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Deutsches Institut für Japanstudien

About us

We are a German research institute based in Tokyo. Our institute was founded in 1988 and, in 2002, became part of the Max Weber Foundation – German Humanities Institutes Abroad (DGIA), funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research. Our research focuses on modern Japan in a global context. We decide our research agenda independently, with the support of our Scientific Advisory Council.

Mission statement

Research on Japan from Japan

Our mission is to enhance knowledge and understanding of modern Japanese society, economy, politics and culture, as well as Japan’s international relations, by applying and advancing methods and theories from both the humanities and the social sciences. Comparative perspectives as well as multi- and interdisciplinary approaches are central to our research activities.

Japan is the focus of our research because of the country’s historic, economic and geopolitical significance. Today, Japan is confronted with the task of finding solutions to social, economic and political challenges – challenges that other countries, including Germany, are also facing. These fundamental transformations tend to happen faster in Japan than elsewhere, causing particularly serious adjustment issues and an urgent pressure to act.

Our local presence facilitates access to primary sources and allows us to directly contact researchers, decision-makers and other actors in Japan. This enables us to investigate complex issues and current developments through our own surveys and field research in a timely manner and on a continuous basis.

Developing young scholars

We place great importance on the qualification and career development of young scholars in the social sciences and humanities specializing in Japan. For a period between two to five years, we offer our in-house senior research fellows the opportunity to initiate and carry out innovative research projects needed to establish themselves in their respective academic fields at an international level. Furthermore, we support doctoral students with residential scholarships that allow them to conduct their research for a period of up to one year at our institute in Tokyo.

Disseminating knowledge about Japan

Based on our research, we share knowledge about Japan not only among experts in academia, but also with decision-makers both in Japan and overseas, as well as with the interested public. We thus aim to promote a better understanding of current developments and pressing issues in Japan, and to contribute to potential approaches and solutions. We disseminate our insights via publications, presentations, events and briefings.

Building networks

Networking and collaborating with researchers and research institutions in Japan and abroad extend the scope of our research, add to the quality and visibility of our work and help our senior research fellows to establish themselves in their respective academic field at an international level.

Foundation Council

  • Representatives of the Federal Government
  • Stifterverband für die Deutsche Wissenschaft
  • Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG)
  • Max Planck Society
  • Alexander von Humboldt Foundation
  • Representatives of the Advisory Boards
  • Chairman:
    Prof. Dr. Hans van Ess

Advisory Board

  • Prof. Dr. Moritz Bälz
    Goethe-Universität Frankfurt,
    Rechtswissenschaft
  • Prof. Dr. Verena Blechinger-Talcott
    Freie Universität Berlin,
    Japanese Studies
  • Prof. Dr. Sebastian Conrad
    Freie Universität Berlin,
    Friedrich Meinecke Institute of History
  • Prof. Dr. Dietmar Harhoff
    Max-Planck-Institut for Innovation and Competition
  • Prof. Dr. Toshiko Himeoka
    The University of Tokyo,
    Graduate School of Humanities and Sociology
  • Prof. Dr. Seigo Hirowatari
    Senshu University Tokyo,
    School of Law
  • Prof. Dr. Ulrike Schaede
    University of California San Diego,
    International Relations and Pacific Studies
  • Prof. Dr. Evelyn Schulz
    LMU Munich,
    Japanese Studies