Early Modern Japanese History
Early modern society is, so to speak, the traditional society as a premise of our modern society. I study this period by focusing on Buddhism and call this theme “religious and social history."
I started by investigating the relationship of local people and the Buddhist ideas of salvation. In recent years, I have considered the relationship of Buddhist confessions and lords in the shogunate system (i.e., the relationship of church and state in early modern Japan). I also have an interest in the orders of Shinto deities and Buddhas.
English and American Literature
American Literature, American Studies
My main areas of interest are in American literature (1870-1930), Japonism, yellowface, gender and sexuality studies, and modernism. I am currently working on a book on Japonism and transnational America.
Cognitive Neuroscience, Neuropsychology, Cognitive Psychology
I am currently involved in cognitive neuroscience studies of human emotion, memory, and social interactions using various approaches including neuropsychology, functional neuroimaging, and psychophysiology.
History of Ethics, Metaphysics, Modern Ethics
I am interested in topics situated at the intersection of metaphysics and ethics, mainly, but not exclusively in Kant. These topics include the multifaceted debate on free will and determinism, the question of objectivity and realism in ethics, Kant’s transcendental idealism and his approach to moral philosophy, as well as the conception of natural practical law in Aquinas and Scotus. Currently, I am working on a monograph on the relevance of Scholastic thought for Kant’s theoretical and practical philosophy. Kant, in my opinion, is far less revolutionary than often assumed and needs to be read in the context of this tradition.
English and American Literature
American Literature, Women's Literature, Gender Studies
My main research interest is in women’s fiction in 19th-century American literature, as well as gender and sexuality issues. Currently I am also interested in the influence of American culture and literature on Japanese shojo culture from the Meiji period through the 1970s.
I study the structures of the several organic molecules in crystals using the X-ray diffraction method. In particular, it is very important to determine the absolute configuration of chiral molecules in order to establish the relationship between properties such as pharmacological activity and their absolute configurations. The enantiomers can often show different properties, where one of the isomers may be very active with a certain enzyme but the other is mainly inactive. The molecular arrangement in the crystals may be explained based on intermolecular interactions, including hydrogen-bond networks. I am also interested in the historical development of the natural sciences.
Family Sociology, Family History
The theme of my research is to analyze the conditions of the families of ordinary people in pre-industrial Japan. The subjects of my research are farmers of the Edo period. The reason for limiting the research to the Edo period is firstly because it enables us to have an understanding of the family lives of ordinary people during pre-industrialization and pre-urbanization, and also because the first historical material which makes quantitative analysis possible (sect registries), exists beginning in this period. Sect registries have been used since the 1960s as historical records to study historical demography. By utilizing these historical materials to include middle-to-lower class farmers as research targets, we aim to uncover the actual situation of “families of the past.”
Philosophy of Logic, Logic, Studies on Logical Inference
“What is logic?” This is a main question of my research. The related research questions of mine include how we think logically; how arguments, inferences, proofs are logically formed; and in what sense robots (or animals) could or could not reason logically. To investigate the above research questions, I use philosophical methods (philosophy of logic, philosophy of language, phenomenological logic) as well as mathematical methods. I am also working on some logical issues in computer science and AI to understand some aspects of logic. I use some social psychological and cognitive scientific methods for studying logical judgments and decision making. I am interested in the complementary roles of logic and sensibility.
Arts-Based Research, Sociology of Emotions, Disability Studies, Performance Studies
My research topics are life, emotions, disability, death, and memory. In addition to texts, many types of art (literature, theatre, performance, sound, contemporary art, film and photography) can be used as a method for collaborative research.
Medieval Literature, Waka Poetry (31-Syllable Verse)
I'm studying the Japanese classics that cover the period from the 11th to 17th century. My main interest is Waka, a style of Japanese poetry with a 31-syllable verse, and Yusokukojitsu, principles and precedents on manners, rituals and costumes for the ancient and medieval Japanese Imperial court. In my study, I try to focus on the context and its background of where the works were composed.
French Literature (16th Century)
I specialize in 16th-century French literature, in other words, the Renaissance era represented by François Rabelais. Monk, doctor, and writer, he is one of the multi-talented intellectuals for whom the border between sciences and letters did not exist.
My interest goes toward the interference between comic and cosmic in Rabelais' works. His exuberant style, based on both popular and humanistic traditions, tends to recognize the infinite harmony between the universe and the human being.
Recently, I am trying to compare some Rabelaisian anecdotes with Japanese stand-up "rakugo" comedy that I myself perform as a disciple of an eminent player.
Modern French Literature and Cultural History
My research focuses on French literature of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, especially the novel, and from the perspective of cultural history. History, city, landscape, orientalism, body, pathology, gender: these are the main themes of my studies. Furthermore, I am also interested in life-writing studies such as autobiography, memoirs, diary, correspondence, and self-fiction.
Japanese Modern Literature
In order to explain how gender hierarchy had been constructed and justified in the modern Japanese literature, I am researching novels by female authors, literary works contributed to editorial magazines, discourses concerned with culture, and theater arts.
Sociological Theory, Mathematical Sociology, Quantitative Sociology
I am interested in explaining macroscopic social phenomena such as institutions, social norms, and social change, using rational choice theory and game theory. I am also interested in theoretical and empirical research on social justice including social stratification and redistribution.
Cultural Anthropology, Religious Sociology, Science of Religion
My research theme is to clarify the historical phase of religiosity and spirituality in the modern world from a macro viewpoint, and to construct general theory of meditation from a micro viewpoint. Concretely, my speciality is comparative research on meditation theories including zen, the ki-energy practice of taoism, vipassana meditation (mindfulness), yoga, and spiritual exercise. I have conducted fieldwork in Japan, Korea, and in Europe, focusing on France and Overseas France. Constructing a meditation theory, I also study inter-religious dialogue and contemporary religious culture.
Philosophy of Action, Contemporary Metaphysics
My main research areas are in the philosophy of action, the philosophy of mind and rationality, the philosophy of language, and contemporary metaphysics (including event ontology, philosophy of time, and the study of the nature of values). Recently I have been interested in the problem of the relationship between time and rationality in the context of human actions or lives, and also interested in questions about death.
Literature and Theatre During the Classical Period, Comparative Fairy Tales
My research has been focused on questions of theatre and reflexivity, which include social mimesis and theatrical mimesis and representations of femininity. Another interest I have kept since childhood has led me to study folklore in literature, in particular magical mentalities in folktales, implications of the "supernatural wife (husband)" motif (AT 400-459), and media mix strategy of the fantasy industry, with a particular emphasis on the question of shared cultural and affective experience across generations.
Social History of Modern Middle East, and History of Modern Arab Societies
Focusing on the society of modern Egypt, I have studied the mutual transformation of Middle Eastern societies and the modern institution such as prisons. Now, I'm working on research about public health and agricultural development in 20th-century Egypt.
English and American Literature
North American Literature
I have been exploring North American literary fields, or literary transactions between the United States and Canada. Through reading North American literature that cross the U.S-Canadian national border, I am hopefully trying to grasp the historically complicated cross-hybridity of the two sets of national literature. This primary interest has developed into another direction: cultural transactions across the Pacific. I am especially interested in cultural exchanges between North America and Japan. I also have to confess my great fascination with kappa, or a Japanese water sprite, whose ambiguous origin and countless variations invite me to study it from a global perspective.
Aesthetics and Science of Arts
Western Art History
My major field is the history of the Italian architecture in the 16th and 17th centuries, especially that of Florence and Rome. I am also interested in the prints and sculpture of the same period. Recently, my main research concern is about the correlation between the art/architecture and science of the period, which may be best represented by the case of Galileo Galilei.
Starfish embryo have a simple body structure. Using starfish, I have been conducting experiments in order to understand the physiological functions of embryonic cells, namely the mesenchyme, muscle and neuron cells that are isolated in culture. I have analyzed the morphogenetic capability of embryonic cells to reconstruct swimming larva after an embryo has been dissociated into cells. Thus, I have focused on the cellular dynamics of animal cells to advance the developmental process. Through my research I hope to contribute to science, one of the cultural heritages of mankind.
Ancient Greek Philosophy
My main aim is to shed light upon some fundamental concepts such as mind, nature, virtue, reason, etc. both from the historical and philosophical points of view. Now I am working on Aristotle’s natural philosophy, in particular his zoological writings, by way of focusing on the problems of normativity in the natural world.
Social Stratification and Mobility, Comparative Sociology, Sociology of Law
I am interested in using data analysis to uncover otherwise invisible social structures. My main research is concerned with the structural inequality of educational, occupational, and economical attainment between generations and the resulting disparities.
Modern German Literature and Literary Theory. Media Studies
I do research on German literature and German theoretical thinking from the viewpoint of the media history. Media are a historical a priori for writing and thinking. Media history from printing by way of analog media to digital media changed the relationship of time and space immensely. I try to observe and describe the influences media history has exerted on literary and theoretical discourses.