Message from the President
The National Institutes for the Humanities (NIHU) is a comprehensive
research hub for the humanities. Transcending traditional academic
lines and incorporating the perspective of the environment, it brings
together scholarship in the various fields of the human sciences with the
aim of developing new paradigms of research for tackling the many difficult
problems of the twenty-first century resulting from the complex
interaction of the history of human affairs with the natural world.
NIHU is now in its twelfth year since its establishment and in the final year of its Second Medium-Term (six-year) Plan. Since 2014, we have been working to assess and sum up the experience gained over the past eleven years as well as to prepare for a new research system to be launched during the Third Medium-Term Plan starting with the coming fiscal year (April 2016).
NIHU serves as the umbrella organization for six inter-university joint-use institutions engaged in research in diverse aspects of the human sciences: The National Museum of Ethnology (Minpaku, located in Senri, Osaka); the National Museum of Japanese History (Rekihaku, in Sakura, Chiba); the International Research Center for Japanese Studies (Nichibunken, in the Katsurazaka neighborhood of Kyoto); the Research Institute for Humanity and Nature (RIHN, in the Kamigamo neighborhood of Kyoto), the National Institute of Japanese Literature (NIJL, in Tachikawa, Tokyo), and the National Institute for Japanese Language and Linguistics (NINJAL, in Tachikawa, Tokyo). Each of the institutes has researchers specializing in diverse fields, and each has developed a distinctive style of research. The institutes consider it their shared mission to achieve synthesis across different research fields, excellence in research and education, advancement of shared use and collaborative research functions, and promotion of close linkages with and contributions
to society. They are all now engaged in efforts to build new paradigms for the human sciences.
In Ningen Bunka Kenkyū Kikō no arikata [A Model for NIHU], compiled in March 2013, NIHU sets
forth its main areas of emphasis as (1) pursuit of new developments in integrated research, (2) promotion of linkages and collaborations with institutions overseas, (3) responses to the digital age, (4) strengthening of interactive linkages with society, and (5) training of young researchers to take the lead in the future.
Strengthening these functions and contributing thereby to improvement of the quality of our intellectual
community has been NIHU’s basic policy. As we have acted to translate this policy into reality, our image
of what needs to be done in the Third Medium-term Plan period has become more and more concrete.
NIHU strives to take advantage of opportunities afforded by the Japanese administrative reforms that reorganized national universities and research centers into National University Corporations and Inter- University Research Institute Corporation. In order to enrich humanity, society, and the environment, and to reconstruct human culture creatively, we seek to transcend the old boundaries of academic disciplines, societies, and customs. We will be most grateful for your continued support and goodwill.
National Institutes for the Humanities
The National Institutes for the Humanities logo is comprised of a circle and the Japanese kanji character representing humankind. The circle represents strength, harmony and permanence, and gently wraps itself around “humankind”. The powerfully brush stroked character “humankind” in the circle is the calligraphy of Kukai (774-835), a famous Japanese monk, scholar, poet and artist.
It is used here as a symbol for humanity and knowledge. The color green represents nature and peace of mind while the logo in its entirety expresses the old and the new and softness alongside sharpness.
* The kanji character “humankind” as written by Kukai is taken from one of his works titled “Cui Zi-Yu’s Beliefs” which has been designated an important cultural property and is kept by the Houkiin Temple on Mount Kōya. The character is used with the permission of the Houkiin Temple.