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Deutsches Institut für Japanstudien
Mediated Social Touch. Interdisciplinary Exploration of Digital Touch to Connect Humans


OAG Hall ドイツ文化会館 Akasaka, Tokyo (only Symposium on October 18)

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Please register below to participate in the symposium on 18 October.

    Registration for the International Symposium on 18th October 2023 in the OAG Hall (Akasaka, Tokyo).

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      Mediated Social Touch. Interdisciplinary Exploration of Digital Touch to Connect Humans

      October 15 - October 18, 2023

      The aim of this interdisciplinary and exploratory project at the intersection of social science, neuroscience, haptics and computer science/AI is to gain a comprehensive, multi-perspective understanding of the status quo, and the potential of mediated social touch (MST) for connecting humans in a digitalized world (human–machine–human interaction). What is/can be the (future) role of MST for “proximity at distance”, for social inclusion and societal participation in the context of the increasing digitalization and diversification of Japanese and German societies?

      The project centers around a three-day internal workshop (October 15-17) in Hakone and a public symposium (October 18) at the OAG Hall in Akasaka, Tokyo. Experts and practitioners will discuss topics such as diversity & inclusion, social haptics/social touch, ELSI (Ethical, Legal and Social Issues) and design.

      Tentative Program of the Public Symposium (October 18)

      14:30-15:00 Doors open + mini exhibit

      15:00-15:10 Opening notes and welcome, “Japanese-German Collaborations”

      DFG Office Japan, German Institute for Japanese Studies (Franz Waldenberger)

      15:10-15:20 Conclusions from the workshop

      Kōta Minamizawa, Nora Kottmann, Sakura Yamamura

      15:20-17:00 Talk sessions

      speakers (in alphabetical order)

      Frank Flemish (RWTH Aachen): A human factors and human systems integration perspective on digital touch to connect humans

      Asa Itō (Future of Humanity Research Center, Institute of Innovative Research, Tokyo Institute of Technology): title TBA

      Mark Paterson (University of Pittsburgh): The neuroscience of ‘slow’ social touch: what does this mean for robots?

      Anna Spiegel (Universität Paderborn, Germany): The ambivalence of social touch. Insights from sociology and migration research

      Yoshihiro Tanaka (Nagoya Institute of Technology): title TBA

      Junji Watanabe (Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Corporations – NTT): title TBA


      17:00-18:00 Panel discussion
      Moderators: Kōta Minamizawa, Nora Kottmann, Sakura Yamamura

      18:00-19:00 Reception + mini exhibit (Foyer)

      Jan Wertel & Gernot Oberfell (WertelOberfell)

      KMD Embodied Media Project

      Foundations of Digital Embodied Economics

      The workshop and the symposium bring together experts and practitioners from the social sciences (sociology and geography), psychology, neuroscience, haptics research, engineering, and (industry) design. The project is funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG) and the Japanese Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS) as part of the Japanese-German bilateral ‘Initiation of International Collaboration’-Program.

      Main Organizers:

      Japan (JSPS): Kōta Minamizawa (Keio University Graduate School of Media Design)

      Germany (DFG): Nora Kottmann (German Institute for Japanese Studies) and Sakura Yamamura (RWTH Aachen)

      In collaboration with Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS), Grant-in-Aid for Transformative Research Areas (B), Foundations of Digital Embodied Economics and Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (German Research Foundation, DFG, project number 519370372).