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Deutsches Institut für Japanstudien






Wielding Toxic Discourse: Insanity in the Nuclear Narratives of Chernobyl and Fukushima

Environmental scholar Lawrence Buell defined toxic discourse as a mode of writing that expresses “anxiety arising from a perceived threat of environmental hazard” (2003, 30-31). Fictional works from the Chernobyl and Fukushima nuclear accidents feature characters who appear to be mentally unstable because of this anxiety. Rather than their insanity discrediting them in the eyes of the nuclear industry, this presentation draws inspiration from Buell to consider how insanity can be used by victims of nuclear disasters to claim authority through toxic discourse by crafting narratives of resistance. One of the most controversial images stemming from nuclear disasters is of people who remain in highly irradiated areas unfit for human habitation. In novels by Kimura Yūsuke (Sacred Cesium Ground and Isa’s Deluge) and Alina Bronsky (Baba Dunja’s Last Love), the so-called insanity of these characters allows them to comment critically on the postdisaster situation, specifically the evaluation of risk and the bankruptcy of credibility. They provide insightful voices of resistance to the narratives of containment and safety perpetuated by the government and nuclear industry. The presentation ends with a consideration of actual residents in contaminated zones in Kamanaka Hitomi’s documentary Little Voices from Fukushima.

Rachel DiNitto, University of Oregon



過去 10 年間で、日本で報告されている移住労働者の数は 3 倍以上に増え、2018 年には約 150 万人に達しました。日本への海外からの移住と、それに伴う就労希望の外国人の増加は、これまで歴史上無かったことで す。政治家や学者としては、この数字が何を意味するのか、今何が起きているのか、なぜ、どのように、を知る必要があります。ここでは政治学の観点、及び日本国内外の観点から、この問題を取り上げます。



Renewable Energy in Germany and Japan – Prospects for the Citizen Energy Movement

Citizen energy, known as “Bürgerenergie”, forms a major pillar of the transition to renewable energies (RE) in Germany. From as early as the 1990s German citizens pioneered in in solar and wind power or biomass energy projects and invested into RE as individual households, companies or as members within more than 900 energy cooperatives. Similarly, though less known, Japan as well has a long-established vibrant citizen energy movement, also referred to as “community power”. While initially focusing on building RE capacity, a growing number of citizen energy companies ventured into direct marketing of “green energy”.

The shift from a feed-in-tariff (FIT) to a feed-in-premium (FIP) and auction scheme, the institutional framework for grid integration, the deregulation of electricity markets, but also the changing social acceptance of RE and the ecological consciousness among the wider public present major challenges for citizen energy projects and their business models. Highlighting differences in the regulatory environment and public opinion, our speakers will be comparing the development of citizen energy in Germany and Japan. Despite differences, the citizen energy movement in both countries is presently challenged by tighter regulations for RE, growing local resistance to RE projects, and barriers to market integration. At the same time, direct markets for “green energy” are underdeveloped in Japan and, albeit more developed, contribute little to the expansion of renewables in Germany. Eiji Oishi will comment the discussion from a practitioner and business point of view.

Carsten Herbes, Nuertingen-Geislingen University, Germany
Jörg Raupach-Sumiya, Ritsumeikan University, Osaka
Eiji Oishi, Minna Denryoku, Tokyo


– 市民社会と協働した人文・社会科学研究の可能性 –




Universities in the Digital Age

Japan’s and Germany’s ambitious national frameworks of Society 5.0 and Industry 4.0 acknowledge the importance of education and research as key success factors in the digital transformation. Universities are not only to develop the necessary human capital and to contribute to technological advances, they are also to play key roles with regard to social inclusion and life-long learning. To do so, they are expected to deepen and widen cross-organizational and international cooperation. Last, but not least they are urged to adjust their core activities of teaching, research and administration to take advantage of new digital technologies. How are universities in Germany and Japan responding to these challenges? How do they see themselves affected? What strategies do they pursue? Our two speakers are best suited to answer these questions based on their leading positions and professional careers in higher education and research institutions in Germany and Japan.

Bernd Huber, President of Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München
Miho Funamori, Strategy Manager at the Research Center for Open Science and Data Platform at National Institute of Informatics


The Mountains Belong to Everybody? Conflicts about Recreational Forest Use in Austria and Japan

Recreational outdoor sports, such as hiking, mountain biking, and trail running are enjoying increased popularity in Japan and worldwide. Proponents argue that these activities contribute to physical and mental health on the one hand and bring about economic and social benefits for rural areas on the other. At the same time there are concerns of over-use and environmental degradation. Focusing on mountain biking, Prof. Yuichiro Hirano and Prof. Wolfram Manzenreiter will be comparing the current situation in Austria and Japan and try to line out possible futures for sustainable outdoor tourism that benefits rural areas and protect the environment equally.

Yuichiro Hirano, Forestry and Forest Products Research Institute, Tsukuba
Wolfram Manzenreiter, University of Vienna


DIJ Newsletter 59 published

Report: Diversity and productivity – Japan’s employment system at the crossroads
Many advanced economies have to cope with increased global competition and fast technological change while being confronted with a rapidly ageing workforce. For all of them, basically the same solutions apply: increasing the labor participation of women and elderly persons, hiring more foreign workers, investing in education and training, and advancing the automation of production and services. The common key variables underlying or addressed by these measures are diversity and productivity.

New Era: Japan’s new era has a name: Reiwa
It was no April Fool’s Day joke: on April 1st, chief cabinet secretary Yoshihide Suga announced Reiwa as the new Japanese nengō (also gengō). On May 1st, 2019, the new Emperor Naruhito has ascended the throne on under this new era name which could be translated as “Rule Japan” or “administered peace”.

DFG-funded Research Project: Nanjing War Diaries
When Japanese troops in autumn 1937 advanced to the Chinese capital of Nanjing, the German representative of the Siemens Company, John Rabe (1882-1950), decided to remain in the city.


Contemporary Japanese Theatre Workshop

This workshop investigates recent themes and issues in contemporary Japanese theatre. Themes that will be discussed include regional theatre, theatre and community, the role of the avantgarde and contemporary challenges. We consider some of the urgent issues that Japanese theatre is addressing today. Featuring a mix of presentations by senior scholars and new voices in the field, this workshop is open to everyone interested in theatre in the contemporary world. Presentations are in English.

Barbara Geilhorn


  • DIJ 人文科学・歴史研究会
    18:30 ~ 20:30

    Wielding Toxic Discourse: Insanity in the Nuclear Narratives of Chernobyl and Fukushima

  • シンポジウム・会議
    09:00 ~ 18:00


  • DIJ フォーラム
    18:30 ~ 20:30

    Renewable Energy in Germany and Japan - Prospects for the Citizen Energy Movement

  • シンポジウム・会議
    ~ whole day event ~


  • DIJ フォーラム
    18:30 ~ 20:30

    Universities in the Digital Age



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.

Join Us!

Das Institut sucht zu Beginn des Jahres 2020 eine Mitarbeiterin / einen Mitarbeiter (PDF, 68 KB).

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 32, No. 2
until August 1, 2019

Contemporary Japan
Special Issue
until July 31, 2019


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


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Upcoming! 💡🔜 #DIJForum: "Renewable Energy in Germany and Japan - Prospects for the Citizen Energy Movement" 👤 Spe…

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💡🔜 Upcoming conference! "The Politics of Migration in Japan" ✍️ Info & free registration: 🌐…

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💡🔜 シンポジウム・会議! 「日本における国際移住と政治・政策」 ✍️ お申し込み: 🌐

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