Neues vom JSPS-Club 01/2024



The Office

by Heinrich Menkhaus, Chairman of the JSPS Club

Photo: E. Suto and H. Menkhaus (courtesy of H. Menkhaus)

For the functioning of the Club it is not only the Board, the regional representatives and the local hosts of our events that have to work proficiently, it is also the office. In this respect, JSPS - from the very foundation of the Club - has supported us generously by providing a staff member of the JSPS Bonn Office for the daily business of the Club. The Club therefore is always in debt, particularly to the head of JSPS Bonn Office and the head of the administration of JSPS Bonn Office.

The heads of the administration of JSPS Bonn Office are either recruited from the staff of JSPS Headquarters in Tokyo or from the staff of former state universities, which are now no longer state universities in the pure sense of the word, but newly created legal entities of the Japanese public law. Since the foundation of JSPS Bonn Office in 1992, 15 individuals were heading the administration. The Club tries to keep in contact with them after their return to Japan at the end of their employment with the JSPS Bonn Office. We e.g. invite them to our events in Japan and arrange common dinners when we hold symposia there.

Last year, the term as head of administration in Bonn ended for Ms. Eriko Suto from JSPS Headquarters, but there was no opportunity to thank her for her service for the Club before she left Germany. So, I visited her in her new capacity at JSPS Headquarters and gave her a small present from the Club to show our gratefulness for her services (see photo).



Institutional Member EJEA Conference “Riding the digital wave into the future: chances, risks and actions for Japan and Europe”

by Sabine Ganter-Richter, member of the JSPS Club

Photo: Participants of the EJEA Conference 2023 (courtesy of EJEA)

In 1995, Japan experts from 11 European countries and from the European Commission assembled at the Japanese-German Center Berlin (JDZB) to establish an alumni organization for the participants of a Japan fellowship program funded by Japanese industry – the European Japan Experts Association (EJEA). After 25 years of existence, EJEA is looking for new opportunities to establish an advanced, sustainable interdisciplinary network to provide a reliable foundation for enhancing the bridge between Europe and Japan by promoting the international understanding of Japan.

Against this background, EJEA launched an annual international conference series in 2018, highlighting current topics and trends by perspectives from different sectors and disciplines from Japan and Europe.

Under the title “Riding the digital wave into the future: chances, risks and actions for Japan and Europe”, the EJEA International Conference 2023 has been realized hybrid-style and was hosted by the Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Information Technologies FIT at the beautiful campus Schloss Birlinghoven in Sankt Augustin (Germany) on October 24th and October 25th 2023. The conference was co-organized by Linköping University (Sweden) and Kagawa University (Japan) in cooperation with the Deutsch-Japanische Gesellschaft Bonn, Mittelstand-Digital Zentrum WertNetzWerke, Mittelstand-Digital Zentrum Ländliche Regionen, Network for Science, GRANITE network, TROWISTA, City of Troisdorf, and the German JSPS Alumni Association. EJEA is very grateful for the kind support of the German JSPS Club who acted as a sponsor for the EJEA conference 2023!

About 75 participants from seven countries actively contributed with presentations and discussions in six keynote lectures, and four workshop sessions. A guided tour through the Fraunhofer FIT offered insights into their latest research. The program was rounded off by a tour of the Schloss Birlinghoven, which was designed as an entrepreneur's villa. As planned and announced, the conference also offered wide space for networking, information exchange and socializing with partners from regional industry, administration, and academia, including the German JSPS Club, by posters, presentations, and informal talks.

Photo: Promoting the JSPS Club during the EJEA Conference 2023 (courtesy of EJEA)

All contributions and discussions during the conference have again underlined, that networking is necessary more than ever these days to maintain a stable and reliable foundation for European-Japanese relations. As mentioned in the farewell remarks, “networking” among European and Japanese stakeholders is a very crucial goal for EJEA and its cooperation partners. Also along this line, the German JSPS Alumni Association and the EJEA already in summer 2023 agreed to connect their networks by a mutual membership of their associations. EJEA is looking forward to continuing and enhancing this partnership between both associations as well as extending their networks and kindly asks you to save the date for the next hybrid EJEA international conference to be held in Sweden on November 5-7th, 2024, under the title "Future knowledge and competence for AI-driven innovation in Europe and Japan".


Report on the 12th Club Meeting in Nagoya

by Henrik Bachmann, member of the JSPS Club

Photo: Club meeting group picture (courtesy of Club member Jens Stellhorn)

The 12th JSPS Club meeting in Japan was held at Nagoya University on 16th December 2023, in the Toyoda Auditorium — a symbol of the city's rich heritage as the centre of Japan's automobile industry and its connection to Toyota, one of the world's leading car manufacturers. This venue is named after Sakichi Toyoda, the inventor of the Toyoda Automatic Looms, famously known as the origin of Toyota Motor Corporation.

Participants were warmly welcomed by Jens R. Stellhorn, the local organizer who, having recently transferred from Nagoya to Kyoto University, organized the event with the kind assistance of his wife.

Welcome remarks were delivered by Heinrich Menkhaus, Chair of the JSPS Club; Norimi Mizutani, representing both Nagoya University and its European Center; and Akie Hoshino, from JSPS's HQ International Policy Planning and Program Departments.

The first half of the scientific program featured a mixture of presentations. Roland Berkemeier from Nagoya University discussed the Nagoya University European Centre’s decade of networking and, being a scientist himself, advancements in brain-machine interfacing. He was followed by Koichi Hayashi from the Nagoya Institute of Technology, who talked about joint research in energy harvesting systems with FAU Erlangen-Nürnberg. Yoshitaka Ito from Nagoya University transitioned the focus to cosmic ray and astroparticle physics, underscoring the meeting's diverse scientific spectrum.

The meeting concluded with a photo session and a buffet at the Universal Club.


Member of JSPS Club at the GFFA 2024 in Berlin

by Anton Kraus, member of the JSPS Club

This report is about the participation of our member Dr. Anton Kraus in the GFFA (Global Forum for Food and Agriculture) on January 18-19th 2024 in Berlin.

As every year, the GFFA took place along the Green Week in Berlin. Around 2,000 international participants discussed food systems for our future: Joining forces for a zero hunger world! There were 16 Expert Panels and 2 High Level Panels hosted by the Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture (BMEL). For the first time, the GFFA and the Munich Security Conference (MSC) organized a joint high level debate, adding the increasing strategic security perspective to the value of agriculture and food production. I participated in two panels to capture the actual discussion and initiatives, also relevant for the scientific exchange. In my overall impression, however, more hypothetical discussions were evident even at high levels, e.g. the expectation that hunger is solved until 2030, although challenges are known and conflicts, climate, financial scrutiny, and regulations making food production increasingly more unpredictable.

Panel: Reducing food loss and waste of fruits and vegetables

Figure: Food waste in the EU by main economic sector, 2021 (eurostat)

Figure: Areas in that food waste occurs (taken from the presentation of Lawrence Haddad, Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN), GFFA 2024)

The overall framework is still that by 2050, the global agriculture must grow enough food for almost ten billion people while using fewer natural resources. In addition to finding new ways to satisfy this demand by growing more food crops, reducing of food loss and waste is fundamental.

Worldwide, 33% of all food produced is lost or wasted. In the EU, 53% of the food waste occurs in the households, it being mainly a result of consumer behavior and regulations. Solutions by systematic change of urban logistics, food packaging, replacing the date of minimum durability by the use by date, and excluding certain food from this indication, e.g. fresh fruit and vegetables shall be building blocks for less food waste.

The panel also discussed mechanisms of infrastructure development and economic incentives and changing urban food environments.

Regardless of how food loss and waste occur, many areas (19) are identified from crop handling until harvesting, which can damage crops if done improperly, reducing growth capacity or shelf life, up to interruptions or mistakes as foods are washed, peeled, sliced, or boiled, and culminating finally in waste when food isn’t consumed and discarded in the households.

Food losses that occur during growing, storage, grading and that occur in the field and on the farm due to environmental stress, inefficient machinery, or limited crop protection and technology were regrettably no topic of this GFFA panel.

Panel: Equity against hunger – CFS policy recommendations for food systems of the future

Inequality deprives millions of people of their right to food. Forty-one percent of the world’s population lacks the financial access to healthy diets. The Committee on World Food Security (CFS) shall develop policy recommendations to identify pathways out of this crisis. However, on this panel, almost all kind of realistic discussion was extremely occupied - in my esteem - by activistic panelists and participants from church organization MISEREOR, and from NGOs like Friday for Future, Human Right Watch and Campesina landworkers. Like other agricultural experts, I was disappointed that this GFFA panel identified the only political priority to exclude industry and private enterprises from the equation against hunger. A low point of the GFFA 2024 and cheekiness considering funding, financing and contributions of the industries and private economies to fight hunger on the globe.


Visit to Okinawa Institute for Science and Technology (OIST)

by Heinrich Menkhaus, chairman of the JSPS Club and country representative Japan

Photo: right T. Weber, 2nd from right B. Kuhn, 3rd from left Club member J. Fischer (courtesy of OIST)

Photo (courtesy of OIST)

Photo (courtesy of OIST)

On January 24th, the chairman was invited to Okinawa Institute for Science and Technology (OIST) to give a presentation of the activities of the JSPS Club. The invitation was due to the fact that quite a number of Germans and German-speaking scientists are employed there. Only one of them, Jonas Fischer, is a member of the Club. The chairman was accompanied by an old acquaintance, Till Weber, who is a professor at the University of Ryukyu in the capital city Naha of the prefecture Okinawa, and, since a couple of years, also the Honorary Consul of the Federal Republic of Germany in Okinawa.

Our host, Bernd Kuhn, guided us through the newly constructed campus, quite outside of any big settlement on a mountain. The place is best reachable by car and therefore has a huge parking facility. The - only graduate - students live on the premises in quite large housing. Since the – only recent – foundation of the university, the number of foreign researchers is higher than the number of Japanese scientists. The organizational structure also differs from that of any known university in Japan, and the supervision of the facility does not rest with MEXT but the Cabinet Office. From the beginning, the presidents were all foreigners, including a German, who had formerly worked for the Max Planck-Gesellschaft.


Joint European Research Organizations in Japan Shinnenkai

by Wilfried Wunderlich, member of the JSPS Club

Photo (courtesy of W. Wunderlich)

The first informal meeting of the Joint European Research Organizations in Japan was organized by Sarah Consentino on behalf of Association of Italian Researchers in Japan (AIRJ, Italy), including our JSPS Club, together with Asociación de Científicos Españoles en Japón (ACE, Spain), and Science-scope (France). Entitled as “Shinnenkai“, it took place on 26th January in Tokyo University, Hongo Campus, at a party room on the 13th floor of the Medical Faculty. Around 30 members of the four organizations gathered together and exchanged news and opinions while drinking and eating. Among the JSPS members were Heinrich Menkhaus, Hans-Georg Matuttis, Wolfgang Ertl, Jaqueline Urakami, Wilfried Wunderlich and three younger Germans who are not yet members of the Club.


JaDe Foundation prize award and 25th anniversary ceremony in Cologne

by Niklas Kolbe, member of the JSPS Club

Photo: from left to right: laureates for the DJJG O. Pohl (left) and J. Weickmann (right) and chair of JaDe Foundation Prof. Werner Pascha (courtesy of N. Kolbe)

On the 17th of February, the Foundation for the Promotion of Japanese-German Scientific and Cultural Relations (JaDe Foundation) held the award ceremony for the JaDe-Prize at the Japanese Culture Institute (JKI) in Cologne. The biannually awarded prize was presented to the German-Japanese Youth Association (DJJG) for their voluntary work. The association, which the JSPS Club financially supports, was particularly honored for their Youth Summit program “Hallo Deutschland” that brings together young people from Japan and Germany to meet and discuss recent topics of common interest. The prize was received by the board members Oliver Pohl and Jakob Weickmann, who were present at the ceremony, along with many further volunteers of the association. The JSPS Club regularly sponsors the program financially. The occasion was also used to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the JaDe Foundation in 2025. Video messages from former prize winners were shown to commemorate this event.  Performances by the Taiko group Lion and Yuko Kojima playing the shinobue flute accompanied the program of the ceremony.


Hallo Deutschland Programme 2023

by the German-Japanese Youth Association (Deutsch-Japanische Jugendgesellschaft, DJJG) e.V.

Photo: Participants Hallo Deutschland 2023 (courtesy of DJJG)

After a three-year break due to the pandemic we, the German-Japanese Youth Association (Deutsch-Japanische Jugendgesellschaft e.V., DJJG) and our Japanese partner association JG Youth were finally able to relaunch our annual exchange program, the German-Japanese youth summit “Hallo Deutschland” in 2023 in an on-site version (instead of exclusively digital). The program usually alternates every year between Germany and Japan.

40 participants from the age of 18 to 30 from Germany and Japan as well as 17 volunteers came together from 12th to 20th August to participate in the exciting itinerary of “Hallo Deutschland 2023”. This time, the varied program’s overarching theme was “Crisis – What now?! What to do?!” (Krise – Was tun?!).

One of this year's declared aims was not to fall into collective hopelessness in the face of the many current international challenges, but to pool the creativity and motivation of young people from both countries to have impactful discussions, learn from each other and invite them to think about solutions.

The 40 participants were split into five groups, with each group consisting of four participants from Germany and Japan, respectively, as well as two group leaders. Each group tried to look at the main topic from a different angle:

  1. Mental Health in times of crises
  2. Climate Crisis and its Media Discourse
  3. The Russian invasion of Ukraine
  4. Circular Economy and Sustainability
  5. Mobility Shift and its Challenges

The personal experience reports indicate clearly that our program inspired the participants and that they were able to obtain some key takeaways:

“The youth summit has been an enriching experience both thematically and emotionally, inspiring me to keep engaging with the topic of circular economy and general crisis management in the future. I can imagine delving further into these topics in my Japanese studies and getting to the bottom of the different approaches favoured by either Japan or Germany. I was also inspired to work on my own language skills by the dedicated translators who supported us. I personally feel more confident to engage with linguistic and cultural exchange between Japan and Germany in the future. I was able to take away many new perspectives and friendships from this exciting week and I am looking forward to rethinking structures, facing change with curiosity and courage and hopefully seeing my new friends again, soon!”

Photo: Reception of Hallo Deutschland 2023 at the Embassy of Japan in Berlin (courtesy of DJJG)

While engaging the various topics in the groups naturally played a central role in the program, we also aim to provide enough space and opportunities for all participants to network, spend time and become friends across their respective focus groups. For example, we took care to allocate people from different groups so that they would share a guest room. We also made sure that the program included many activities where everybody would take part, such as a climate puzzle workshop, a reception in the Embassy of Japan in Germany as well as a karaoke evening.

As hosts of the Youth Summit, we found the program to be a marvelous success. Not only did all the participants engage with the topics, but also with each other on a human level, forging many friendships. As a result, the program was pervaded by an incredibly considerate and pleasant atmosphere, full of learning, laughter, and respect.

“I particularly liked the fact that it was clear how close the organizers were to us participants, both in terms of age and on a human level. There was no disruptive hierarchy or authority. We all worked together and saw eye-to-eye. It made me very emotional to hear how long some people have been a part of the DJJG. I can easily understand their motivation, after all, who would not want to continue to be a part of this experience after this week! All in all, it was very difficult for me to put this experience into words, as the majority of my memories consist of feelings and snapshot moments. The Youth Summit is the perfect convergence of young people who want to quench their thirst for knowledge and experience something new while having fun. Never before have I been able to learn so many new things and at the same time have had so much fun growing in myself and by my challenges. I wish there were many more educational programs like this one, run by young people for young people!”

At the end of the program, the participants were invited to take part in a survey where they could also register for further involvement with the DJJG or JG Youth. We were overwhelmed with joy when over 30 of the 40 participants stated that they wanted to get actively involved in the future. Shortly after the program, 18 people travelled to Berlin for a weekend to plan and work on future projects for the DJJG. Some of them participated in spite of double-digit travel times. A total of twelve new members from Germany and six new members from Japan signed up for full membership. Beyond this, many of the participants who have not joined the associations are however keeping in touch and continue to be involved with our projects.

As the program has been enabled mainly through the voluntary commitment of former participants ever since its launch in 2005, we are particularly pleased with the influx of new members and new involvement. This is especially relevant as this time, the entire program had to be managed by a small team, due to lapse in new involvement because of the pandemic. This made it an even more ambitious undertaking than prior times.

However, this is also where the lasting impact of this program was proven by the ready support provided by a network of previous participants from years of successful youth summits. A significant proportion of the group leaders, translators and experts attending the excursions were former participants. Furthermore, we were able to recruit alumni to contribute a professional music performance at the reception at the embassy. All of this reaffirms us in our conviction that the program brings participants together in an impactful way and will certainly remain an unforgettable experience for each of them even after many years.

This year’s participants also strongly share this view:
“After participating in the youth summit, I feel closer to Japan. I am very grateful to meet people who are happy to help me learn more about this country. On a more personal level, it has motivated me to develop my Japanese language skills so that I can converse in Japanese. On a larger level, I think that by understanding the culture and language of the other group, you can be a "bridge of cultures". Therefore, I believe that one day this can be beneficial not only for myself but also for society, for example by creating a bridge between Germany, Japan and my home country Indonesia. I firmly believe that my decision to participate in this program was the right one. I would like to thank DJJG for allowing me to be part of this program, as well as everyone else involved in making this event possible. Such events enrich me both professionally and culturally. I hope that the Hello program will continue in the coming years and would be happy to participate again in the future.”

“Overall, I am infinitely grateful to the DJJG for this exchange program. I was able to forge many strong friendships transcending national borders. I was able to create unforgettable memories, get to know so many wonderful people and have so many precious experiences. I very much hope to be able to visit my Japanese friends in their home country one day. Until then, I look forward to language tandems with some of them or simply exchanging messages regularly, as we have already begun to do. This has not only further fueled my motivation to continue learning Japanese intensively and to get to know the country and its culture better - it has also confirmed me in my resolve to spend a semester abroad in Japan as part of my studies and perhaps to do my Master's degree at a Japanese university.”

We as the hosts are incredibly grateful for the many motivated and dedicated participants who lovingly brought the program to life with their priceless contributions. It fills us with joy and pride to have made such a lasting impact on many young people and their unique journeys through life.

In February 2024, the DJJG received the JaDe Award from the JaDe Foundation for its long-standing commitment to enabling and furthering relations between young people from Japan and Germany, especially through the youth summits ("Hallo Deutschland" and "Hallo Japan"), continually organized in cooperation with JG Youth in Japan and Germany.

The youth summit will continue in Japan in 2024 under the leadership of our Japanese partner organization JG Youth, before returning to Germany in 2025. For more information about Hallo Japan 2024 visit our websites:


Meetings of the regional chapter Rhein-Ruhr in Essen

by Katja Koelkebeck, board member of the JSPS Club

Photo: Meeting in December: from left Lothar Wigger, Masao Watanabe, Anton Kraus, K. Koelkebeck, Hans-Ulrich Simmrock, Heidi Wigger (courtesy of K. Koelkebeck)

Photo: Meeting in March: from left Anton Kraus, Manfred Schneider, Matthias Roegner (courtesy of K. Koelkebeck)

On the 17th of December 2023 and on the 26th of March 2024, the regional chapter Rhein-Ruhr met at the Japanese restaurant Byakko in Essen. Six members from the region joined the meeting in December and four members in March, enjoying authentic Japanese appetizers and sushi by the chef from Nara, Masanori “Fox” Takase. For the first time since Katja Koelkebeck took over as the leader of the regional chapter, also a native Japanese scientist participated in one of the regional Club meetings in December. During the meetings, science, politics across countries and other Japan-related topics as travels and work-related stays were discussed in a lively fashion.


Lecture on Japanese Kampo medicine by Dr. Kenny Kuchta at the invitation of the Rhine-Ruhr regional group

by Katja Koelkebeck, board member, and Kenny Kuchta, member of the JSPS Club

Photo: screenshot of the zoom session, K. Kuchta on the bottom

Kampo medicine (kanji meaning “method of Han dynasty China”) is the knowledge of the traditional academic medicine of Japan that was - until the Meiji restauration - transmitted amongst professional doctors in a master-student relationship. This differentiates Kampo from pure folk medicine (Jap. Minkanyaku) practiced by laypersons. In the context of Japan’s westernization from 1880 onwards, only doctors educated in Western style medicine were allowed to practice medicine. However, since the health boom of the 1960ies, medications that were approved until 1880 can again be officially used today.

More than 80% of the used medicinal plants are identical to those used in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). Differences to this are the standardized prescription that is common in Kampo medicine, the quality of the drugs, so that a finer cut and a lower dosage are possible.

In Japan today, only Western-trained doctors are allowed to prescribe Kampo. It is a subject taught in the standard curriculum of all medical faculties of Japanese universities.

The first description of herbal medicine in Japan dates back to the 7th century and was described in the Kojiki. Here, the healing of a white hare from bite wounds with the help of cattail pollen (Jap. gama) is described. The first Japanese medical book, the Isshimpo, was written by Tamba no Yasu­­yori in 982-984 based on books imported from China and Korea. The most well-known raw drugs are licorice – in Germany also used in Heumann tea as an antiviral medicine for the common cold and influenza - ginger, peony (an antispasmodic also used traditionally in Europe), cinnamon, jujube, ginseng, Angelica acutiloba, and Poria cocos, a tuber-forming, underground fungus.

There are different schools of Kampo taught that differ severely in their level of orientation towards TCM. The most common of these is Kohoha, which is based on the systematic collection of empirical experience concerning the change of patients’ symptoms under therapy and largely rejects philosophical speculations about the internal processes within the body in stark difference to TCM, where such concepts play an important role. As Kohoha bases its thoughts mainly on the amount of accumulated experience from the efficacy of its prescriptions, this school of Kampo medicine prefers prescriptions with a long documented tradition, e.g. those already found in the continental books quoted in the Isshimpo.

Two of the most commonly used Kohoha Kampo preparations are Shikunshito (similar to the effect of a proton pump inhibitor) and Rikkunshito (similar with additional choleretic effects). These preparations are mixed from the above-mentioned raw drugs.

In China and Korea, there are two clearly separated systems of Eastern practitioners and Western medicine practitioners but in Japan, Kampo treatment can be prescribed by all Japanese physicians. There are ready-made products available over the counter in pharmacies that can be prescribed. However, free-hand mixtures can only be prepared by doctors trained in Kampo, which has the advantage that preparations can also be mixed according to individual requirements (e.g. allergies). Kampo training is similar to a specialist training, but is often also combined with other disciplines, such as internal medicine. Two-week Kampo courses are mandatory for medical students. The traditional Kampo diagnosis has five steps: 1) viewing the face, 2) questioning conversation for symptom clarification, 3) viewing the tongue, 4) feeling the pulse, and 5) abdominal palpation. Amongst these, abdominal palpation is especially important and typical for Kampo as it is only rarely performed on the continent.

There are a total of 148 common reimbursable traditional prescriptions as readymade extract preparations and 294 traditional prescriptions as over the counter medications. Thirty-three Kampo prescriptions have such strong evidence that they are included in the Japanese pharmacopoeia with individual monographs.

Very frequently prescribed are, for example, Maoto and Kakkonto, both of which are helpful against symptoms of common cold and influenza. However, Kakkonto refers more to symptoms of coldness (chills) and Maoto to hotness (sweating, fever). This is typical for Kampo the basic approach of which is to treat the entire body including all observed symptoms everywhere and not to see symptoms in one organ system in isolation as typical for Western medicine.

In Japan, Kampo preparations are used e.g. also in the treatment of attention deficit / hyperactivity disorder (ADHD); here the preparation Yokukan-san has good evidence and is reimbursable, even for other nervous conditions.

Research is currently finding scientific evidence for the use of Kampo for wounds, cachexia and gastroesophageal reflux. It has been shown that Kampo in combination with chemotherapy leads to significantly longer survival due to the activation of immune cells. Dr. Kuchta is also involved in this latter research.

In Germany, Kampo medicine can be registered as Traditional Herbal Medicinal Products if it can be demonstrated that the respective prescription has been used for at least 15 years within the EU - with a positive benefit-risk assessment. In Germany, for example, the Kampo preparation Rikkunshito, which is available in pharmacies under the product name Yamato®Gast. It has been registered in Germany for heat burn, stomach upset, stomach pain, and digestive problems. In Japan, Rikkunshito is also used for adjuvant tumor therapy for cachectic patients receiving chemotherapy. However, in the EU, Traditional Herbal Medicinal Products may not be advertised for use in life-threatening illnesses.

One of the major challenges for Kampo in Japan is the fact that most of the medicinal plants on which it relies are not cultivated domestically but are imported primarily from China.

For a deeper reading interest, the Kampo Medicine Guide by Ulrich Eberhard can serve as a reference work. Unfortunately, it is out of print, but it may be possible to purchase it second-hand until a new edition is published. Also, the book by Katsutoshi Terasawa called Kampo was recommended. The International Society for Japanese Kampo Medicine (ISJKM) connects Kampo research globally.

Dr. Kenny Kuchta works in the “Forschungsstelle für Fernoestliche Medizin” at the University of Goettingen as well as visiting lecturer, among others, at Kyoto Prefectural University of Medicine and as Prof. h.c. at the Zhejiang Institute of TCM and Natural Medicine, Hangzhou, China.

A link to the presentation recording can be found on the Club homepage in the member-restricted area.


Podcast Science S*heroes: Episode with Daniela Winkler

by Daniela Winkler, board-member of the JSPS Club

Our Club-member Daniela Winkler (Kiel University) was invited as a guest to the science podcast “Science S*heroes”, hosted by Christiane Attig and Rebecca Moltmann. She talked about her research on vertebrate dental wear and diet reconstruction in extinct species, and her perspective on experimental approaching involving living animals, but also about her experiences as a female scientist during her two-year JSPS-funded postdoctoral stay at the University of Tokyo. Daniela Winkler reports on her relationship with her female host professor, Mugino Kubo, and how she perceived cultural differences when interacting with other male professors or collaborators.

The interview is in German and can be listened to here:





Retrospective of my scientific co-operation with Japan

by Prof. em. György Széll, University Osnabrück, member of the JSPS Club

Actually, my first souvenirs go back to 1958 when my brother, who worked for Air France in Hamburg, travelled to Japan, when the so-called pol-route was opened from there to circumvent the Soviet Union. He was absolutely fascinated by the country. At that time, it was unimaginable to go there myself. Actually, the dream became reality, when I met Prof. Dr. Akihiro Ishikawa from Chuo University within the Research Committee (RC) 10 “Participation, Organisational Democracy, and Self-Management” of the International Sociological Association in 1988 in India. We both worked on democratic participation within the economy. Since then, we have not only become very close colleagues but friends as well. It happened that in 1990 the German-Japanese professor exchange program was initiated, and Akihiro Ishikawa was one of the first to be selected. He stayed in Osnabrück from April to July 1990. His wife, Yasuko Ishikawa, also a sociologist, accompanied him. We travelled together to participate at the 12th World Congress of Sociology in Madrid, with many common sessions and meetings in July 1990. I was at that time president of the board of RC 10, and Akihiro became then a newly elected board member. He invited me first to take part at the 30th   international conference of the International Institute of Sociology in Kobe in August 1991. And afterwards, I participated in his summer school near Tokyo. To my surprise, the first question I was asked by one of the students was: what do you think of the role of our Emperor during the Great War? A very good discussion started with all the students. Actually, even today, Japan still has problems with its neighbours in regard to this past. No real apology for the war crimes has been expressed so far. In this regard, Germany is often presented as the better example. But it took also 40 years after the war until the then Federal President Richard von Weizsäcker proclaimed that 1945 was not a defeat, but a liberation.

In October 1991, it was then my turn to become visiting professor for three months at Chuo University with a German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD)-JSPS grant. I have to confess that until today my Japanese is rather poor. However, I have a good excuse: the Japanese government at that time invited a number of foreign professors under the condition that they do not speak Japanese. The idea behind this was that Japanese students were able to read and somewhat understand foreign languages, but were anxious to speak – being afraid to make mistakes. So, Japanese students were forced to speak in other tongues. It worked out, however, I have to state that also during my last stay in November 2023, their language skills have not much improved. In comparison to Chinese or Korean students, their language ability is much poorer since decades. This is probably an indicator, as to why the Japanese economy and science fare much lower since the 1990ies.

In 1992, I managed that Yasuko Ishikawa became visiting professor at Osnabrück University for a year at my invitation. The outcome was the wonderful book “Woman with flag” (see picture), which presents the emancipation of women in Germany – especially in the city of Osnabrück – in comparison to Japan, and it became a bestseller in Japan (see left picture: “Woman with flag”published by Yasuko Ishikawa, cover picture is by Johannes Eidt, president of the German-Japanese Society Osnabrück).

Akihiro co-organized the Second International Conference Globalization in East Asia: Past and Present in 1999 at Chuo University, with my active participation, and which became a big success with an appropriate publication.

Another very decisive meeting was with late Prof. Narihiko Ito also at Chuo University in 1991, founding president of the International Rosa Luxemburg Society. It became a life-long deep friendship. I invited him twice as visiting professor to Osnabrück. The outcome was, amongst other things, a book on Peace Article Number 9, which was first published in Japanese, and then under my guidance it was translated into German, edited and published with a foreword by myself in 2001 (see left picture: “Der Friedensartikel der japanischen Verfassung“ by Narahiko Ito, the late president of the International Luxemburg Society on Japan’s Peace Article No. 9 – edited and with a foreword by György Széll (editor: agenda Münster)).

He invited me from 2003 to 2005 to become a member of the International Criminal Courts on Afghanistan and Iraq. And he organized the 15th International Rosa Luxemburg Congress in 2007 in Tokyo, where I took very actively part.

A further sustainable encounter was with Shuji Yamada, who was my Ph.D. student in 1991 at Chuo University, and who became not only a colleague at Bunkyo University but a very good friend as well. Since then, he came quite often with his students to Osnabrück, and he reciprocated by several invitations to me – supported by a DAAD-JSPS grant in 2009.

In spring 1993, I had the pleasure to be re-invited back to Japan as visiting professor – this time to Seikei University Asia-Pacific Centre as well as to Hitotsubashi University. The latter invitation came by Prof. Dr. Shujiro Yazawa, whom I met earlier via the International Association of Sociology. Hitotsubashi University even offered me then a position as full professor, however, I had to decline it due to too many other obligations. Actually, I accepted the nomination in 2003 at the Institute for Economic Research – but only for one year before my retirement. It was the best position I ever had – only research, no teaching obligations. Shujiro Yazawa also invited me to become a member of the International Council of the International Journal of Japanese Sociology in 1992, which lasted until 2018.

The stay in 1993 gave me also the opportunity to co-operate with the EU-Japan Centre for Industrial Cooperation, and I took part at their mission Research and Development in Japan, which was really a very important insight for me into the whole spectrum of research in Japan. Another invitation as visiting professor at the School of Social Studies of Hitotsubashi followed in October 1996. It gave me the occasion to co-organize the Diamond Publisher Second German-Japanese Symposium on Knowledge Transfer between Small and Medium Sized Enterprises in Japan and Germany and another one in regard to Environmental Protection and some days later at Hitotsubashi University.

Locally, I invested myself within the German-Japanese Society of Osnabrück, becoming its managing vice-president in the late 1990ies. In 2018, the same German-Japanese Society of Osnabrück awarded me with the Honorary Prize for my merits to implement research on Japan in our region. Together with my former student Wilhelm Meemken, I had already established the ECOS Consult company to relate theory and praxis. As Wilhelm was married to a Japanese wife, the company very soon specialized on Japanese-German projects. Amongst other activities, we organized in 1993 for the RKW the seminar Going Japan.

In the follow-up, I created the Japan Research Centre at the University of Osnabrück in 1994 – the only of its kind in the Land of Lower Saxony until today. This centre published since then in its series 26 papers. And it served to host quite a few visiting professors and Ph.D. students from Japan. Since 2010, my successor as director of the Japan Research Centre is Prof. Dr. Carmen Schmidt, whose habilitation commission I chaired, and who is president of the German-Japanese Society for Social Sciences since 2019.

I am convinced that for a social scientist it is important to have lived and worked not only in Europe but foremost overseas, i.e. in the USA, a Third World country and East Asia, especially in Japan. Therefore, I initiated co-operation agreements with several Japanese universities, which last until today: besides the already mentioned Chuo and Hitotsubashi Universities they are the Yokohama National University, Okinawa International University, Hiroshima University and Kobe University. I initiated and coordinated three DAAD-HOST-Programmes as well with Chuo and Hitotsubashi Universities from 1998 to 2005.

To express my gratitude to the DAAD, which supported my scientific career through many grants since 1965, I became a member of its overseas selection committee, namely for Japan in the 1990ies, for more than 20 years.

Amongst the many projects I conducted in Japan, I have a special reference to the ZERO-Emission project, which was conducted together with Rüdiger Kühr and the United Nations University in Tokyo from 1997 to 1999. Rüdiger passed his Ph.D. in 2011 under my guidance with a thesis on “Japan s Transnational Environmental Policies. The Case of Environmental Technology Transfer to Newly Industrializing Countries”. He became director at the United Nations Institute for Training and Research in Bonn and professor at the University of Limerick. In 1999, I invited the UN Undersecretary General Yasushi Akashi to Osnabrück for a Peace Talk on Japan’s Role in Peace Politics during the 21st century.

Prof. Dr. Tsuyoshi Tsuru – from the Institute of Economic Research of Hitotsubashi University – was first visiting professor in Osnabrück twice before he invited me back several times. Stefan Hochstadt, a former Ph.D. student of mine, joined me in 2004 at Hitotsubashi University for a research project with a DAAD-JSPS grant. He became later a very active member of the JSPS Club.

Amongst the nearly 100 Ph.D. theses which I supervised, there were also four concerned with Japan – by two Germans and two Japanese. Rüdiger Kühr I mentioned already. Kotaro Oshige received his Ph.D. for a German-Japanese comparative study of their respective electro industries in 1999. Soon afterwards he became professor at Doshisha University in Kyoto. His wife received her Ph.D. at the University Osnabrück a little bit later, too.

I have been president of RC 24 “Environment and Society” of the International Sociological Association from 1990 to 1994, and that is how I met Prof. Dr. Yoshi Mitsuda from Bukkyo University in Kyoto. He remains, in regard to environmental sociology, my main counterpart in Japan until today. He was twice visiting professor in Osnabrück and myself three times in Kyoto. He organized the excellent Kyoto Environmental Sociology Conference in 2001 with a keynote by me.

The late Prof. Dr. Ken’ichi Tominaga also remained an important contact for me within Japan. I first met him during the XIIth World Congress of Sociology in Madrid 1990. He organized the 7th meeting of the German-Japanese Society for Social Sciences in Yokohama in 2002. And we edited the proceedings together. While being re-invited by Chuo University in 2001 with another DAAD-JSPS grant, I had the privilege to be selected afterwards for the 30th Human Resources Training Programme (HRTP) of the EU-Japan Centre for Industrial Cooperation. But definitely one of the high-lights of my co-operation with Japan was the co-organization of the congress “Environment and Science – Concepts and Strategic Goals for the Future” within the “Germany in Japan Year” in Tokyo in 2005. Also, the participation at the 9th meeting of the German-Japanese Society for Social Sciences in 2006 in Kanazawa was quite relevant for me. As the vice-president of the German-Japanese Society for Social Sciences, I organized its 10th meeting in 2008 on “Quality of Working Life in Comparison” in Osnabrück (see picture left: Publication of the Proceedings of the 10th Symposium of the German-Japanese Society for Social Sciences, edited by György and Ute Széll).

In 2010, I was involved in the project “Science in Society – a challenge in Japan” with a presentation at the 3rd Symposium [Science Technology and Humanity] Ristex R&D Focus Area together with Shuji Yamada and Prof. Dr. Masanobu Ishikawa from Kobe University, who invited me in November 2010 to give a keynote speech at the congress “The role of information disclosure on corporate environmental management”.

Photo: The speakers and organizers of the German-Japanese symposium on the Fukushima catastrophe, on 4th November 2011 at the Volkshochschule (courtesy of G. Széll)

Photo: G. Széll receiving the Prize of the German-Japanese Society by Sonoi Eidt on Osnabrück on 29 November 2018 (courtesy of G. Széll)

Altogether, I organized and co-organized many German-Japanese workshops and conferences as well in Germany as in Japan – mainly on labour relations, sustainable development and international comparison. And a large number of publications came out of this cooperation. My latest seminar and publication was concerned with the Fukushima catastrophe in 2011 (see picture).

Besides, I gave dozens of lectures all over Japan – namely in Osaka, Sapporo, Okinawa, Tsukuba, Kagoshima, at the International Christian University, Keio University, Sophia University, Yokohama National University, the German Institute for Japan Studies, Hiroshima University, and Kobe University. A special relation exists with the East Asiatic Society (OAG) in Tokyo as well as in Kobe, where I gave several lectures and contributed to its publications.

My cooperation in North-East Asia shifted more and more to China from 2001 on, and from 2005 on to South Korea. I was one of the main protagonists to create the DAAD-Centre for German and European Studies at Chung Ang University in Seoul, which expanded to a trilateral network with Peking and Tokyo Universities since 2015, and with annual rotating meetings. One of the activities was the founding of the Open Access Asian Journal of German and European Studies, where I served as editor-in-chief.

So far, my last visit to Japan was as visiting professor at Bunkyo University’s new Adachi Campus in November 2023. It was also the occasion to re-meet the Ishikawa couple, who had revisited Osnabrück in 2019. Altogether, I worked and lived for about five years in Japan. Summarizing, I can say that my co-operation with Japan changed my scientific culture fundamentally and enriched my life. I met colleagues who became dear friends for my whole life. And I learned to appreciate Japanese culture – foremost Noh and Kabuki theatre – and food as well as drinks. I recommended to all my students and colleagues to get to know this fascinating country and people – with all its contradictions. I lectured at sixty universities in thirty countries, the most productive and pleasant stays were in Japan.

More information can be found on my homepage:
https://www.sozialwissenschaften.uni-osnabrueck. de/mitarbeiter_detailseiten/szell_gyoergy.html
and publications under:



Our new Club member Sabine Tulka-Vollrath

Sabrina Tulka-Vollrath is a PhD Student at HSBI (Hochschule Bielefeld). She began her vocational career at a nursing school to become a registered nurse. After graduation, she worked many years in mental health hospitals. After Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in Vocational Education at HSBI, she decided to start a doctorate. Her major is nursing science. She is exploring key problems in psychiatric nursing. Methodologically, her doctorate is located in qualitative social research and ethnography. Out of personal interest, she attends a Japanese language class at the university. Ultimately, her interest in Japanese culture led her to apply for a scholarship from JSPS.

During her short-term research stay at Kyoto University, she conducted an interview with an expert for psychiatric care. In Japan, the majority of psychiatric care is provided in the hospital setting because there are too few outpatient services for people with mental illness. Psychiatric nurses in Japan therefore find themselves in a contradictory situation. On the one hand, they want to encourage patients to lead a self-determined life as part of society outside the hospital; on the other hand, they are aware of the lack of outpatient care services. Many mentally ill people remain in hospitals for longer than necessary. For psychiatric nurses, this discrepancy causes moral stress. Moral stress is a problem that is also well known to psychiatric nurses in Germany and contributes to the worsening staff shortage in mental health. At the end of the research stay, she delivered a presentation about her doctorate and her research at Kyoto University, attended by colleagues, students and psychiatric nurses. Psychiatric nurses confirmed the dilemma she experienced in the interview. Despite cultural differences between Japan and Germany, there are similarities in the challenges of psychiatric care which are worth exploring because they are of relevance to nursing science in both countries.

By joining the JSPS Club, she is looking forward to connecting with researchers, especially in the field of vocational education and healthcare. In her free time, she is interested in art exhibition, cinema and Japanese-German language tandem. You are warmly invited to get in touch with her if youfind any mutual interests (


Representations of the Club on External Events until the editorial deadline 31.03.2024

  • 26.01.2024: ZOOM meeting with the chairman of the European scientist associations in Japan in preparation of the next symposium in the EU Delegation in Tokyo on April 20th 2024 | Heinrich Menkhaus
  • 08.02.2024: Meeting with the members in Nagoya | Heinrich Menkhaus
  • 16.02.2024: ZOOM meeting with Prof. Hayashi and Ms. Anno from JSPS Bonn Office | Heinrich Menkhaus
  • 17.02.2024: JaDe Foundation price award ceremony in Cologne | Niklas Kolbe
  • 26.02.2024: Meeting with predecessor as chairman of JSPS Club, Prof. Uwe Czarnetzki in Tokyo | Heinrich Menkhaus
  • 27.02.2024: Meeting with the chairman of the European scientist associations in Japan in preparation of the next symposium in the EU Delegation in Tokyo on April 20th 2024 at Tokyo University | Heinrich Menkhaus
  • 01.03.2024: Meeting with Member Prof. Lothar Wigger, host of the MiM event at TU Dortmund in autumn 2024 | Heinrich Menkhaus
  • 26.03.2024: Meeting of the Regional Chapter Rhein-Ruhr in Essen | Katja Koelkebeck


New Club Members until the editorial deadline 31.03.2024

  • Interessengemeinschaft der deutschsprachigen Lehrenden in Japan
  • Prof. Dr. Akos Kopper
    Kanagawa University 2011-2013*
  • Sabine Tulka-Vollrath
    HSBI – Hochschule Bielefeld
    Kyoto University 2023*
  • Dr. Gunnar Abelmann
    Bayer CropScience K.K., Tokyo
  • Dr. Evgenia Chitrova
    Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic
    Tohoku University, 2009*
  • European Japan Experts Association (EJEA)
  • Dr. Lorenz Granrath
    IXP Institute for Psychophysiology
  • Dr. Michael Koblischka
    Universität des Saarlandes
  • Dr. Anjela Koblischka-Veneva
    Universität des Saarlandes
  • Dr. Alexander Martin
  • Dr. Jan Kuhfeld
    Universität Bochum
    Hokkaido University 2024-2026*

* research stay in Japan, founded by JSPS/STA


Upcoming Events

  • 01.11.2024 - 02.11.2024: Members invite members at Technische Universität Dortmund

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

Der Vorstandsvorsitzende Prof. Dr. Heinrich Menkhaus erhält 2024 den „Kleinen Orden der Aufgehenden Sonne mit Rosette“ (旭日小綬章) der japanischen Regierung.

Mitglied Prof. Dr. Uwe Czarnetzki wird im März 2024 mit dem „Plasma Materials Science Hall of Fame Prize“ ausgezeichnet.

Mitglied Prof. Dr. med. Tanja Fehm wird 2023 mit der Auszeichnung der Klüh-Stiftung ausgezeichnet