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.
Family Sociology, Family History, Historical Demography
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.”
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.
Catalytic Chemistry, Porous Materials
Inorganic porous materials such as zeolites are widely used as solid catalysts and adsorbents. Controlling shapes and structures of the porous materials forms new functions. I am developing porous materials with new shapes and new structures such as hollow and rattle-type structures, and developing new usages such as solid catalysts and adsorbents with high performance, vessels for controlled release and microreactors.
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.
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.
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.
Aesthetic Science, Cognitive Neuroscience, Experimental Psychology
I am studying the psychology of the subjective and aesthetic experience and its association with brain mechanisms. I am mostly interested in the psychological and neurobiological aspects of beauty, the appearance of attractiveness in faces and bodies, social attributions, and human perception. My main methodological techniques are psychophysical experiments with fMRI, EEG, eye-tracking, and motion capture. Human subjectivity is vague and easily influenced. We are pursuing applied research that will elucidate mind and brain functions concerned with the relationship and causality of these factors.
Western Medieval History
I am an agnostic who wondered and still wonders at the Christian believers. My main interest is what and why the medieval Europeans believed what they did. Reading especially the writings of the medieval religious, I want to understand their frame of their mind. Also what interests me is how a modern way of thinking emerged out of the theocentric solution at the close of the middle ages.
Library and Information Science
I am interested in the theory and technology of information retrieval, especially statistical techniques for enhancing retrieval performance. More specifically, I have proposed some algorithms for cross-language information retrieval in which the language of a search query is different from that used in the documents being searched. Automatic clustering of documents is another one of my research topics. For example, I have recently conducted experiments using clustering algorithms that generate a tree structure from a large-scale document collection.
Medical Anthropology, History of Psychiatry
I am a medical anthropologist with interests encompassing the anthropology of science, biomedicine and psychiatry; depression and suicide; aging and dementia; and global health and preventive medicine. My book Depression in Japan (Princeton Univ. Press, 2012) examines the rise of depression and the emergence of psychiatry as a force of social transformation in Japan. My current project on dementia investigates the changing landscape of aging in the genomic age and the global psychiatrization of the life cycle.
My research interest lies in the semantic-pragmatic interface (conditional, metaphor, proverb, anaphora, implicature, etc.), with special reference to the French literary language. My account has been developed within the Theory of Semantic Blocks, a framework advocated by Marion Carel, which incorporates the key insights of Oswald Ducrot's argumentation-based semantics.