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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

March 8, 2024

New journal article discusses Japan’s digital capitalism and its global relevance

A new journal article by DIJ researcher Harald Kümmerle and DIJ director Franz Waldenberger studies Japan’s consensus-driven approach to data regulation as an alternative to the market-driven US, the state-driven Chinese, and the rights-driven EU models. The authors argue that Japan’s approach is based on soft regulation and aims at striking a balance between privacy concerns and commercial and public interests in the usage of data. They also show that Japan’s COVID-19 countermeasures relied on data strategies fully compatible with its consensual regulatory model. By combining rights-driven and market-driven aspects, Japan can potentially mediate between the EU and the US regimes. Japan’s approach also offers an attractive alternative for countries that do not want to pick a side in the Sino-American competition. “Japan’s ‘consensual’ variety of digital capitalism and its global relevance” was published in Asia Pacific Business Review (online first).


Japan 2023: Articles by DIJ researchers and alumni on Japanese society, economics, history, and politics

© Iudicium

The latest issue of the Japan Jahrbuch, the yearbook published by the German Association for Social Science Research on Japan, includes four articles (in German) written by current and former DIJ researchers on Japanese society, economics, history, and politics. DIJ director Franz Waldenberger and Kostiantyn Ovsiannikov (Atsugi) provide a quantitative review of Japan’s municipalities in demographic transition, while DIJ economist Markus Heckel assesses the Bank of Japan’s monetary policy under Haruhiko Kuroda and Kazuo Ueda. DIJ historian Torsten Weber and Anke Scherer (Bochum) analyse recent developments in historical debates and historical consciousness in Japan. Former DIJ senior research fellow Christian G. Winkler (Fukuoka) examines domestic Japanese politics in 2022/2023. The volume is edited by DIJ advisory board member David Chiavacci and DIJ alumna Iris Wieczorek. For more details please see the table of content. The book is available as softcover and e-book from the publisher here.

December 15, 2023

DIJ Newsletter Winter 2023/24

In the winter issue of our DIJ Newsletter we introduce new team members, guests, and publications. We also report on two Alumni meetings as well as on a selection of our recent academic and outreach activities. 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 our Newsletters directly to your inbox. The full issues and subscription form are available here.

December 12, 2023

Now Open Access: book publication ‘Research into Japanese Society’ co-edited by Sebastian Polak-Rottmann


How can researchers conduct fieldwork during a pandemic? And how can students contribute actively to the collaborative production of knowledge? The new open access publication Research into Japanese society: Reflections from three projects involving students as researchers during the COVID-19 pandemic (University of Vienna 2023), co-edited by Antonia Miserka and DIJ’s Sebastian Polak-Rottmann, collects three group projects from Sophia University, the University of Vienna and FU Berlin that involve students as researchers at different stages in their academic lives. In all three cases, students actively participated in gathering data for a group project and reflected on their experiences. The volume also demonstrates how research in a team can be conducted, albeit in an adjusted manner, during a pandemic. The fifteen contributions include a chapter co-authored by Sebastian and DIJ alumnus Hanno Jentzsch (“Rural spaces, remote methods—the virtual Aso Winter Field School 2022”) and a conversation between Sebastian and John W. Traphagan (University of Texas at Austin) on his book Cosmopolitan Rurality, Depopulation, and Entrepreneurial Ecosystems in 21st-Century Japan.

December 7, 2023

Sebastian Polak-Rottmann untersucht gute Orte des Älterwerdens in Japan

© archithese

Die japanische Gesellschaft ist bekannt für ihre hohe Lebenserwartung und die steigende Zahl älterer Menschen. Aber was sind gute Orte des Älterwerdens? Für die Schweizer Architekturzeitschrift Archithese hat DIJ-Forscher Sebastian Polak-Rottmann (zusammen mit Victoria Schweyer und Jana Wunderlich) einen Blick auf Möglichkeiten für lebenswertes Wohnen im Alter und attraktive Arbeitsumgebungen im Pflegesektor im ländlichen Japan geworfen. Ihr Artikel “Gute Orte für das Alter: Bestandsrevitalisierung für eine kommunenbasierte Altenpflege” untersucht, wie die wachsende Alterung der Bevölkerung die architektonischen und sozialen Strukturen beeinflusst; welche Verantwortung Politik und Gesellschaft bei der Bewältigung dieser Herausforderungen tragen; an welchen Orten wir alt werden wollen. Der Beitrag stellt u.a. multifunktionale und integrative Care-Einrichtungen vor, in denen die Pflege älterer Menschen in das Gemeinschaftsleben der Nachbarschaft eingebettet ist und schwellenlose Begegnungen und Aktivitäten möglich sind. Er ist ein Ergebnis des Forschungsprojektes Handlungen der Resilienz ergänzen: Die Auswirkungen des demographischen Wandels auf kommunale Aktivitäten und zivilgesellschaftliches Engagement. Details zum Japan-Themenheft der Zeitschrift finden Sie hier

November 16, 2023

David M. Malitz analyses Japan’s diplomatic reaction to the war in the Middle East

Screenshot IPS

The online journal International Politics and Society (IPS) has published an article by DIJ researcher David M. Malitz analysing Japan’s diplomatic reaction to the war in the Middle East. In “Guardians of the international order”, David explains that some of the criticism Japan has received for its cautious response to the war is undeserved. As he writes, it would “be wrong to play up or misinterpret why Japan did not sign the ‘Joint Statement on Israel’ with Germany, the United Kingdom, France, Italy and the United States on 9 October. Japan could not back the phrase ‘our countries will support Israel in its efforts to defend itself’ because its law prohibits exporting weapons.” Notwithstanding, high-ranking Japanese diplomats condemned the ‘terror attacks’ by Hamas and ‘expressed solidarity with the Israeli people’. “Japan has again demonstrated that it shares the same values and that its main concern is maintaining the rules-based international order”, David concludes. The article is also available in German here.


November 3, 2023

Torsten Weber bespricht Nationalmuseum für Japanische Geschichte

© transcript

DIJ Historiker Torsten Weber hat für die neueste Ausgabe der Geschichtszeitschrift Werkstatt Geschichte (Vol. 31, No. 88) die Dauerausstellung des Nationalmuseums für Japanische Geschichte in Sakura (Chiba) besprochen. In “Vielfalt als Nationalgeschichte. Das japanische Rekihaku Museum” erklärt er die Entstehungsgeschichte des Museums, sein pädagogisches Konzept und die wichtigsten Exponate der sechs Abteilungen. Das Museum, das 2023 sein 40-jähriges Bestehen feiert, zeichne sich vor allem durch seinen Fokus auf Alltagsgeschichte, innerjapanische Diversität des historischen Erlebens sowie transnationale Verbindungen japanischer Geschichte in Ostasien aus. Außerdem reflektiere die Dauerausstellung zur Geschichte Japans von der Prähistorie bis zur Gegenwart den aktuellen Forschungsstand und adressiere auch offene Forschungsfragen. Darüber hinaus biete sie durch Film, Musik, zahlreiche “Science Lab”-Stationen und eine Tempelschule zum Mitlernen Einblicke in die Arbeit der Kuratoren sowie abwechslungsreiche pädagogische Elemente. Der Ausstellung gelinge es, stereotype Simplifizierungen zu vermeiden und präsentiere “die Geschichte Japans fast komplett ohne einen expliziten Fokus auf die Nation”.

October 31, 2023

Co-authored book chapter by Nora Kottmann examines Japanese singles and solo-life

© Routledge

The average age of first marriage in Japan has steadily increased over the last century, as has the likelihood of never marrying, for both women and men. In conjunction with the decline in average length of marriage, these trends indicate that Japanese people are spending more of their lives singles, in the sense of being legally unmarried. Against this background, the chapter “Japanese Singles and Solo-Life”, co-authored by Laura Dales and former DIJ researcher Nora Kottmann discusses the implications of singlehood and the ways that being single and solo activities (sorokatsu) have been framed and re-framed in the wake of the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic. The authors explore the possibilities for belonging, as well as marginality, in singlehood at a time when intimate and relational practices are shaped by the proscription of the ‘3 Cs’ (closed spaces, crowds, and close-contact situations). The chapter was published in Singular Selves: An Introduction to Singles Studies (Routledge India 2024), edited by Ketaki Chowkhani and Craig Wynne.

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    Call for Submissions

    Contemporary Japan
    current issue Vol. 36, No.1
    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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    Our monograph series is Open Access Open Access after a one-year embargo period. Downloads are available on our
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    DIJ Tokyo
    Jochi Kioizaka Bldg. 2F
    7-1 Kioicho Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo
    102-0094 Japan
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    +81 (0)3 3222-5077
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    DIJ-ARI Asian Infrastructures Research Partnership