Neues vom JSPS-Club 04/2021



Travel restrictions for scientists

by Chairman Prof. Dr. Heinrich Menkhaus

I was supposed to train a German at my university chair as of January 1st, 2022 for three months. He successfully passed his first state exam in law in Germany and currently does his obligatory legal practice training there, which eventually enables him to apply for the second state exam in law, required to become a fully qualified lawyer. Due to the complete stop of immigration of foreigners to Japan, effective as of early December 2021, he could not make it into Japan, although quite some efforts on his side and on the side of my university had been necessary for the preparation of his stay. Fortunately, he was able to find a separate training institution in Germany at short notice.

The complete immigration stop was arranged to keep the omicron variant of the corona virus, which had vigorously spread in some countries, including Germany, out of Japan. But, of course, due to legal reasons, Japanese citizens could not be barred at the Japanese border and some coming home to spend the year-end holiday season with their families, proved to be infected and spread the virus in Japan anyway. The American military personnel in Japan, being partly changed at the end of the year, added to the problem. This was not only due to the legal extraterritoriality principle according to which the US Military personnel in Japan is not bound by Japanese law. But, as was disclosed later by the Japanese government, the US Military was following the contents of a document received from the Japanese government in September 2021, saying that personnel could enter Japan without prior COVID-19 negative test infection certificate. In the end, the blockade at the border therefore proved not to be successful. The current high infection rates in Japan are an obvious proof.

I would therefore like to come back to my former editorial under the title “Corona and its Consequences II” where I raised the question if immigration restrictions should include scientists. Let me repeat the basic arguments. It is said that science is the driving force behind a soaring economy. Although I am not happy with this argument, because it denies the independence of science, if it is right, the free movement of scientists should not be restricted. Secondly, the number of scientists moving between states is very limited, even if they do not come alone but bring their families. Small numbers of people, however, can easily be checked and supervised by immigration personnel. Thirdly, a lockout of scientists has consequences. I am afraid that scientists who spent time for preparation going abroad and are finally denied entry might shun the country they were invited to altogether in the future, because it once turned out not to be reliable. Thereby damage to the scientific development can be the result. It is of course not by accident that the Japanese wording “sakoku”, closed country, which was used as a political instrument from about 1639 to 1854 by Japan, is used again specially in the foreign community residing in Japan. Actually, some scientists could enter even under the current restrictions, but that again raises a different question, namely the equality of people guaranteed by the constitution.

In my personal case, I should add that only a very small number of German lawyers comes to Japan to do legal training. The reason is the language. Law is a social science and this can effectively be understood only with a good knowledge of the spoken and written language of the host country. Therefore, every opportunity should be granted to young students and practitioners of law to study the Japanese language. This can best be done in Japan itself. If promising youngsters are barred from this experience, the necessary comparative legal approach cannot be conducted and bilateral investments cannot be guided effectively by lawyers well versed in the two affected legal systems.



The 10th Club Meeting in Japan

by Chairman Prof. Dr. Heinrich Menkhaus

The number of members of the Club studying, training or working in Japan has increased over the years. This is not only true for Japanese members, who studied, trained or worked in the German speaking area, but also for German speaking scientists. The board of the Club therefore decided 10 years ago to have an annual event in Japan, called “Club Meeting”. Usually the Club Meeting is hosted by one of the Club members at his place of work or by an institutional member the Club enjoys to have in Japan. In the last two years the Club, however, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, could not organize a Club Meeting in the traditional way of a personal get-together. Instead, the representative of the Club in Japan, the author of this text, was asked to arrange a ZOOM meeting.

The ZOOM meeting of 2021 had a highly popular subject, namely the COVID-19 pandemic. As, due to the Club tradition, a topic always has to be looked at from different disciplines of science and preferably by members of the Club, it was decided that one speaker should touch upon the natural science aspects of the pandemic and the other with a view from social science. Selected were a representative of the medical faculty, Club member Beate Heissig, and a representative of legal faculty, the author.

Beate Heissig gave an overview of the history of the influenza virus epidemics and presented a number of scientific studies trying to explain the fact that the overall numbers of infections in Japan are much lower than in other countries. The underlying question is if there are genetic differences that could explain this phenomenon. One of the questions raised was the reason for the naming of the newest variant “omicron”, following the variant “delta”, because in the Greek alphabet the letter omicron is not following the letter delta.

The author presented the legal foundation of the handling of the pandemic so far and did this in particular from the viewpoint of the two constitutions. Both include human rights and the various attempts taken by Germany and Japan to stem the spread of the virus resulted in infringes of human rights. Basically, two problems were raised. Is the state required by law to protect especially the uninfected people by infringing their rights to freedom and to what extent does the state have to provide an effective medical environment to protect the human rights of infected and uninfected people?

The two presentations and the Q&A session are provided as a video to be found on the website of the Club under Events/Club Meeting in Japan.


Report on 3rd Workshop on Sustainable 
University Development with Focus on 
Education and Management
22nd Feb. 2020, ICU

by our member Dr. Eckhard Hitzer

Top image: attendants of session 1

As one of the moderators said, he first wondered what might be the relationship between education and management, but by the presentations in this workshop it became clear, that both are well connected.

Fig. 1: J. Mikulina (Executive Director Blue Planet Foundation Hawaii) and S. Harashina (President of Chiba Univ. of Commerce)

Fig. 2: Impression of session 1

In the morning Prof. S. Iwakiri (Dean of CLA, ICU) welcomed the audience followed by keynote speaker J. Mikulina from Hawaii’s Blue Planet Foundation (BPF). BPF has successfully lobbied Hawaii’s State Assembly to declare in 2015 that by 2045 Hawaii would become a 100% renewable energy (RE100) supplied state. Working out the scenario Hawaii’s utility soon found that they could achieve RE100 already by 2040.

Fig. 3: Panel discussion after session 1: moderator N. Miyazaki (ICU), S. Iwakiri (ICU), I. Ushiyama (Ashikaga University)

Elements of the campaign are teaching school classes, student energy summits, drawing rising water levels on pavement, a “We Are 100% RE” web campaign (including transport, efficiency, business, community, etc.), a “Hawaii Energy Report Card” website, a future picture drawing contest, newspaper editorials, etc. After succeeding, California, Nevada, New York, Washington, New Mexico and Puerto Rico all declared similar aims by 2045 or 2050. Costs tumble as the market grows and with new technologies: since 2015 the price per kWh of solar electricity with battery storage has nearly halved from 14 to 7 cents. Innovative concepts include seawater-cooling air conditioning, a third of all homes in Hawaii have solar roofs, utility scale energy storage (with TESLA technology) for covering peak electricity consumption, promotion of electric vehicles (that also provide flexible loads and storage). Challenges include community acceptance, combination with agriculture, and geothermal activities.

Next, Prof. S. Harashina of Chiba University of Commerce, the first Japanese university to achieve the 100% renewable energy supplied status, outlined the historical developments, actions taken by the university management and educational activities that contributed to this aim and illuminated further developments, like the aim to found a 100RE university league in Japan.

Finally, Prof. I. Ushiyama (Chair of BOT of Ashikaga University (AU), and founder of the Japan Wind Energy Association (JWEA) 42 years ago) gave an overview over the wide range of RE science and technology developments taking place at AU. Nowadays many graduate students from developing countries enrol at AU for learning about locally affordable and appropriate RE for their own countries. A lively panel discussion followed moderated by Prof. N. Miyazaki (ICU), including Prof. S. Iwakiri, Prof. S. Harashina and Prof. I. Ushiyama as participants.

In an expert luncheon speakers, university executives, organizers and interpretation volunteers enjoyed lively personal exchanges.

Fig. 4: H. Menkhaus (President of German JSPS Alumni Association)

In the first afternoon session, moderated by Prof. G.C. Kimura (Sophia University), Prof. H. Menkhaus (Meiji University, President of German JSPS Alumni Association) gave a greeting address on behalf of one of the SUDem2020 sponsors, the German JSPS Alumni Association, that has also helped to sponsor the previous two workshops SUDre2017 and SUDee2018. The first presentation in the afternoon was given by Prof. S. Okayama of the Chiba University Environmental ISO Secretariat. She explained the unique Chiba University Method in which a student NPO (with 200 members) continually assesses and consults the university on sustainability.

Students enter a 3-year course track and gradually become section leaders and take on increasing responsibility, are awarded credits, and acquire important social and business skills. Second, Ass. Prof. T. Ozasa of Hokkaido University and its Sustainability Office outlined methods for assessing the sustainability status of a university.

Fig. 5: Interpreters (R. Siriwardene far left, C. Okuyama far right), speakers (S. Okayama of Chiba University, T. Ozasa of Hokkaido University) and moderator (G.C. Kimura of Sophia University) of session 2

The panel discussion of session 2 included opinion exchange between the speakers and challenging questions from the audience, with comments on the fact that often student organizations aiming at sustainability struggle to ensure their own sustainable future continuation.

Fig. 6: Panelists, interpreters and moderator of session 3: N. Mori (Chiba University), R. Siriwardene, K. Kawasaki (Sophia University), Y. Saito (Toho University), M.E. Mori, T. Oikawa (ICU), S.M. Healy, Y. Hoshina (CUC), A. Takeuchi (moderator from Toho University), C. Okuyama

After a networking coffee break with chats between participants, speakers, volunteers, etc. session 3 started with an introduction to the “Student perspective: student expectations and challenges for sustainable education and management” by Prof. A. Takeuchi of Toho University. She was followed by five student speakers Mr. K. Kawasaki (Sophia University Environmental Association SEA), Mr. Taiga Oikawa (ICU’s SUSTENA club), Ms. Yuki Hoshina (CUC’s Student Organization for Natural Energy SONE), Ms. Yuki Saito (Toho Ecolution Club of Toho University) and Ms. Nichika Mori (Chiba University ISO Committee). SEA is a relatively new organization, SUSTENA introduced recyclable lunch packages but struggles with long term student participation, SONE actively researches further measures for energy efficiency (like super insulating windows), Toho Ecolution also consults local businesses, and the Chiba University ISO Committee of students works out proposals to the university management for increasing sustainability. Students and audience were deeply involved in the panel discussion concluding session 3.

After a short break the networking dinner concluded the evening. Rounds of personal conversations were interspersed with classical and Okinawan music by Prof. N. Miyazaki, Ms. Y. Sagi (Luther University) on renaissance flute and harp, respectively by Prof. M. Gillan (ICU) and his three talented students N. So, P. Reed and R. Michihata.

Fig. 7: JDS student volunteer Z.U. Khosa records presentation videos

A dedicated team of about 25 volunteers supported the workshop, nine of them highly skilled amateur (or near professional) interpreters, most of them ICU students or alumni and one student from Waseda University. One of the students had experience of a one-year interpreter job on Peace Boat, and one had even won a Grand Prix for simultaneous interpretation by students in a national contest in 2019.

This enabled us already two weeks after the workshop to edit and upload all presentations in two language versions to YouTube (access through the online workshop programs in English and Japanese).

We are deeply thankful to our main sponsor JICUF for their continued support of this ever more popular workshop series, this time we had over 150 people involved. Likewise, we humbly thank for the continued support of the German JSPS Alumni Association.

Fig. 8: Interpreters. Front (left to right): T. Imaizumi, R. Haruta (Grand Prix 2019), R. Michihata (coordinator), R. Siriwardene. Back (left to right): S. M. Healy, M.J. Suwasono (Waseda University), S. Inoue, M.E. Mori, C. Okuyama

Finally, some feedback we received. Volunteers commented: “Thank you for today!!! I had a really good experience and I could make many friends.”; “Thank you so much for giving me this opportunity. I enjoyed volunteering and made many friends.”; “It was great to be involved in the workshop yesterday. Thank you very much for organizing such a wonderful opportunity.”; “Thank you so much for mentoring and for giving me an opportunity to learn.” Speakers said: “Thank you very much for your efforts to hold such a fruitful workshop. Though, I had to leave after the morning session because of my obligation at my university, I could enjoy the workshop.”; “Congratulations for the success of the symposium. It was very nice for me to have such an occasion to attend it, and to get aware of the issues concerning the renewable energy. I hope it will make a good effect on (Y University), and onto the whole world.”; “Thank you for giving me this valuable opportunity at the SUDem Symposium. It was a very rich symposium, so I felt that day was very short.” A musician told us: “Thank you for inviting us to play at the event on Saturday. It was a great experience for the students, and looked like a fantastic event.” And one of the organizers pointed out: “This was a very well done and content rich workshop! The final notes (literally) were also most beautiful. Thank you very much for your extraordinary efforts! For (X University) this was a great impulse that we really need.”

All information on program, presentation files, presentation and panel discussion video access, music videos, preprints, etc. is available in English and Japanese via the workshop series blog:

We plan a printed proceedings volume with contributions from all three workshops SUDre2017, SUDee2018 and SUDem2020.

The workshop SUDem2020 was jointly organized by: Eckhard Hitzer (ICU), Yasushi Ito (CUC), Mark Langager (ICU), Nobuyuki Miyazaki (ICU), Takashi Kibe (ICU), Goro-Christoph Kimura (Sophia University), Momoko Mogi (Tokyo Kasei University), Masanori Shukuya (Tokyo City University), Joerg Raupach-Sumiya (Ritsumeikan University), Ayano Takeuchi (Toho University), Susumu Teshima (CUC).

(創世記 1:1, 口語訳)

(創世記 2:15, 口語訳)

“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.”
(Genesis 1:1, NKJV)

“And the Lord God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden
to dress it and to keep it.”
(Genesis 2:15, KJV)


German-Japanese relations face new 
challenges – climate change, transformation, 

by our board member Dr. Matthias Hofmann

Welcome speech of Consul General Asazuma (Source: Dr. Matthias Hofmann)

Panelists [left to right: Mr. Wagner, President of the German branch of Mitsubishi Electric Europe BV, Mr. Ueda, General Director of JETRO Düsseldorf, Prime Minister Dreyer, presenter Dr. Bosse, Consul General Asazuma and Dr. Heinricht, CEO of SCHOTT AG] (Source: Dr. Matthias Hofmann)

On November 2nd 2021, the State Chancellery of Rhineland-Palatinate and the Japanese Consulate General in Frankfurt am Main together held an event titled “Germany and Japan – Close Partners in a Changing World” on the occasion of the 160th anniversary of German-Japanese diplomatic relations in the former coat of arms hall of the Mainz state parliament.

In the opening speech, Prime Minister Malu Dreyer and Consul General Shinichi Asazuma emphasized the importance of cooperation between Japan and Germany, which are reliable partners with values that both face new global challenges. Both countries are important trading partners which share democratic and free-liberal values and support the existing multilateral order.

In a video message the governor of Iwate Prefecture, Governor Tasso, thanked the state government for the donations made after the Tohoku earthquake in 2011 and pointed to the imminent resurgence of areas in Rhineland-Palatinate affected by the floods in 2021. Rhineland-Palatinate and Iwate Prefecture have maintained friendly relations for over 20 years.

The following panel discussion was focused on the topics of “Climate Change, Transformation and Multilateralism”. Japan has made further commitments under the new government, which are even more hesitant than those of its European partners. The possibilities of industry and politics to reach those goals were openly discussed. In addition, Society 5.0 on the Japanese side and Industry 4.0 on the German side were in the focus of the open discussion panel. All panelists followed a substantive exchange of views on how Japan and Germany can continue to work together.

The panel was attended by Prime Minister Malu Dreyer and Consul General Shinichi Asazuma as well as Mr. Dai Ueda, General Director of JETRO Düsseldorf, Mr. Andreas Wagner, President of the German branch of Mitsubishi Electric Europe BV and Dr. Frank Heinricht, the CEO of SCHOTT AG. The panel was moderated by the renowned Japan expert and former secretary general of the JDZB Dr. Friederike Bosse.

For a special atmosphere during the event, members of the Villa Musica Rheinland-Pfalz performed pieces by Toshio Hosokawa, Mendelssohn and Beethoven, symbolizing the exchange between Japan and Germany.

After the panel discussion, there was an opportunity to meet with the other guests at a standing reception.

(All participants at the live event had to comply with the applicable COVID-19 restrictions [2G rules].)


Zoom Meeting on Japanese architecture in NRW

by our board member Prof. Dr. Katja Koelkebeck

Zoom talks (in German) on “Japanese architecture in NRW” / Area-Tag 2021 zum Thema „Japanische Architektur(einflüsse) in NRW“ on the 10th of November 2021. Alliance for Research on East Asia (Ruhr)


  • PD Dr. Beate Löffler: (TU Dortmund): “Architektonischer Kulturtransfer: Von Japan nach NRW” [Cultural Transfer in Architecture. From Japan to North Rhine-Westphalia]; Associate teacher, Chair of History and Theory of Architecture
  • Prof. Dr. Katja Schmidtpott (RUB): “Tange Kenzō, die Metabolisten und die Ruhr-Universität Bochum”, who is also a JSPS Club member Professur für Geschichte Japans, Dekanin der Fakultät für Ostasienwissenschaften

Dr. Löffler talked about Japanese pavilions for world exhibitions that attracted architectural attention and stimulated discussion among peers. Then she introduced two buildings in Cologne, the Japanese Culture Institute (JKI), built in 1969 by Ohashi, and the Museum of East Asian Art, built in 1977 by Maekawa. The German-Japanese Center from 1978, housing the Nikko Hotel in Duesseldorf, is another example of architectural culture transfer, as are many less known buildings realized by Takenaka Corp. Löffler referred as well to architectural experiments, such as Nishikawa’s buildings at Rocket Station Island Hombroich.

Left: University of Bochum, right: prefectural government office of Kagawa (Source: Wikipedia, Nakaful, Wikipedia, Chem Sim 2001)

Prof. Schmidtpott, our club member, mainly talked about the Ruhr-University Bochum, the biggest newly built university in Germany after WWII. It was designed in the 1960s by Hentrich, Petschnigg und Partner (HPP), architects from Düsseldorf. The faculty buildings were modelled after the prefectural government office of Kagawa prefecture in Takamatsu, built in 1958 by Tange Kenzo. This seems to be a very early transfer of contemporary Japanese architecture to the west, only a few years after the World Design Conference in Tokyo (1960), where the Metabolists, mentored by Tange, presented their work.

Interestingly, as identified in the discussion, several Metabolist buildings such as Nakagin Capsule Tower are doomed to be demolished. However, the visions of the Metabolists have rarely been realized in Japan, where only about 40 buildings exist, whereas larger structures were constructed abroad.


Zoom Meeting of the regional group 

by our board member Prof. Dr. Katja Koelkebeck

On the 17th of November 2021, the regional group Rhein/Ruhr hosted a Zoom meeting featuring the PhD student and Gerda Henkel Foundation fellow Konstantin Frederik Plett from HHU Düsseldorf. He was also born and raised in Düsseldorf, and finished his Bachelor and Master on Japan Studies in Düsseldorf. He stayed in Japan during his studies at Chiba University for one year funded by the DAAD. He presented data from his doctoral thesis on why Japan became a relevant metropolis for Japanese industry and Japanese life in Germany with one of the largest communities in Europe. Mr. Plett researched on the history of Düsseldorf and its Japanese community by interviews, literature search and traveling to Japan. In his presentation, he reviewed Japanese economic policies and identified factors of Düsseldorf as a relevant economic site in comparison to, e.g. Hamburg, where early Japanese communities were settled with a focus on the harbour as an advantageous position. Düsseldorf, after WWII, had an important advantage in heavy metal industry and in the years coming also developed an all-day Japanese school, which drew workers with children rather to Düsseldorf than other cities. In 1964 a Japanese Club and a first Japanese restaurant (Nippon-Kan) were opened, which also were founding steps to social activities integrating Japanese in common activities thus cared for the well-being of ex-pats. Today, Düsseldorf is still important to Japanese industry, (rather in the chemical sector), with other larger communities in Berlin, Frankfurt and Munich.

Eighteen members joined the meeting and the discussion was lively. In the discussion, between others, the present situation of Düsseldorf as a relevant site for economy was discussed with a view on future developments - specifically Düsseldorf’s policy on drawing Chinese companies to town seems to be viewed critically by Japanese economic players in Düsseldorf.


Akita-Freiberg University Partnership – 
Gedenken an Prof. Curt Adolph Netto und Erforschung der Zukunft – oder woher kommen die Weihnachtsbäume in Japan?

von Prof. Jörg Matschullat (Prorektor für Forschung) und unserem Mitglied Prof. Michael Reissig

Die Akita Universität in Japan und die Technische Universität Bergakademie Freiberg in Deutschland stehen gemeinsam für Ressourcenkompetenz und damit verbundene Forschung. Ausgehend von einem jungen Freiberger Professor und Kosmopoliten des 19. Jahrhunderts, der zu einer Drehscheibe für wissenschaftliche Expertise, aber auch für kulturelle Weisheit insbesondere zwischen Japan und Deutschland wurde, war das Kolloquium dem Thema „Technologien für den Klimaschutz“ und gemeinsamem Interesse gewidmet. Mehr als 100 junge und erfahrenere Wissenschaftler trafen sich virtuell unter der Schirmherrschaft der Deutschen Botschaft in Tokyo und des Deutschen Akademischen Austauschdienstes.

Vorträge von Mayuko Fukuyama, Stefanie Nagel und Ingrid Lange sowie den beiden Universitätspräsidenten Noboru Yoshimura und Klaus-Dieter Barbknecht beleuchteten die Rolle von Curt Adolph Netto für Universität und Gesellschaft. Dies war ein eindrucksvolles Beispiel für die mögliche positive Wirkung eines Einzelnen. Dass auch in Japan Weihnachten gefeiert wird, mit vielen deutschen Weihnachtsliedern und ähnlich geschmückten Nadelbäumen, geht auf die erste Weihnachtsfeier von Netto in der japanischen Präfektur Akita zurück. Wissenschaftlich profitierten beide Seiten von dieser ersten Begegnung und tun es weiterhin.

Die Professoren Olena Volkova, Satoru Yoshimura, Yvonne Joseph, Hidenobu Tokushige, Thomas Bier, Michihisa Fukumoto und Hartmut Krause präsentierten spannende Beispiele aus der technologischen Spitzenforschung für eine grüne Zukunft. Signifikante Energieeinsparungen in der Stahlindustrie, bei Beton- und Zementproduktion, Sensoren und Computerspeichern zeigten eindrucksvoll Potenziale und motivierten sicher nicht nur die teilnehmenden Wissenschaftler, sondern auch die vielen engagierten Studenten.

Professor Yasushi Watanabe und Laura Swinkels vermittelten neueste Erkenntnisse über die Entstehung von wertstoffhaltigen Mineralen – und ganz neues Wissen zum Beispiel über die Anreicherung von Sekundärelementen in Mineralphasen für dringend benötigte High-Tech-Anwendungen.

Noch lange nach dem offiziellen Ende des Kolloquiums herrschten in den Breakout-Räumen reger Betrieb und Diskussion. Vor Ort diskutierten die Kollegen über zukünftige gemeinsame Projekte und studentische Aktivitäten – fast wie bei einer Live-Veranstaltung.



JaDe Award for our member 
Prof. Bellingrath-Kimura

by our board members Prof. Dr. Katja 
Koelkebeck and Dr. Wolfgang Staguhn

The Foundation for Japanese-German Scientific and Cultural Exchange (JaDe-Stiftung) awards our member Prof. Dr. Sonoko Bellingrath-Kimura from the Leibniz Centre for Agricultural Landscape Research (ZALF) of the Humboldt-University Berlin with the JaDe Award 2022.

With the award, the JaDe Foundation acknowledges Prof. Kimura’s extraordinary scientific achievements in the promising field of sustainable and smart plant science, especially her contribution to the scientific exchange between Japan and Germany through mutual projects and publication and the hosting of guest students, not only in agricultural sciences.

“Prof. Bellingrath-Kimura has, after studying in Japan, continued an impressive career in Germany and by this emphasizes the vitality and potential of bilateral relations in scientific exchange between Japan and Germany”, as Prof. Dr. Monika Unkel, executive of the JaDe Foundation and head of the Eastern-Asian Seminar in Cologne, describes in the justification for the choice of Prof. Bellingrath-Kimura as awardee.

The award ceremony was held on the 5th of February 2022 in the Japan Culture Institute (JKI) in Cologne and was also broadcasted as a live youtube video. Next to a professional singer and a piano player performing Japanese music, Prof. Bellingrath-Kimura sang “Lilli Marleen” in Japanese and German language, accompanied by her husband playing the accordion. The previously planned panel discussion on Japanese-German exchange in sciences was postponed.


Seibold Prize Award for our member Prof. Inoue

by our board members Prof. Dr. Katja 
Koelkebeck and Dr. Wolfgang Staguhn

On the 16th of November, the last Eugen and Ilse Seibold Prize hosted by the DFG was held, awarding four outstanding researchers. After the opening remarks by the ambassadors von Götze and Yanagi, the laureates were introduced and eulogized by close collaborators.

The four laureates are Prof. Hidenori Takagi, materials physicist from Max-Planck-Institute Stuttgart, introduced by Prof. Gonokami. Prof. Regine Mathias, Prof. em. from Bochum University in Japanese studies was introduced by Prof. Matthias Zachmann. Prof. Kanako Takayama from Kyoto University is a well-known researcher in the area of crime law and was introduced by Prof. Thomas Weigend from Cologne University, in whose institute she had a research stay. Lastly, our member, the chemist Prof. Shigeyoshi Inoue, was eulogized by Prof. Akira Sekiguchi from Tsukuba University. The prize money per person is 15.000 Euros. The laureates were awarded for their life-long engagement in German-Japanese scientific and cultural exchange.

After the speeches of the laureates, there was a panel discussion on “Habits of the new normal”. Many of the laureates discussed that while face-to-face contacts are preferable; the new digital opportunities also fostered research activities by easier ways of communicating. Just in the spirit of the new normal, laureates were celebrated with sparkling wine they had been sent before the award ceremony and after the session there were opportunities for online mingling.

The already deceased Eugen Seibold, sea geologist, used to be head of the DFG in the 1980ies and donated the prize money. Unfortunately, recently his wife passed away as well. However, their daughter Ursula Seibold-Bultmann was present.



Our new member Prof. Masahiro Ryo

Prof. Dr. Masahiro Ryo obtained his PhD degree in 2015 in Civil Engineering at Tokyo Institute of Technology, Japan and then worked as postdoc researcher for a year in Switzerland. Since April 2016, he has been working as a scientist in Berlin-Brandenburg, Germany. In 2020, he gained a 5-year postdoctoral research experience at Freie Universität Berlin. Since December 2020, he is now W2 professor for the chair of environmental data science at Brandenburgische Technische Universität Cottbus-Senftenberg and Leibniz-Zentrum für Agrarlandschaftsforschung (ZALF).

He sees himself as an interdisciplinary scientist who is eager to address environmental sustainability challenges using the power of data science and artificial intelligence. He is now initiating his new team, the environmental data science lab, with the slogan “We offer AI-powered, Nature-based Solutions”. For instance, he is now working on how to make agriculture more sustainable by making use of digitalization and ecosystem services provided by biodiversity management. He does not only publish, but he is also very enthusiastic about teaching and supervision of earlier career researchers. He has mentored and supported more than 10 PhD students in Germany, and he offers a lecture about environmental data science at Brandenburgische Technische Universität Cottbus-Senftenberg so that future generations can tackle the issue of environmental sustainability.

His remarkable scientific record cannot be explained without a variety of strong collaborations with Japanese researchers and support from the JSPS. His collaboration network is widely distributed over Japan, including several top-ranked universities and research institutes. He actively supports early-career researchers in Japan who wish to develop careers in Germany. Dr. Ryo distributes academic job announcements in Germany regularly in Japanese language via e.g., Japanese ecological society e-mailing list, and he consults with several Japanese researchers about their potential careers in Germany. He is acting as a catalyst for cultural and academic exchange.

Moreover, he prompts to attract talented early-career researchers from Japan to consider their academic career paths in Germany for a long-term, by presenting his personal experience and general information about scientific career in Germany. At a JSPS online career seminar event during the difficult time of Covid-19 pandemic (June 2021), he actively interacted with more than 15 participants who are supported by the same fellowship, located in Germany, Switzerland, and Austria. In short, Dr. Ryo has been actively promoting scientific exchanges between Germany and Japan and also opening up various opportunities for entry from Japan.

He does not only prominently contribute to the Japanese side, but he also actively disseminates his research field though invited guest lectures in Germany. For instance, he had an invited lecture at an annual event by “Young Modellers in Ecology” of the Ecological Society of Germany, Austria, and Switzerland (May 2021), a Lecture Series at Universität Koblenz–Landau (Sep. 2020), and workshop at the Helmholtz Center for Environmental Research GmbH, Halle (Feb. 2019).

In an informal way, he operates his personal blog in Japanese language documenting about successfully working as a researcher in Germany. Since 1st of January 2017, almost 5,000 users in Japan and 850 users in Germany visited his research weblog site. It clearly indicates that his academic challenges in Germany have influenced many people. Moreover, he actively uses twitter (more than 2,000 followers) to disseminate his experience about how to succeed in academia in Germany (some of the tweets gained high attentions with more than 1,000 likes). Indirectly, these activities must attract numerous early-career researchers who are interested in working in Germany as a scientist in the future. Although his contribution may not be readily visible for non-academic people, he has been strengthening Germany-Japan research network during his career in a unique way as an interdisciplinary environmental scientist.



Sozialer Wandel in Japan und Deutschland (Social Change in Japan and Germany): 30 Years German-Japanese Society for Social Sciences (GJSSS)

edited by Gisela Trommsdorff, Hans-Joachim Kornadt and Carmen Schmidt, members of the Club
Pabst Science Publishers, Lengerich; 1. Edition 2021. Paperback, 432 pages
ISBN: 978-3-95853-741-5
Publisher’s website

In 30 chapters, renowned Japanese and German social scientists deal with similarities and differences in culture, politics and society.  They show how global, economic and cultural changes affect institutions, social relations and lifestyles. Against the background of each country's particular cultural traditions, the changes in the labour market, in the family and in social cohesion in Japan and Germany are analysed. In the first part, Japanese authors deal with cultural peculiarities, especially with regard to social inequalities and the Japanese language with its significance for social relations, legal practice and the social system. Part 2 deals with processes of change in politics and lifestyles in Japan as well as comparative analyses of the change in socialisation and the education system in both countries. Part 3 discusses social change in the context of global changes and transformations and the associated risks and opportunities. It becomes clear that similar problems and challenges in Japan and Germany lead to culture-specific adjustments and processes of change. These adaptations partly follow traditional and culture-specific patterns of behaviour, which partly prove to be stabilising, but also not unchangeable - however, with uncertain consequences for the future development of the coexistence of societies in the face of global (including climatic) threats.

Quaternion and Clifford Fourier Transforms

edited by Eckhard Hitzer
Chapman and Hall/CRC publishers, 2021
474 pages, 31 B/W illustrations
ISBN: 978-0-36777-466-0
Publisher’s website

Our member Dr. Eckhard Hitzer has published the new mathematical textbook “Quaternion and Clifford Fourier Transforms”.

In 1807 French mathematician Jean-Baptiste Joseph Fourier published his work “On the Propagation of Heat in Solid Bodies”. This eventually led to the development of Fourier series and Fourier analysis, one of the most widely-spread mathematical tools across all natural and engineering sciences, even undergraduate students have to master. It also applies to the propagation of any type of signal or wave, be it audible music, mobile phone signals, faint signals from the edge of the universe (super novae and pulsars), etc. In Nov. 1843, the prominent genius Sir Rowan William Hamilton, Andrews Professor of Astronomy at Trinity College Dublin, and Royal Astronomer of Ireland, read the paper “On a new Species of Imaginary Quantities” connected with a theory of Quaternions at the meeting of the Royal Irish Academy. He introduced the elegance of complex numbers of two dimensions to three dimensions, replacing the clumsy 3*3=9 element matrix notation of rotations with only four numbers (quaternions). This speeds up computations, and increases precision. He regarded this discovery as the most important of his life. Quaternions find wide-spread applications in color image processing, aero-space engineering, computer graphics, game programming, and artificial intelligence, etc. In 1844, German mathematics high school professor Hermann Grassmann published a book entitled “Ausdehnungslehre” (theory of extension). To him our modern theory of vector spaces is credited by Giuseppe Peano. Grassmann, educated in philology, philosophy and theology in Berlin, defined our modern notion of algebra, decades ahead of contemporary mathematicians, who could not appreciate his work. Among the few who recognized this extraordinary invention, the young British genius William Kingdon Clifford published a work on geometric algebras, entitled: “Applications of Grassmann's extensive algebra” in the first volume of the American Journal of Mathematics. These Clifford (geometric) algebras are universal and were frequently rediscovered, e.g. by Paul A.M. Dirac, or Wolfgang Pauli in quantum mechanics. They are now also widely applied in mathematics, physics and engineering. My new book brings together Hamilton’s Quaternions, Clifford’s geometric algebras and Fourier’s transformations in a systematic way for the first time.


Representations of the Club on External Events

  • 02.11.2021: “Germany and Japan - Close Partners in a Changing World” – a panel discussion on the occasion of the 160th anniversary of German-Japanese diplomatic relations of the State Chancellery of Rhineland-Palatinate and the Japanese Consulate General in Frankfurt am Main in the Mainz state parliament | Dr. M. Hofmann
  • 9.11.2021: 78th German-Japanese Business luncheon of the DJG Frankfurt – Speaker Consul General S. Asazuma | Dr. M. Hofmann
  • 25.11.2021: DAAD Meeting of Alumni Clubs | Prof. Dr. K. Koelkebeck
  • 30.11.2021 and 26.1.2022: ZOOM conference with representatives of European scientific organizations in Japan (France, Italy, Spain, Germany) | Prof. Dr. H. Menkhaus
  • 01.12.2021 and 09.02.2022: “Koordinierungskreis Forschung” at the Embassy | Dr. W. Staguhn


New Club Members

  • Dr. Cristian Arsene
    Physikalisch-Technische Bundesanstalt (PTB)

    National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology 2018*
  • Prof. Dr. Herbert Herzog

    Garvan Institute of Medical Research, Darlinghurst, Australia

    Kagoshima University 2017*
  • Dr. Alexandros-Panagiotis Poulidis
    Universität Bremen

    Kyoto University 2015–2016*
  • Dr. Kai Nitsche
    Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology (JAMSTEC), Yokosuka
    Research Institute for Humanity and Nature (RHIN) 2017–2019*
  • Kanazawa University, Liaison Office

    Liaison Office Düsseldorf

* research stay in Japan founded by JSPS/STA


Upcoming Events

  • 20./21.05.2022: Symposium in Berlin. Will be held on-site in Berlin!
    For details please, see this page.

If you would like to publish articles on events, publications, please contact us via e-mail. We are looking forward to your articles.



Deutsche Gesellschaft der JSPS-Stipendiaten e.V.
Redaktion: Prof. Dr. Katja Kölkebeck
Mitarbeit: Dr. Meike Albers-Meindl
Deutsche Gesellschaft der JSPS-Stipendiaten e.V.
c/o JSPS Bonn Office, Ahrstr. 58, 53175 Bonn
Tel.: 0228/375050, Fax: 0228/957777

Die in den Beiträgen geäußerten Ansichten geben nicht
unbedingt die Meinung des Herausgebers wieder.

Neues vom Club 01/2024

JSPS Club Chairman Prof. Dr. Heinrich Menkhaus is awarded the “The Order of the Rising Sun, Gold Rays with Rosette” (旭日小綬章) of the Japanese Government in 2024.

Club member Prof. Dr. Uwe Czarnetzki is awarded the “Plasma Materials Science Hall of Fame Prize” in March of 2024.

Club member Prof. Dr. med. Tanja Fehm is awarded the “Klüh Foundation Award” 2023