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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

February 3, 2021

Blog posts introduce survey on unmarried adults in Japan

© Nora Kottmann

Being single is an increasingly common experience for Japanese adults. Not only has the average age at first marriage risen continuously over the last decades, so too has the rate of permanent singlehood. Research on the unmarried is therefore critical to an understanding of contemporary Japanese society. DIJ social scientist Nora Kottmann and Laura Dales (University of Western Australia) are currently conducting a survey that aims to better understand how the lives and relationship worlds of unmarried adults (‘singles’) have been affected by the ongoing COVID-19 Coronavirus pandemic and how this might affect future practices and perceptions of the increasing numbers of ‘singles’ in Japan (and beyond). Both researchers introduce this survey in their recent co-authored blog posts ‘Solo-camping and solo-hotpots: Rethinking practices and perceptions of singlehood in Japan in COVID-time’ and ‘Looking to capture practices of intimacy in times of social distancing: Mixed-methods research on singles in Japan’. Updates will be published on the project’s webpage.

February 5, 2021

Free access to highlight article from Asian Business & Management

© Springer Nature Limited 2019

An article co-authored by DIJ director Franz Waldenberger was selected by Palgrave Macmillan and the editorial team of the Asian Business & Management journal as best content and can now be accessed for free. The original article “The distinctiveness and diversity of entrepreneurial ecosystems in China, Japan, and South Korea: an exploratory analysis” by DIJ alumni Martin Hemmert and Florian Kohlbacher, Adam R. Cross, Ying Cheng, Jae‑Jin Kim, Masahiro Kotosaka, Franz Waldenberger, and Leven J. Zheng studies five major ecosystems located in Tokyo, Seoul, Beijing, Suzhou, and Chongqing. It focuses on the business conditions for information technology (IT) start-ups and reveals that these entrepreneurial ecosystems differ in various important aspects from leading Western counterparts, including in the growth and internationalization. It concludes that public policy should focus on supporting high-potential start-ups and strengthening the ecosystems’ global outreach. The article is an outcome of the DIJ research project Start-ups in Asia – the role of agglomerations and international linkages and can be accessed here.

February 1, 2021

New working paper on ‘Unconventional Monetary Policy’

©Markus Heckel/Kiyohiko G. Nishimura

A new working paper, co-authored by Senior Research Fellow Markus Heckel and Kiyohiko G. Nishimura (Graduate Institute for Policy Studies GRIPS/Center for Advanced Research in Finance CARF, University of Tokyo) examines the unconventional monetary policies of the Bank of Japan from 2002 to 2019 with a focus on open market operations. The CARF working paper Unconventional Monetary Policy through Open Market Operations: A Principal Component Analysis applies a principal component analysis to investigate the complexity of the operations. The authors find that four principal components (PCs) explain most of the variance of the Bank of Japan’s operations of various facilities and measures. They also observe that open market operations of the Shirakawa era (2008-2013) were the most complex, resulting in an increased number of PCs. In contrast, the corresponding number in the other eras has been at most two (Fukui, 2003-2008) and four (Kuroda, 2013-present). This paper is a result of Markus’ research project Economic Discourses of Monetary Policy – The Case of the Bank of Japan.

January 21, 2021

Review of special issue on Max Weber by Yufei Zhou


Max Weber’s popularity in Japan remains unbroken. To mark the 100th anniversary of his death, the prestigious intellectual journal Gendai Shisō (現代思想) has published a special issue (12/2020) dedicated to his works and intellectual influence. Leading Japanese intellectuals and Weber scholars have contributed 24 essays to this issue, including Mishima Ken’ichi (“Disenchantment Reconsidered”), Suzuki Masahiro (“Weber in Contemporary Chinese Thought”), and Konno Hajime (“Imagining Max Weber as a Prophet”). For the Max Weber Foundation’s blog “Max Weber in der Welt”, our Senior Research Fellow and historian Yufei Zhou has written a detailed review of this special issue which introduces the individual contributions.

December 22, 2020

First issue of electronic DIJ Newsletter published

Newsletter screenshot © DIJ

After 23 years, the DIJ has replaced its print edition of the DIJ Newsletter with a new, email format. Most sections from our print version remain but we have also added some new ones, such as ‘DIJ in the Media’, ‘Alumni News’, and ‘Social Media’. The new format enables us to share more information on our recent research and publication activities with you more directly and more frequently. Also new in this issue: you will find links to information on our DIJ webpages in German, Japanese, and English whenever content in these languages is available. We hope you will enjoy exploring this new DIJ Newsletter and the selection of activities and output of the DIJ and its researchers during the past months.
If you would like to receive the next issue of our newsletter in your inbox, please subscribe here.

December 21, 2020

New Publication: Routledge Handbook of Contemporary Japan

Book cover ©Routledge

DIJ Director Franz Waldenberger has contributed the chapter “The Japanese Economy” to the recently published Routledge Handbook of Contemporary Japan, edited by Hiroko Takeda and Mark Williams. The chapter analyzes the development of the Japanese economy over the last 40 years. It covers the advantages of Japan’s institutional set-up in the 1980s, the burst of Japan’s ‘bubble economy’, the  so-called ‘lost decades’ of low growth and recession as well as recent government initiatives to stimulate productivity growth with corporate governance and ‘work-style’ reforms. The chapter also contains an outlook on future developments. In addition to the challenges posed by the global pandemic, climate change, and digital transformation, they are characterized by unprecedented demographic change, a deflationary environment and huge government debt supported by an extreme expansion of the monetary base.

December 18, 2020

Handbook Studying Japan published

Flyer © Nomos Verlag

Studying Japan. Handbook of Research Designs, Fieldwork and Methods (Nomos 2020), edited by Nora Kottmann and Cornelia Reiher, is the first comprehensive guide to qualitative methods, research designs and fieldwork in social science research on Japan. More than 70 Japan scholars from around the world provide an easy-to-read overview of qualitative methods used in research on Japan’s society, politics, culture and history. The book covers the entire research process from the outset to the completion of a thesis, paper, or book. The authors give basic introductions to individual methods, discuss their experiences when applying these methods and highlight current trends in research on Japan. The authors include DIJ researchers Isaac Gagné, Sonja Ganseforth, Markus Heckel, Barbara Holthus, and Franz Waldenberger as well as DIJ alumni Verena Blechinger-Talcott, Steffen Heinrich, Carola Hommerich, Katharina Hülsmann, Hanno Jentzsch, Susanne Klien, Annette Schad-Seifert, Kai Schulze, Gabi Vogt, Cosima Wagner, Anna Wiemann, and Urs Matthias Zachmann. The book can be purchased from the publisher.

November 5, 2020

New DIJ Miscellanea The Digital Transformation published

The term digital transformation (DT) has become omnipresent in our personal, social, economic, political, cultural, and academic lives. What are the implications of DT for the social sciences and humanities? This new volume of our DIJ Miscellanea series approaches DT by exploring technological developments and methodology, research data and infrastructure, new research objects and perspectives as well as shifting boundaries of the social sciences and humanities. The publication is the outcome of the workshop “The Digital Transformation – Implications for the Social Sciences and the Humanities” at the DIJ in September 2019. Co-organized by the Nippon Institute for Research Advancement (NIRA) and the German Centre for Research and Innovation Tokyo (DWIH), it brought together scholars from Japan and abroad. The volume consists of ten chapters, including one each by DIJ social scientist Susanne Brucksch (“Insights into the Digital Transformation From the Fields of Medicine and Healthcare in Japan”) and the co-editors Harald Kümmerle (“Postscript: Comparative and historical perspectives on the digital transformation”) and Franz Waldenberger (“Knowledge production and the role of SSH in the digital age”). It is available for free download here

Upcoming Events

June 23, 2021
  • DIJ Lecture Series Gender & Sexuality
    19:30 ~ 21:00

    Croft, Quiet, and Kantai Collection: Female Bodies in Japanese Videogames

June 25, 2021
  • Workshop
    16:00 ~ 20:00

    Technology & Society in Japan and Beyond

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’

Thank you to everyone who joined yesterday's JDZB/DIJ panel discussion & book talk 'Recovery Games under the Mask' with papers by @SGanseforth @barbGhawaii @stenweber @AxelPKlein @Japan_research. Special thanks to our fantastic ... moderator @AlastairGale and the JDZB @julia_muench

DIJ researcher @kott_no will present her latest research on "Expatriate women, trailing husbands and negotiations of interfamilial power" at the International Society for Ethnology and Folklore Congress #SIEF2021 on June 23. Congress starts... tomorrow!

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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. 1
Contemporary Japan is open year-round for rolling submissions, with accepted publications published immediately online. Please see the instructions for submission here.