Professor of German Language, Literature & Theatre, Faculty of Commerce, Chuo University
The long-awaited German Week will soon begin. Germany has long been known for Bundesliga, Mercedes Benz, the Grimm Fairytales and beer. However, different aspects of Germany will be presented this time. The German Week will be held from June 16th to 23rd. Through many events, participants can encounter a Germany overflowing with its diversity and aspiration. It, of course, is impossible to present all of the numerous events scheduled for this international week. So this article will focus on some of the highlights of the Week.
One of the important topics we want to take up is environmental policy and energy policy in Germany aiming at a nuclear power phase-out. Another topic, which will be introduced, are German studies at Chuo University as our University is embarking on bold steps for internationalization in its response to more and more rapid globalization. Let me also briefly touch upon the nature of new Germany policy, which seeks to define new directions at this juncture of worldwide developments.
A leading country moving toward a nuclear power phase-out.
Since March 11th, 2011, the world has been watching the moves of Germany and Japan, particularly energy policy decisions of both countries. In response to the accident at Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant, the German government quickly assembled a Committee of Experts on Ethics. Based on deliberations by the committee, German government decided to completely shut down all currently operating nuclear power plants by 2022. This means that the nuclear power phase-out will take place within the next 10 years. On the other hand, despite the Fukshima accident occurring within our own country, no satisfactory decision on the future of nuclear power has been taken by the Japanese government.
Where does such a significant difference come from? What is the economic situation and political backgrounds that enabled Germany to quickly make a commitment to shut down fully operable nuclear power plants?
Like Japan, Germany achieved a miraculous recovery from the ashes of defeat in WWII. Germany has utilized high-level scientific technology to manufacture and export advanced products. Even today, Germany enjoys a position of superiority as a competitive exporter and continues to lead the entire EU economy. Why was Germany able to change its policy on nuclear power so quickly? Germany is located at much higher latitude than Hokkaido and is even farther north than Sakhalin. How can a country with such extremely cold winters keep itself warm without depending on nuclear power plants?
Energy required for the future, not only for the here and now
There is no guarantee that we will find clear answers to all of these questions. However, at the very least, the German Week will give us a chance to widen and deepen our inquiry and further explore some of these questions.
Of particular interest are three interesting documentary movies. Many years of meticulous research went into these films. And they capture both the energy situation in Germany and global energy issues. When watching Yellow Cake and The 4th Revolution, one would sense the short sightedness of arguments presented in Japan.
Because they focus exclusively on Japan and our immediate energy needs. The third film, Under Control, portrays the unbelievably long process of dismantling a nuclear power plant. These three films have quietly gained popularity since they were first shown in October 2011 at the Tokyo Goethe Institute in Akasaka. Even so, there is no plan to show these films at ordinary movie theatres. So I hope that you will take the opportunity to watch the films during our international week. At the same time, make sure that you don’t miss Unseen Cloud (Germany, 2006), a feature film that gives a detailed portrayal of a nuclear accident occurring in a German countryside. It also depicts possible effects of such an accident and national consequences.
At each film screening, a simple introduction will be given. A Q&A session will be held after the film. I hope the films will help you obtaining vital information on energy issues in Germany and will deepening your understanding of global environmental policy.
German studies born from new trends of globalization
As everyone knows, the opening up of Japan in the Meiji Period brought an influx of various cultures. New schools, which were established at that time, were private educational institutions, which were opened in response to the rough tide of internationalization. This is particular true to the predecessor to Chuo University, which was founded by young men around 20 years old who had studied mainly in England. In regards to our University though, it must not be forgotten that German law had a significant influence on new Japanese legal system. The upcoming international week will place the spotlight on German language professors and educational principles at the precursor of the Chuo University. Knowledge of them had long been lost. Reviving the knowledge of them and their work will help us formulating new strategy to strengthen German language and German law studies, which always constituted a vital keystone of our University. I hope this series of events will inspire you with the remarkable history of German studies at Chuo University. (A special lecture: German Studies at Chuo University Prior to WWII). On June 20th, the German Ambassador to Japan is scheduled to visit our campus and to give a lecture in Japanese language to our students. Actually, 80 years ago, we also welcomed the German Ambassador then to our lecture hall in Kanda. Naomi Uemura was quoted as saying that “the visit by the German Ambassador Dr. Voretzsch and the lecture that he gave us should be remembered as a special moment in the history of Chuo University.”
Start of Europe Study Abroad Fair 2012
Short-term and long-term foreign study in Europe is much more reasonably priced when compared to North America and Oceania. Furthermore, study in Europe is renowned for its high quality and variety of educational content. Europe Study Abroad Fair 2012—The Frontline of Foreign Study in Europe is an event, which seeks to introduce such merits and send large numbers of Japanese students to Europe. The Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst (DAAD or German Academic) Exchange Service serves as the window in Germany for this program. A special request was made to the Director of the Japanese Office of DAAD to give an introduction during Germany Week on topics including academic programs in Germany and the importance and appeal of international exchange. It will be a great opportunity to directly ask questions and voice concerns regarding subjects such as foreign study, life in a foreign country and scholarships. I look forward to participation of large numbers of students who are considering studying the German language or conducting research activities in Germany.
The 21st century is an era in which rapid globalization and the resulting global culture are important keywords. I hope that many students will participate in the upcoming events and will confirm their place within global society.
Tentative timetable for the International Week
June 16th (Sat.) Lecture: New Germany; given by Director of the Tokyo Goethe Institute
June 18th (Mon.) Film: Yellow Cake—The Lie About Clean Energy, screening and debate
June 19th (Tues.) Lecture: Nuclear Policy and Cultural Movements in Germany (the film Unseen Cloud will also be shown)
June 20th (Wed.) Lecture: German Ambassador to Japan
June 20th (Wed.) Film: Under Control—Nuclear Dismantling Manual, screening and debate
June 21st (Thurs.) Film: The Story of a Japanese-German Judge, nuclear judicial proceedings
June 21st (Thurs.) Lecture: The Danger of Concentrated Power; given by the Director of the Office of the Secretariat in North Rhine-Westphalia
June 22nd (Fri.) Film: Energy Autonomy: The 4th Revolution; screening and debate
June 23rd (Sat.) Lecture: German Studies at Chuo University Prior to WWII
June 23rd (Sat.) Lecture: Director of the Japanese Office of DAAD, Japanese Office of DFG
June 23rd (Sat.) Music: Poems, Visual Images and Music
Other scheduled events:
1. Lecture: The Conductor Wilhelm Furtwängler and German Classic Music
2. Lecture & Debate: Citizens and Law in East Germany
3. Exhibition of German-related works presented by Chuo University Central Library & the Germany Poster Exhibition
4. Germany Fair at the cooperative shop
5. Commemorative lecture by recipient of the Humboldt Prize
6. Exhibition of teaching material from instructors of German language at Chuo University prior to WWII
7. Exhibition by foreign students from Germany/Presentation by Japanese students who have studied in Germany
8. Lecture to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the birth of Ogai Mori
Professor of German Language, Literature & Theatre, Faculty of Commerce, Chuo University
Born in Gunma Prefecture in 1954. Graduate from the Department of German Literature at the Faculty of Letters, Chuo University. After studying at the Chuo University Graduate School, entered the University of Vienna Graduate School. Areas of expertise include German literature, theatre studies and comparative culture studies. Holds a PhD (academics). Current research themes include musical theatre such as opera, operetta and singspiel. Holds positions such as member of the International Nestroy-Gesellschaft Association, honorary member of the Raimund Association, member of the Grillparzer Association and member of the expert panel at the New National Theatre, Tokyo. Also a member of the Executive Committee for the German International Week.
His numerous written/translated works include Collection of Nestroy Comical Theatre (Kohro-sha Publishing), Complete Collection of Raimund Comical Theatre (Chuo University Publishing), The World of Opera & Parody (Rikkyo University Publishing), Biedermeier in the Habsburg Empire (Chuo University Publishing), German Laughter and Japanese Laughter (Matsumoto Kobo Publishing), Vienna and the Viennese (Chuo University Publishing). Co-writer.