “local” mean in the Japanese context? Rethinking Locality in Japan, edited by DIJ researcher Sonja Ganseforth and DIJ alumnus Hanno Jentzsch (Vienna), examines broader political and socio-economic shifts in Japan through the window of locality. It covers demographic change, electoral and administrative reform, rural decline and revitalization, welfare reform, and the growing rift in energy and food production. Chapters discuss the different ways in which locality in Japan has been reconstituted, from historical and contemporary instances of administrative restructuring to more subtle social processes of making and unmaking local places. Contributors include the co-editors Sonja Ganseforth (“Territorialized yet Fluid Locality: Reform, Consolidation, and the More-than-Human in Japanese Fishery Cooperatives”) and Hanno Jentzsch (“San’ya – The Making and Unmaking of a Welfare Quarter”) as well as DIJ researchers Barbara Holthus (“The Meaning of Place for Selfhood and Well-being in Rural Japan”, with Wolfram Manzenreiter) and Isaac Gagné (“Mapping the Local Economy of Care: Social Welfare and Volunteerism in Local Communities”). The volume is an outcome of the DIJ’s research focus The Future of Local Communities in Japan.

August 16, 2021

New ‘Citizen Science in the Digital Age’ Opinion Paper


Citizen science, in which citizens and scientists collaborate to generate and utilize data and knowledge, is an important approach to co-creating society. While citizen science in the natural sciences is well established, it is still in its infancy in the humanities and social sciences. To use the citizens’ knowledge to solve social problems it is necessary to design protocols for citizen participation, to involve universities in supporting citizen science, and to build data provision and management systems that take into account data ownership and privacy protection. At a conference co-organized by the NIRA Research Institute, the DWIH Tokyo, and the DIJ, researchers from Japan and abroad discussed the possibilities of citizen science to contribute to the development of research in the humanities and social sciences. DIJ director Franz Waldenberger contributed the closing comments. The opinion paper ‘Citizen Science in the Digital Age’ based on this conference has now been published (in Japanese). A PDF version is available for download here

August 4, 2021

New journal article examines post-3.11 plays and cultural trauma

A new journal article by DIJ researcher Barbara Geilhorn studies two post-Fukushima plays by Setoyama Misaki to examine the potential of theatre to shape cultural memory and raise critical awareness. Among the various art works addressing the Fukushima nuclear disaster, Setoyama’s plays are rare in exposing how intricately the roles of victim and perpetrator are entangled. Relating Fukushima to the atomic bombings and the Chernobyl disaster, Setoyama opposes national discourses of a spatially and temporally limited disaster to construct 3.11 as a disaster on a global scale. Setoyama’s plays go far beyond the criticism of nuclear power and touch upon essential problems in Japanese society, such as the lack of an open culture of discussion and the strong suppression of dissenting voices, as the analysis shows. The article is an outcome of Barbara’s research project Local Issues Take Stage – Culture and Community Revitalization. It was published in Japan Forum, online first, and can be accessed here.

July 8, 2021

Summer issue of DIJ Newsletter published

© DIJ Tokyo

We have just published the summer issue of our DIJ Newsletter featuring updates on our research, publications, and outreach activities. In this issue you will find a selection of our recent and forthcoming activities, including a panel discussion on the Tokyo Olympics in cooperation with the Japanese-German Center Berlin (JDZB); a Web-Forum series on Digital Transformation; new book publications by Susanne Brucksch, Barbara Geilhorn, Sonja Ganseforth, and our alumnus Hanno Jentzsch; a profile of our new staff member Gernot Mair; a new edition of 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.

Upcoming Events

Nothing from January 22, 2022 to June 22, 2022.

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.

DIJ Newsletter

Please subscribe to our DIJ Newsletter to stay informed about our research activities, events, and publications:


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    Special Project:
    Tokyo Olympics

    “Japan through the lens of the Tokyo Olympics”

    For more information see our
    → project page.

    #openaccess: @gabriele_vogt & Anne-Sophie L. König @LMU_Muenchen investigate how much robotic devices & #ICT actually help improve the work conditions of care workers in long-term care facilities #caregiving #elderlycare ... @japansocsci

    NEU Japan Jahrbuch 2021 der #VSJF mit Beiträgen aus dem DIJ zur Wirtschaft @franzDIJTokyo und Geschichte @stenweber (mit A. Scherer) sowie zahlreichen #DIJAlum zur Außenpolitik @Kaischu, Innenpolitik, Gesellschaft & Medien. Inhalt ...

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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
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    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.