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Deutsches Institut für Japanstudien
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25. June 2021

Understanding ‘Self-responsibility’ in Japan – New DIJ Monograph

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Hostages in war zones, nuclear refugees from Fukushima, and workers in precarious conditions: all have been assigned personal responsibility for their situation by the Japanese word jikosekinin. The term – literally translated as “self-responsibility” – has become a keyword in contemporary Japanese society. But what does jikosekinin mean and how was the term established in the Japanese language? This study (in German) by Laura Blecken examines this multi-faceted concept by combining methods of conceptual history and discourse analysis with tools from the digital humanities. It traces the word back to its roots and creates a model for its different meanings through which various discourses converge. Finally, the study investigates how jikosekinin is used today by analyzing almost 40,000 blog posts. The latest volume in the DIJ Monographs Series examines the omnipresence of jikosekinin in everyday life and its role between traditional moral values and the impact of global neoliberalism. Details, including summaries of the book in English and Japanese, can be found here