Inter-Institutional Research (second midium-term Period )

Comprehensive Research on Human Cultural Resources

Research under this theme assesses the history of humankind from the viewpoint of the development and use of diverse resources. Studies examine anew the practices, institutions, and relevant concepts/values of various eras and different parts of the world in terms of their relationship to the use of resources. Research teams have been organized to identify new avenues of research in documentary resources, daily life artifacts, and visual resources.


A Historical Synthesis of Nature and Culture in Asia

Nature has been the ultimate source of human wellbeing throughout Asia. The great cultural diversity of Asia, and Japan, was born of many specific and longstanding patterns of human interaction with the natural environment. This is an important, but lesserstudied,
dimension of human culture. How have human perceptions of nature evolved through time, as individuals and communities have sought to protect themselves from hardship, expand their control over nature, and improve their wellbeing?

These questions are investigated in three areas:

I. Ideas and perceptions of nature embedded in language
II. Incorporation of nature into culture
III. Creation and governance of commons and common resources

Research in the Human Sciences on Catastrophic Disasters

Since the time of the Great East Japan Earthquake in March 2011,a number of large-scale disasters have occurred in various parts of the country. As researchers studying human culture, how should we deal with disaster? This requires careful consideration and the respect for diverse views that is characteristic of the “human sciences,”covering studies of history, literature, folklore, linguistics,
museums, and environment. In order to accomplish this mission, we started this research project in April of 2012. The activities of the past three years have focused on

(A) Research on reconstruction and revival of local culture and environment;

(B) Research on museum activities and collaborations;

(C) Research on the preservation and use of materials. These activities are introduced in
Saigai ni manabu (Learning from disaster; Bensei Shuppan).