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Deutsches Institut für Japanstudien

Franziska John

Japanese Studies, Physics
(PhD Students, July 1, 2013 - December 31, 2013)

Research focus:

History of technology, energy, scholars bound by complaisance

PhD Project:

Working title: From Pikadon to Pluto-kun. Nuclear physic(ist)s and the consensus about the “peaceful uses” of nuclear energy in Japan.

Following the nuclear catastrophe in the nuclear power plant Fukushima Daiichi in consequence of the great earthquake of March 11 2011, the question why Japan holds 54 nuclear reactors despite the ubiquitous risk of earthquakes occurred. Therefore the main research interest of this dissertation project revolves around the question how nuclear energy was established in Japan, despite the high activity of earthquakes and the traumatic experience of the bomb drop over Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Therefore the focus will be especially on the role of scientist, or more precise, nuclear scientists and their acting in the historical context. The aim of the work is the revelation of the role played by the physicists during the implementation process of political and economic purposes in the population.


To achieve the mentioned goal a multi-method approach had to be chosen. Initially the historical context will be reconstructed via the analysis of library and archive materials. After conducting qualitative expert interviews to get an inside view the Actor-Network-Theory should be applied.