Interdisciplinary Japanese Studies On Site

DIJ Newsletter 71

Spring 2023

Screenshot 2023-03-21 at 11-02-47 Front Page - Deutsches Institut für Japanstudien
Welcome to the Spring 2023 issue!
Two weeks ago, the Japan Meteorological Agency declared this year's hanami (cherry blossom viewing) season open for Tokyo. This year is now tied with the years 2020 and 2021 as record-breaking for early blossoming since official records began in 1953. The rule for declaring kaika (open blossoms) is at least 5 opened blossoms of a sakura tree on the grounds of the Yasukuni Shrine in central Tokyo. On March 14, the meteorologists had already counted eleven, so nothing stood in the way of the official announcement.
The DIJ has also had an early and busy start to the year 2023 with three conferences on local Japan, digital humanities, and AI (reports below), several Study Group sessions, briefings of visitors, and conference participations by its researchers. In these first three months of the year, we have also welcomed already three visiting scholars and one new PhD student (see below). Currently we are preparing the Max Weber Foundation Conference 'Transnational Research in a Multipolar World', co-organized with Sophia University, to be held in Tokyo in May (details below). Also in this edition of the DIJ Newsletter: a new Catchword (temaedori), Alumni news, information on new and forthcoming publications as well as a selection of our recent academic and outreach activities.
We hope you will enjoy exploring this edition of the DIJ Newsletter. If you haven't yet done so, you can subscribe to receive it directly to your inbox here. We also welcome your feedback and updates to your email address via email to newsletter@dijtokyo.org
From all of us at the DIJ, we wish you an enjoyable hanami season, wherever you are!
Torsten Weber

Research News ・Neues aus der Forschung ・研究活動ニュース

20230218_172555 spr

Photo © Sebastian Polak-Rottmann

Activities of Resilience in Local Japan
Social connections are not only important for mental and physical well-being in daily life. They are also an important resource during crises, such as natural disasters. But how can the fewer and older populations in Japan's rural communities remain socially connected? Sebastian Polak-Rottmann's new research project Supplementing activities of resilience: The impact of demographic change on local activities and civic engagement analyzes strategies for promoting acts of resilience in local communities to understand how activists, civil society and welfare organizations create places of social exchange and strengthen mutual aid in the communities.

New Publication Gerade erschienen 新刊

2023 cover literature after fukushima

Cover © Routledge

Edited Volume Literature after Fukushima
This publication examines how aesthetic representation contributes to a critical understanding of the 3.11 triple disaster – the Great East Japan earthquake, tsunami, and meltdowns at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant in 2011. Based on key works from the 3.11 literature the book explores how the disaster reframed discourses in trauma studies, eco-criticism, regional identity, food safety, civil society, and beyond. Literature after Fukushima is the first English-language book to provide an in-depth analysis of a wide range of representative literature on post-3.11 and its social ramifications. It is co-edited by Linda Flores and DIJ's Barbara Geilhorn.
Recent journal articles and book chapters by DIJ researchers include:

Forthcoming Publication ・Erscheint in Kürze ・ 近刊

2023 BZJ-50_Front_final_s.png spr research into japanese society cover

Cover © Japanologie Wien

New Book Research into Japanese Society
This book collects three group research projects involving students from Sophia University, the University of Vienna, and FU Berlin. In all three cases, students as researchers actively participated in gathering data and reflected on their experiences. The volume shows that students, rather than being mere receivers of knowledge, may also actively contribute to academic research and be part of the collaborative production of knowledge. It also demonstrates how research in a team can be conducted, albeit in an adjusted manner, during the ongoing pandemic. The volume is forthcoming in the University of Vienna's Beiträge zur Japanologie series and co-edited by Antonia Miserka and DIJ's Sebastian Polak-Rottmann.

Upcoming Event Kommende Veranstaltung今後のイベント

MWS Tokyo

Poster © MWS

MWS Conference 'Transnational Research'
On May 8 and 9, the DIJ together with Sophia University Graduate School of Global Studies will host the Max Weber Foundation conference Transnational Research in a Multipolar World. In five panel sessions it will discuss the impact of the growing geopolitical tensions on transnational research with a particular focus on the limitations to free scientific research in autocratic regimes. It will also take a look at how national research organizations and universities have responded to these challenges. The second day will look at research on and in Eastern Europe, the Middle East, and the Indo-Pacific. The conference will close with a keynote speech by Iokibe Kaoru (University of Tokyo) on world history made in Japan.

Library News ・ Aus der Bibliothek図書室ニュース

共同展示森鴎外チラシ dt mai

Poster © I-House/DIJ

Joint Book Exhibition on Mori Ōgai
The year 2022 marked both the 160th anniversary of the birth and the 100th anniversary of the death of Mori Ōgai, who is considered one of the greatest modern Japanese novelists. To celebrate both anniversaries, throughout the month of March the International House of Japan Library, the Bibliothèque de la Maison franco-japonaise, and the DIJ's library are displaying translations of Ōgai’s works and critical studies in English, French, and German. The exhibition at the DIJ's library is open until May 15. For further information, please contact each library.

DIJ News Aus dem DIJ研究所ニュース

2023.2.23 fw bonn podium cr

Photo © MWS/Laura Gaksch

Panel Discusses Future of 'Small Subjects'
On the occasion of the presidential change at the Max Weber Foundation (MWS), DIJ director Franz Waldenberger participated in the panel discussion "Small subjects big time? Challenges for the Humanities in the 21st Century". He was joined by Andreas Eckert (HU Berlin), departing MWS president Hans van Ess, and Judith Pfeiffer (Bonn). At the reception that followed, Hans van Ess and incoming MWS president Ute Frevert were given a ceremonial farewell and welcome, respectively, with speeches by state secretary Sabine Döring, deputy chair of the MWS council Elke Seefried, as well as Martin Baumeister (GHI Rome) and Simone Lässig (GHI Washington) as representatives of the institutes' directorate assembly.
2023.3 dt jap parlamentarier dij cr

Photo © DIJ

German Parliamentarians Visit DIJ
On March 8, a delegation of the German-Japanese Parliamentary Group visited the DIJ to learn about Japan's fiscal policy, Tokyo's Olympic legacy, demographic change, and Abenomics. The delegation comprised the members of Bundestag Gereon Bollmann, Daniel Föst, Erhard Grundl, Andreas Lenz, and the group's chairman Michael Müller. The photo shows our guests together with DIJ director Franz Waldenberger, deputy director Barbara Holthus, administrative director Elisabeth Köller, and senior research fellow David M. Malitz.
goezen photo

Photo © private

Visiting Researchers at the DIJ
Jiré Emine Gözen, Professor of Media and Cultural Theory (University of Europe for Applied Sciences), is currently visiting the DIJ as Scholar in Residence. Her research is devoted to discourses on the future, post-humanism, and singularity in literature, art, and film; visual culture and the construction of masculinity; mimicry in popular culture, politics, and academia; and artistic practices of cultural memory. At the DIJ she is connected to the research cluster Digital Transformation – Discourses, Strategies and Processes, working on narratives about AI, robots, and the future in art and literature as a method of knowledge production. In January and February, the DIJ hosted Andreas Fickers and Freyja van den Boom as visiting scholars.
Philippe Bürgin

Photo © private

DIJ Welcomes New PhD Student
Philippe Bürgin, doctoral student in the field of Aesthetics at the State University of Fine Arts Stuttgart, has joined the DIJ as a PhD student in March 2023. The main focus of his doctoral thesis is on the Kantian aesthetics of the sublime as a systematic paradigm of aesthetic experiences. His research project at the DIJ studies those Japanese art forms in which aesthetic experiences of liminality can be spelled out. Here, the sublime can be used as a systematic template to discuss this liminality. These include the wabi-sabi in tea ceremony and dry horticulture or the yūgen in Nō theatre.

Past Events Vergangene Veranstaltungen最近のイベント

regionenprojekte karte


Conference on DIJ's Regional Japan Focus
Demographic shifts, depopulation, structural change, climate protection: these challenges have particularly grave implications in Japan's non-metropolitan regions. On March 7, the one-day conference Local Self-organization and Civic Engagement in Regional Japan addressed these and related issues by presenting results from the multidisciplinary projects conducted within the DIJ's research focus The Future of Local Communities in Japan (2015-22). They were complemented with presentations by prominent Japanese scholars in the field. The DIJ continues to study these and related issues in the new research cluster Sustainability and resilience.
human machina interaction panel discussion


Panel on AI & Human-Machine Interaction
On March 27, six researchers based in Japan and Germany met at the DIJ to discuss psycho-social aspects of human-machine interaction as well as their ethical, legal, and socio-political implications. Drawing on perspectives from technological development, psychology, philosophy, social sciences, literature, and art studies, the panel discussion Human-Machine Interaction and Responsibility tackled questions of rights and responsibilities when collaborating with machines and AI. The event was jointly organized by the DFG (German Research Foundation), DWIH Tokyo (German Centre for Research and Innovation Tokyo), and the DIJ. It was moderated by DIJ’s Celia Spoden.
workshop fickers slide

Slide © A. Fickers

Workshop on Epistemic Virtues for DH
In January, the international workshop The Integrative Potential of Epistemic Virtues for the Digital Humanities (DH) brought together eleven scholars at the DIJ to discuss the role of epistemic virtues for DH scholarship. One particularly focus was on intercultural contact zones and non-Western perspectives in order to embrace the heterogeneity of DH. The three-day workshop included multidisciplinary perspectives from linguistics, literary studies, history, and philosophy. It was organized by DIJ's Harald Kümmerle.

DIJ in the Media ・ In den Medienメディアで知るDIJ

2023-02-03 japantimes Japanese nationals living abroad

Screenshot © Japan Times

DIJ Expertise in Japanese and Swiss Media
Barbara Holthus recently contributed to a radio report and newspaper article on demographic developments in Japan: for Swiss radio SRF4, she commented on the fact that while the fertility rate in Japan continues to sink, a record number of pets was purchased. "Many of the owners in Japan see their pet as a member of the family", Barbara is quoted. For a Japan Times article on the record number of Japanese nationals living abroad, Barbara explained that more than 60% of those were women and that a contributing factor was their greater openness to experiencing a life overseas.

Alumni News Unsere Ehemaligen DIJ 同窓会

japan und dann das podcast logo

© Japan und dann das

DIJ Alumni Collaborate for Japan Podcast
In the latest episode of the Japan und dann das: podcast Tobias Weiss, associate professor at Sophia University, explains the mechanisms behind media reporting biases in the aftermath of the Fukushima nuclear disaster of 2011. As a PhD student at the DIJ in 2015, Weiss had undertaken research for his doctoral project on the portrayal of nuclear power in Japanese journalism and the factors that influence it. Japan und dann das: is the only German language academic podcast on Japan and is managed by DIJ alumnus and professor of political science at the University of Duisburg-Essen, Axel Klein (Senior Research Fellow, 2007-11).
If you are part of the growing group of DIJ alumni and have recently published a book or have any other news to share with us, please contact us via newsletter@dijtokyo.org

CatchwordAktueller Begriff 流行語


Poster © Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries

Temaedori to Fight Food Loss and Waste
According to recent figures, the annual amount of food disposed in Japan amounted to more than 5 million tons. To fight food loss and waste, the government and many businesses are encouraging consumers to practice temaedori ー take products from the front line of shelves instead of picking from the back. In this edition of our Catchword series, DIJ economist Markus Heckel explains the concept as part of Japan's manifold attempts to implement the Sustainable Development Goals.

Social Media Soziale Medienソーシャルメディア

Screenshot 2023-03-06 at 16-43-45 (6) German Institute for Japanese Studies (DIJ) Tokyo My Company LinkedIn

Screenshot © LinkedIn

Follow the DIJ on LinkedIn
Expanding our social media and outreach activities, the DIJ is now also active on LinkedIn. If you are one of the network's 900 million members and more than 130 million daily users, please connect with the DIJ and its currently 225 followers to stay in touch with DIJ staff, researchers, alumni, friends, and affiliates. Our posts will also keep you instantly updated on the latest DIJ research and publication activities.
youtube twitter website linkedin