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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 9, 2020

Journal article on dislocation and social isolation in post-3.11 Japan

© Isaac Gagné

What happens when temporary shelters become permanent homes? What are the psychosocial impacts of prolonged dislocation, and how might these effects be mitigated through grassroots community activities? Based on fieldwork and interviews with residents in temporary housing and volunteer support groups in northeastern Japan, Isaac Gagné’s new article “Dislocation, Social Isolation, and the Politics of Recovery in Post-Disaster Japan” (Transcultural Psychiatry) analyzes the ongoing challenges of delayed recovery and chronic dislocation among survivors of the March 11, 2011 disaster in Japan. Focusing on Natori City, Miyagi Prefecture, Isaac examines how the complexity of the disaster-recovery process within the local politics of the region has produced new tensions, creating a particular “zoned liminality” for displaced residents while undermining the social nexus of community relations. The article also reflects on challenges in treating the psychosocial trauma among survivors, and how their needs are addressed through new citizen-based volunteer movements.

September 12, 2020

New book chapter on women in Düsseldorf’s food community

A new book chapter by Nora Kottmann addresses life choices of Japanese women who live and work abroad. Focusing on women employed in Japanese culinary locales in a quarter called ‘Little Tokyo’ in the German city of Düsseldorf, it asks: Why do these women choose to work in the Japanese food service sector? What role do Düsseldorf’s Japanese community and the respective foodscape play in these women’s decision to move? Findings reveal that the choice of employment is mostly pragmatic and rarely the main reason for moving abroad. However, work in the food sector can serve as an opportunity to accomplish the dream of being in charge of one’s own life. The chapter “Japanese women on the move: Working in and (not) belonging to Düsseldorf’s Japanese (food) community” is part of the volume Food identities at Home and on the Move (edited by Raúl Matta, Charles-Édouard de Suremain, Chantal Crenn).

September 7, 2020

New DIJ Miscellanea Venezianische Wahrheiten (in German)

© Florian Coulmas

Japan and Italy have many things in common. Both are rich, industrialised countries with a long cultural tradition that is held in high esteem worldwide. People in both countries enjoy a longer life than almost anywhere else in the world. For both countries, the processes of ageing and population shrinkage are challenges with diverse social, economic, and political facets. But Japan and Italy also differ in many respects, e.g. in social conventions, etiquette, work ethics and everyday behaviour. These similarities and differences make a comparison attractive. Former DIJ director Florian Coulmas has recorded his observations, insights, and experiences during a semester he spent at the University of Venice Ca’ Foscari in the new publication Venezianische Wahrheiten. Japanische Lektionen in der Stadt Marco Polos (in German). The booklet is published as volume 20 in the DIJ Miscellanea series and available for download here.

August 24, 2020

Journal article on agenda-cutting as a neglected media phenomenon

© Yosuke Buchmeier

The journal Journalism Studies has published a new article by our PhD fellow Yosuke Buchmeier on agenda-cutting as a neglected media phenomenon. While agenda-setting has developed into one of the leading concepts in communication studies, “agenda-cutting” – a media phenomenon that can be observed when a relevant issue is de-emphasized, entirely omitted or removed from a news agenda – has so far remained a theoretical blind spot. Based on observations from Japan, Yosuke’s paper “Towards a Conceptualization and Operationalization of Agenda-Cutting: A Research Agenda for a Neglected Media Phenomenon” proposes agenda-cutting as a result of media’s anticipatory obedience and self-censorship. It argues that the non-reflected, tacit assumption of agenda-cutting as a by-concept to agenda-setting represents one cause for its theoretical neglect. This paper aims to initiate a scholarly debate by establishing conceptual common ground and proposing a research direction for what the author considers an unduly neglected media phenomenon. Available open access here

August 23, 2020

Barbara Holthus reviews Aaron Skabelund’s Empire of dogs

“The book on the history of (dog) culture is situated in the crosshairs of culture, history, modernity, society, and animals, and therefore makes for a rare and eye-opening account of the times. […] Skabelund does a great job showing how the construction of human races and animal breeds are interrelated and interwoven.” Barbara Holthus‘ book review of Aaron Herald Skabelund’s Empire of dogs. Canines, Japan, and the making of the modern imperial world (Cornell University Press, 2019) has just been published online first in Contemporary Japan. Details

August 20, 2020

New book chapter on gender gap in social movement participation

Differences in female and male participation in demonstrations (p. 123)

DIJ deputy director Barbara Holthus has co-authored with Naoto Higuchi (Waseda University) a chapter on the gender gap in social movement participation. Their chapter “Demo sanka ni meguru jendā gyappu” (in Japanese) is based on a survey conducted among close to 80.000 Japanese on their social movement sympathies, mobilization and participation patterns, as well as their environmental concerns, personal values, and political views. It shows that participation, concerns, and views are significantly gendered. This large-scale data set allows to give statistical proof and support to many of the previous existing studies, which to the most part until now had been qualitative in nature. The chapter is part of a volume on post-3.11 social movements, co-edited by Naoto Higuchi and Mitsuru Matsutani, and published by Chikumashobo (Tokyo 2020). Details (in Japanese)

July 24, 2020

Japan and the Tokyo Olympics: Author Interviews on DIJ YouTube channel

On July 24, 2020, more than one billion people worldwide were expected to watch the opening ceremony of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. What was supposed to be a glorious year for Japan, 2020 instead catapulted the world into a pandemic, sees the Olympic Games postponed and their future for Tokyo uncertain. Despite its postponement and potential cancellation, the build-up to the 2020 Olympic Games has already had a major impact on Tokyo, Japan, and the many stakeholders in government, business, and society involved. The publication Japan Through the Lens of the Tokyo Olympics (Routledge 2020) explains this multifaceted impact and is available open access (free download). To learn more about the book’s chapters you can watch interviews with our authors on the new DIJ YouTube channel. The playlist will be updated periodically. In the first episode, main editor and DIJ deputy director Barbara Holthus introduces the book and her own chapter on volunteering.

June 30, 2020

New issue of DIJ Newsletter published

The latest issue of our DIJ Newsletter features reflections on the impact of COVID-19 on Japan and Japanese Studies, summarizes our first web forum on the pandemic in Germany and Japan, and introduces a new DIJ research project on Digital Transformation as well as a book publication on the Olympic Games. We also congratulate one of our colleagues on the receipt of a prestigious award, give an update on recent publications, and announce recent personnel changes  in our “Staff News” section.
Visit our DIJ Newsletter webpage to download the most recent issue or to order your free print copy.

Upcoming Events

April 19, 2021
  • Conference (online), Day 1
    ~ April 20, 2021

    Climate Change, Energy, and Sustainability in the Pacific Region

April 20, 2021
  • Conference (online), Day 2
    18:00 ~ 22:00

    Climate Change, Energy, and Sustainability in the Pacific Region

April 21, 2021
  • Conference (online), Day 3
    ~ April 22, 2021

    Climate Change, Energy, and Sustainability in the Pacific Region

April 22, 2021
  • Conference (online), Day 4
    14:00 ~ 21:30

    Climate Change, Energy, and Sustainability in the Pacific Region

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. If you would like to visit our library’s book exhibition “10 Years after 3.11”, please contact our library via email (

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’

Eine neue Ära der US-japanischen Beziehungen? Zum heutigen Treffen von Joe Biden und Yoshihide Suga kommentiert DIJ Historiker @stenweber die Rolle Chinas sowie die Chancen einer Wertepartnerschaft zwischen Japan und 'dem Westen' ... @abc4japan @dwnews

You can still register for our online conference 'Climate Change, Energy & Sustainability in the Pacific Region: Knowledge, Policies, and Transfers (1970s–Present)', 19-22 April. Updated programme & registration ... @GHIWashington #DHIMoskau #KnowledgeUnbound

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Special Project:
Tokyo Olympics

“Japan through the lens of the Tokyo Olympics”

For more information see our
→ project page.

Conference Announcement

Interdisciplinary Conference “Climate Change, Energy, and Sustainability in the Pacific Region. Knowledge, Policies, and Transfers (1970s – Present)”, online, 19-20 April 2021

See details on our → conference page.

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.