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Civil Society and Alternative Politics since 3.11

The March 2011 Great East Japan earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear disaster had a tremendous impact on Japanese society and politics. This research project addresses the dynamics in Japan’s alternative political sphere triggered by the complex disaster, with a particular interest in mobilization-related issues. Three different perspectives are considered: Firstly, from a network perspective, the project traces mobilization processes at the intergroup level of the anti-nuclear movement and sheds light on the vital cooperative networking among Japanese civic groups and social movement organizations. Secondly, from an actor’s perspective, media strategies of social movement actors – in particular concerning their approach to traditional and internet-based media – are of interest. Thirdly, from a sociology of law perspective, the project discusses the use of law as social movement strategy in the aftermath of the triple disaster. Following this comprehensive approach, the project contributes to differentiating views on Japanese civil society and alternative politics.

Principle Researcher: Anna Wiemann


  • Fieldwork for this project was supported through graduate scholarships by German Institute for Japanese Studies (DIJ) (2013-2014) and Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology in Japan (MEXT) (2014-2016).
  • The international conference within this project received funding by the Fritz-Thyssen-Stiftung and Universität Zürich.



Wiemann, A. (2018): Networks and Mobilization Processes: The Case of the Japanese Anti-Nuclear Movement after Fukushima. München: Iudicium.

Journal papers and book chapters:

  • Wiemann, A. and K. Sahin (2021, forthcoming): Betroffenenbewegungen und das Recht: ‚Heimatverlust‘ als Schaden in der Nariwai-Sammelklage gegen TEPCO und den Staat. In: Chiavacci, D. and I. Wieczorek (eds.) Japan 2021. Politik, Wirtschaft und Gesellschaft. München: Iudicium.
  • Wiemann, A. (2020): Smartphones versus NHK? Mobilization Strategies of the Japanese Anti-nuclear Movement under Abe’s Restrictive Media Policy. In: Contemporary Japan 32(1), 128-140.
  • Wiemann, A. (2017): Mit dem Smartphone gegen NHK? – Mobilisierungsstrategien der japanischen Anti-Atomkraftbewegung unter Abes restriktiver Medienpolitik. In: Heinrich, Steffen; Vogt, Gabriele (eds.): Japan in der Ära Abe. Eine politikwissenschaftliche Analyse. München: Iudicium, 184-202.
  • Wiemann, A. (2017): Zivilgesellschaft in Japan: Schlaglichter auf ein bewegtes Forschungsfeld. In: ASIEN The German Journal on Contemporary Asia 144 (July 2017), 105-118.
  • Wiemann, A. (2016): From Disaster to Opportunity: The Role of Civic Organizations in Movement Mobilization from the Perspective of Hope Studies. In: Journal for Japanese Studies 6 (March 2016), International Center for Japanese Studies, Tokyo University of Foreign Studies, 111-123.



  • Change and Continuity 10 Years after 3.11. Virtual Annual Conference of the German Association for Social Science Research on Japan (VSJF) in cooperation with Japanese-German Center Berlin (JDZB), 2021/03/19, organized by A. Wiemann, F. Koppenborg (TU Munich) and T. Weiss (Heidelberg University). For conference recording see JDZB Youtube channel.


  • Smartphones vs. NHK? Mobilization strategies of the Japanese anti-nuclear movement under Abe’s restrictive media policy. At: European Association of Japanese Studies (EAJS) Conference 2021 Ghent, 2021/08/25, Online. (Wiemann)
  • How to Capture Mobilization Processes at the Intergroup Level of a Social Movement? Development and Application of a Network Mobilization Model to the Japanese Anti-Nuclear Movement after Fukushima. At: International Network for Social Network Analysis (INSNA) Virtual Sunbelt 2020, Session Chairs: Mario Diani, David Tindall, 2020/07/13, Online. (Wiemann)
  • (Roundtable Moderation) Transnational Environmental Movements and Young People: The case of Fridays for Future in Germany and Japan. At: Japanese-German Center Berlin, 2020/03/05, Berlin. (Wiemann)
  • Netzwerkstrukturen der Zivilgesellschaft nach Fukushima: Aus alt mach neu? At: Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München, Research Colloquium, 2020/01/23, Munich. (Wiemann)
  • Wandel in der Zivilgesellschaft Japans? Das Ereignis Fukushima und seine Folgen. At: Philipps-Universität Marburg, Lecture series „Konflikte in Gegenwart und Zukunft“, 2018/12/10, Marburg. (Wiemann)
  • The Network-Coalition e-shift: A New Form of Social Movement Organization? At: Universität Duisburg-Essen, 2018/11/7, Duisburg. (Wiemann)
  • Die japanische Zivilgesellschaft nach Fukushima. At: Universität Hamburg, 2017/09/15, Hamburg. (Wiemann)
  • Networking for Citizen Empowerment: Structures and Strategies of Japan’s Less Visible Anti-Nuclear Movement. At: Jagiellonian University, 2017/05/05, Krakau/Poland. (Wiemann)
  • Für Atomausstieg und Opferrechte: Advocacy-Netzwerke und ihre Dynamiken nach Fukushima. At: Federal Agency for Civic Education at Hamburg and Universität Hamburg, Lecture series „Politischer Protest und gesellschaftliches Engagement in Japan“, 2017/04/24, Hamburg. (Wiemann)
  • Network-Building in Movement Waves: The Japanese Anti-Nuclear Movement after Fukushima. At: International Conference on Cross-Movement Mobilization, 2017/04/07, Bochum. (Wiemann)
  • Organizational Structures of the Japanese Anti-Nuclear Movement after Fukushima. At: Annual Conference of the German Association for Social Science Research on Japan, 2016/11/18-20, Duisburg. (Wiemann)
  • From Disaster to Opportunity: Social Movement Organizations as Hope Agents. At: 3rd ISA Forum of Sociology, 2016/07/12, Vienna/Austria. (Wiemann)
  • Media Strategies of Movement Actors in Times of Increasing Mass Media (Self-)Control: The Case of the Japanese Anti-nuclear Movement since the 2011 Fukushima Disaster. At: 3rd ISA Forum of Sociology, 2016/07/11, Vienna/Austria. (Wiemann)
  • Das Internet als Ausweg? Medienstrategien japanischer Anti-Atomkraft-Akteure in Zeiten erhöhter medialer (Selbst)Kontrolle. 16th Deutschsprachiger Japanologentag, 2015/08/27, Munich. (Wiemann)
  • The Japanese Anti-Nuclear Movement – Mobilization Processes After Fukushima. German Institute for Japanese Studies (DIJ), Social Science Study Group, 2015/05/14, Tokyo/Japan. (Wiemann)