Donnerstag, 24. November 2022, 18:30 - 20:00 iCal

u:japan lectures s05e08 - Barbara Holthus

Furry Companions: Pets in Contemporary Japan

24.11.2022 18:30 - 20:00

A hybrid u:japan lecture by Barbara Holthus (German Institute for Japanese Studies Tokyo).

Department of East Asian Studies, Japanese Studies (2.4), Seminarraum 1
Spitalgasse 2, Hof 2.4 (Campus) , 1090 Vienna

Hybrider Event (an einem physischen Ort und online)

| Abstract |

The accelerated interest in pets in especially urban Japan has not started with the pandemic but certainly has been intensified by it. For more than two years, as anti-Covid measures, Japanese had been told to engage in physical distancing and “self-restraint”. This has led to many people spending extended periods of time at home while less time with family and friends. In response, pets as “substitute” family members often helped to fill the void in human-human interaction. While the U.S. and some European countries reported near-empty animal shelters in the early phase of the pandemic due to a sudden spike in people adopting an animal, Japanese animal shelters saw less of that – as Japanese remain more inclined to “shop” a new family member at a pet shop than adopt a shelter animal.

The growing popularity of pets, together with the accompanying normative, social, and legal changes regarding pet ownership within Japanese society are the focus of this presentation. Data comes from interviews with pet owners, pet-business owners, shelter organizations and their volunteers, from participant observation at pet-related public events, in pet shops and pet cafes, as well as from the analysis of publications by the Ministry of the Environment, the National Police Agency, but also from sources such as Instagram, YouTube, as well as manga and TV dorama. This presentation tries to highlight the embeddedness and changing role of pets in Japanese society.



| Bio |

Barbara Holthus, PhD in Sociology, Univ. of Hawaii at Manoa, is deputy director at the German Institute for Japanese Studies in Tokyo. Her research is on Japanese families, demographic change, happiness and wellbeing, the Tokyo Olympics, and social movements. Currently she is writing a book on pets in Japan.


| Date & Time |

u:japan lecture | s05e08

Thursday 2022-11-24, 18:30~20:00

max. 50 participants (on site) + max. 300 participants (online)


| Place & Preparations |

LIVE @ Campus of the University of Vienna

Department of East Asian Studies, Japanese Studies

Seminarraum JAP 1, 2K-EG-21, Ground floor to the left

Spitalgasse 2, Hof 2.4 (Campus), 1090 Vienna, Austria


Please bear in mind, that strict Covid19-precautions are enforced, therefore bring and wear a FFP2-mask and comply to university's house rules. Please visit these links for university's special and general information regarding the current restrictions.


| Plattform & Link |

... and STREAMED online

Meeting-ID: 616 8168 0042 | 330066


| Further Questions? |

Please contact or visit

Zur Webseite der Veranstaltung


Institut für Ostasienwissenschaften/Japanologie und AAJ (Akademischer Arbeitskreis Japan)


u:japan lectures
Department of East Asian Studies
Japanese Studies