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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


Working mums have it tough in Japan – creating Instagram-worthy, healthy lunches is one of many pressures they say they face

Barbara Holthus was interviewed for BBC on the continuing importance of mothers for providing lunch bento boxes to their children.



ANNOUNCEMENT: Business and Management Environment of Technology Intensive Startups in the Far East (a collaborative research by universities in Japan, PR-China, and ROK with the German Institute for Japanese Studies (DIJ))

Fujisawa, October 8, 2019 — IBER-Kotosaka of Keio University announced today that it will be collaborating with the German Institute for Japanese Studies (DIJ) to conduct a survey on the business and management environment of technology intensive startups in Japan.

This research project is a collaboration between not just Keio University and DIJ, but along with researchers from Korea University, Hoseo University, Xi’an Jiaotong-Liverpool University, and Chongqing University

The objective of this research will be to gain a deep understanding of the startup ecosystem in the Far East. This will be achieved through carrying out surveys in Japan, the People’s Republic of China (China), and the Republic of Korea (ROK).

This research is aided by the Grants-in-Aid for Scientific Research Program (reg, 18k12847) by the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science, which is overseen the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology of Japan.

The findings of this research will only be used for academic purposes. Furthermore, a non-public final report of this study (which will include survey results from China and ROK) will be provided to those who contribute to the survey.

※ Organizations that are subject to this research will receive an email shortly
※ Qualified organizations will be randomly selected
※ The first deadline for the survey response is October 31, 2019
※ All responses will be strictly anonymous, and will only be subject to be used for statistical purposes

Below is a study that was conducted on an identical topic, which was published to Asian Business and Management
If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact us to the directory provided below.


The German Institute for Japanese Studies:
01. – 31. Oktober 2019

120. Geburtstag von Yasunari Kawabata

Im Jahr 2019 feiern wir den 120. Geburtstag des japanischen Literaturnobelpreisträgers Yasunari Kawabata (1899–1972).

Zu diesem Ereignis stellen die International House of Japan Library, die Bibliothèque de la Maison franco-japonaise und die Bibliothek des Deutschen Instituts für Japanstudien Werke von und über Kawabata in englischer, deutscher und französischer Sprache aus.

September 24 – September 25, 2019

The Digital Transformation – Implications for the Social Sciences and the Humanities

The two-day academic workshop – jointly organized by the German Institute for Japanese Studies (DIJ), the German Centre for Research and Innovation Tokyo (DWIH Tokyo) and the Nippon Institute for Research Advancement (NIRA) – discussed the impact of DT on the social sciences and humanities with regard to three subtopics.

It first addressed the impact of DT for research questions and research design. What questions do we need to ask and how can we make best use of DT in the way we conduct research? Second, it elaborated the possible implications of DT with regard to the dissemination of research outcomes. Finally, it considered how DT might change the organization and institutional set-up of academia. Who will conduct research? Where will it be conducted? Will disciplinary boundaries remain relevant?

October 24, 2019

Environmental Local Scales: Women’s Writing in Northern Tōhoku, Present to Postwar

Public and academic interest in literature from Japan’s rural north culminated in consecutive Akutagawa Prizes awarded to Numata Shinsuke, Wakatake Chisako, and Takahashi Hiroki in 2017 and 2018. Despite mainstream success, however, the bulk of literature published by Tōhoku writers in minor or independent magazines remains unexplored.

This talk will explore women’s writing published in northern Tōhoku in the present moment and trace legacies of local print culture from the mid-1940s. It will introduce the print history of regional women’s magazines, as well as explore the fiction and essays of women writers that are rarely included in literary histories of the period. Tōhoku writers critiqued the gender politics of the postwar moment, reconfiguring what it means to scale literature to the region or the nation. Reviewing the history of rural literary production and gendered politics of democratization uncovers legacies that connect the postwar moment to our conceptualization of regional space and literary production in Japan’s peripheries today.

Eric Siercks, University of California

October 31, 2019

A New Era of Immigration? Japan’s Guest Worker Programs in Comparative Perspective

With around 1.5 million foreign workers and over a million permanent and long-term foreign residents, Japan is experiencing unprecedented levels of immigration. In 2019 three new residence statuses were added to the Immigration Control Act. Furthermore, the government promises to foster social integration by strengthening Japanese language education and providing public services in multiple languages. But access to non-temporary or even permanent resident is highly selective.

Focusing on the recent additions to Japan’s immigration control legislation, Naoto Higuchi identifies a shift from a preferential treatment of foreigners based on “blood ties” to a neoliberal model based on meritocracy. The new residence categories “Specified Skills 1 & 2” enable immigration authorities to select migrants and determine their rights and length of stay based on performance, gauged by language ability and skill acquisition. In contrast, the newly prepared visa status for fourth-generation Nikkeijin looks — at first glance — like a continuation of immigration based on ethnic selection criteria. Yet, the government changed its policy to exclude Nikkeijin from social integration by limiting their stay to maximum five-years, and the road to permanent residence is becoming increasingly based on meritocratic selection criteria. The new movements raise interesting puzzles for exploring the future of migration to Japan.

Naoto Higuchi, Tokushima University
Kristin Surak, University of London

November 7, 2019

Leadership in a Digital World: 
Innovative – Human – Collaborative

Today’s working environment is heavily driven by dynamic digitalization, but leadership is more than just a digital investment. It requires leaders to build and foster meaningful relationships, understand and implement new technologies, as well as build a meaningful culture of innovation.

The workshop offers a glimpse into our research with case studies from our global partners and assists participants in exchanging experiences and innovative ideas on their personal leadership behavior. Prof. Dr. Sabine Remdisch will talk about digital leadership and the new skillset of the future leader. Christian Otto will give an in-depth look into the importance success factors of integrating new technologies into leadership.

Sabine Remdisch, Leuphana University, Lüneburg
Christian Otto, Leuphana University, Lüneburg

November 21, 2019

Image(-Text) correlations in the works of Natsume Sōseki

Even though the first publications of Natsume Sōseki’s (1867–1916) works were illustrated and had visual elements, the research on Sōseki focuses mostly just on the text. Nevertheless, Sōseki’s entire oeuvre shows from the beginning to the end a deep but shifting image-text relation that has to be introduced and placed into the historical context, taking the artists (Natori Shunsen, Noda Kyūho, Asai Chū, Hashiguchi Goyō, Nakamura Fusetsu, and Tsuda Seifū), publication type (newspaper, book, pocketbook) and genre into consideration. This approach can thereby identify a network of artists and intellectuals, as well as places and visual ideas.

My presentation aims to give an overview of the material and the illustrations, while also analyzing particular image and text examples, thereby giving Sōseki also a visual standing in the discourse about Modernity and the Fin de Siècle.

Kevin Schumacher, University of Munich / DIJ

Upcoming Events

October 24, 2019
  • DIJ History & Humanities Study Group
    18:30 ~ 20:30

    Environmental Local Scales: Women’s Writing in Northern Tōhoku, Present to Postwar

October 31, 2019
  • DIJ Forum
    18:30 ~ 20:00

    A New Era of Immigration? Japan’s Guest Worker Programs in Comparative Perspective

November 7, 2019
  • Workshops
    17:00 ~ 19:00

    Leadership in a Digital World: 
Innovative – Human – Collaborative

November 21, 2019
  • DIJ History & Humanities Study Group
    18:30 ~ 20:30

    Image(-Text) correlations in the works of Natsume Sōseki

Project: Tokyo Olympics

“Japan through the lens of the Tokyo Olympics”

More information available on our
→ project page.

Monograph Series

The DIJ’s monograph series is now
Open Access Open Access.

Downloads are available directly on our
→ monograph pages.

Please Note: Volumes become open access one year after publication.

DIJ 30th Anniversary

Anniversary Event

In October 2018 we celebrated the DIJ’s foundation 30 years ago — with lots of inspiring speeches and fruitful conversations.

→ Event page

Anniversary Booklet

“30 Years Interdisciplinary Research on Site. 1988 – 2018”

Our anniversary booklet gives an overview of the past 30 years here at the DIJ.
Available for download now!

→ Publication page

Call for Papers

Contemporary Japan
Issue 33, No. 1
until February 1, 2020


DIJ Monographien, Volume 62

DIJ Monographien, Volume 62

“Parental well-being. Satisfaction with work, family life, and family policy in Germany and Japan”
— by Barbara Holthus and Hans Bertram


Barbara Holthus's Twitter avatar
Barbara Holthus
@barbGhawaii A nice report on the practice of bento boxes in Japan: the pressure on mothers is slow to change.

Retweeted by DIJ Tokyo
DIJ Tokyo's Twitter avatar
DIJ Tokyo

Upcoming! 💡🔜 #DIJForum: "A New Era of Immigration? Japan’s Guest Worker Programs in Comparative Perspective" 👤 Sp…

Torsten Weber's Twitter avatar
Torsten Weber

How does digital transformation affect academic research and our social, political, economic, and cultural life? Tw…

Retweeted by DIJ Tokyo