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Deutsches Institut für Japanstudien

Cosima Wagner

Japanese Studies / History
Since February 2006
(PhD Students, February 22, 2006 - April 30, 2006)
  • Postwar object history and social change in Japan
  • Postwar everyday life and consumption history of Japan
  • Japanese pop and consumer culture in Asia

Dissertation project:

 Object history
and social change in Japan after 1945 with regard to household and
entertainment robots

Research on the history of objects is a relatively new scientific field
in the western scholarly community on Japan. In my dissertation project
I attempt to apply the object-history approach of the German Professor
of Design History Wolfgang Ruppert (University of Arts, Berlin) on the
history of the household and entertainment robots in Japan, in order to
illustrate the interrelationship between the emergence of consumer
electronic products and social change in postwar Japan.
In this approach objects are understood as carriers of a
“cultural code” in a certain society under certain
conditions. In my dissertation project I will analyze the
“cultural code” of robots in Japan with the
following questions in mind: What were the milestones on
Japan’s way to the “robot kingdom” (Frank
L. Schodt 1988)? Where are the differences between Japan and other
high-industrialized countries regarding the use of robots? Which
„cultural code“ can be deciphered from an household
pet robot? In which way does it reflect the economic, intellectual and
social modernization of Japan in the 20th and 21st century? Who are the
promoters of the „robotization“ of the Japanese
A special regard will be given to the emerging role of entertainment
robots for the fast aging population of Japan as well.

Other activities:
Together with Prof. Dr. Hilaria Gössmann (Trier), Dr. Annette
Schad-Seifert (DIJ Tôkyô) and Prof. Dr. Evelyn
Schulz (Munich) supervision of the section „culture and media
studies“ of the German Association for Social Sciences
Research on Japan (VSJF).

Secretary of the registered association „japonet
e.V.“, Berlin.