English publications

Here you can find book publications by our staff members in English:

Tagsold, Christian (2017): Spaces in Translation. Japanese Gardens and the West. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press.

One may visit famous gardens in Tokyo, Kyoto, or Osaka—or one may visit Japanese-styled gardens in New York, San Francisco, Philadelphia, Berlin, London, Paris, São Paulo, or Singapore. We often view these gardens as representative of the essence of Japanese culture. Christian Tagsold argues, however, that the idea of the Japanese garden has less do to with Japan's history and traditions, and more to do with its interactions with the West.

The first Japanese gardens in the West appeared at the world's fairs in Vienna in 1873 and Philadelphia in 1876 and others soon appeared in museums, garden expositions, the estates of the wealthy, and public parks. By the end of the nineteenth century, the Japanese garden, described as mystical and attuned to nature, had usurped the popularity of the Chinese garden, so prevalent in the eighteenth century. While Japan sponsored the creation of some gardens in a series of acts of cultural diplomacy, the Japanese style was interpreted and promulgated by Europeans and Americans as well. But the fashion for Japanese gardens would decline in inverse relation to the rise of Japanese militarism in the 1930s, their rehabilitation coming in the years following World War II, with the rise of the Zen meditation garden style that has come to dominate the Japanese garden in the West.

Tagsold has visited over eighty gardens in ten countries with an eye to questioning how these places signify Japan in non-Japanese geographical and cultural contexts. He ponders their history, the reasons for their popularity, and their connections to geopolitical events, explores their shifting aesthetic, and analyzes those elements which convince visitors that these gardens are "authentic." He concludes that a constant process of cultural translation between Japanese and Western experts and commentators marked these spaces as expressions of otherness, creating an idea of the Orient and its distinction from the West.

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Germer, Andrea; Mackie, Vera; Woehr, Ulrike (Ed.) (2014): Gender, Nation and State in Modern Japan. London: Routledge.

Gender, Nation and State in Modern Japan makes a unique contribution to the international literature on the formation of modern nation–states in its focus on the gendering of the modern Japanese nation-state from the late nineteenth century to the present. References to gender relations are deeply embedded in the historical concepts of nation and nationalism, and in the related symbols, metaphors and arguments. Moreover, the development of the binary opposition between masculinity and femininity and the development of the modern nation-state are processes which occurred simultaneously. They were the product of a shift from a stratified, hereditary class society to a functionally-differentiated social body. This volume includes the work of an international group of scholars from Japan, the United States, Australia and Germany, which in many cases appears in English for the first time. It provides an interdisciplinary perspective on the formation of the modern Japanese nation–state, including comparative perspectives from research on the formation of the modern nation–state in Europe, thus bringing research on Japan into a transnational dialogue. This volume will be of interest in the fields of modern Japanese history, gender studies, political science and comparative studies of nationalism.

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Niehaus, Andreas; Tagsold, Christian (Hg.) (2012): Sport, Memory and Nationhood in Japan: Remembering the Glory Days. London: Routledge.

This book clarifies and verifies the role sport has as an alternative marker in understanding and mapping memory in Japan, by applying the concept of lieux de memoire (realms of memory) to sport in Japan. Japanese history and national construction have not been short of sports landmarks since the end of the nineteenth century. Western-style sports were introduced into Japan in order to modernize the country and develop a culture of consciousness about bodies resembling that of the Western world. Japan's modernization has been a process of embracing Western thought and culture while at the same time attempting to establish what distinguishes Japan from the West.

In this context, sports functioned as sites of contested identities and memories. The Olympics, baseball and soccer have produced memories in Japan, but so too have martial arts, which by their very name signify an attempt to create traditions beyond Western sports. Because modern sports form bodies of modern citizens and, at the same time, offer countless opportunities for competition with other nations, they provide an excellent ground for testing and contesting national identifications. By revealing some of the key realms of memory in the Japanese field of sports, this book shows how memories and counter-memories of (sport) moments, places, and heroes constitute an inventory for identity. This book was originally published as a special issue of Sport in Society.


Schad-Seifert, Annette; Shimada, Shingo (Hg.) (2010): Demographic Change in Japan and the EU. Düsseldorf: Düsseldorf University Press.

This volume contains selected papers of the 2008 annual conference of the German Association for Social Science Research on Japan (Vereinigung für sozialwissenschaftliche Japanforschung e.V. VSJF). The academic meeting has addressed the issue of demographic change in Japan in comparison to the social developments of ageing in Germany and other member states of the European Union. The conference was organized by the Institute for Modern Japanese Studies at Heinrich-Heine-University of Duesseldorf and took place at the Mutter Haus in Kaiserswerth (an ancient part of Duesseldorf).

Speakers from Germany, England, Japan and the Netherlands presented their papers in four sessions on the topics Demographic Trends and Social Analysis, Family and Welfare Policies, Ageing Society and the Organization of Households and Demographic Change and the Economy. Central to all transnational and national studies on demographic change is the question of how societies can be reconstructed and be made adaptive to these changes in order to survive as solidarity communities. The authors of this volume attend to this question by discussing on recent trends of social and economic restructuring and giving insight into new research developments such as in the area of households and housing, family care work, medical insurance, robot technology or the employment sector.

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