Archival Statement (as of 2016)
At the end of academic year 2015, I am retiring from my position as a tenured Full Professor of Anthropology at Shibaura Institute of Technology, Tokyo, Japan. Below, for the record, my approach to the research lab.
Grassroots-initiated social movements (in Japan) working for progressive social transformation.
The choice of topic is yours. General areas of socially relevant research would include a wide range of issues related to: gender; war and peace; environment; human rights; Third World solidarity; ethics in science and technology; alternative media; health and quality of life.
If you feel that you would like to conduct primary research related to some aspect of socio-cultural change in Japan, and would like to explore the possibilities in designing an innovative anthropological fieldwork research project, I will be happy to work with you. Although your fieldwork research will most likely be conducted in Japanese, the research report can be written in either English or Japanese.
Methodologically, anthropological research incorporates the technique of “participant observation research” conducted over a period of at least several months. It is argued that the researcher needs time to gain the trust and confidence of his/her research subjects, and establish a degree of rapport necessary to obtain information that truly reflects the feelings and opinions of members of the group being studied. Thus, by actually participating in the activities that the study group engages in, rather than just observing as an outsider, the researcher gains access to the feelings and emotions being experienced by the research subjects themselves. In addition to participant observation research, anthropologists often incorporate the voices of the research subjects themselves into the analysis (through listening to life histories or by means of open-ended interviews).
Before engaging in the fieldwork research project, the researcher must obtain as much background information as possible on the proposed research topic, build on past research findings (if any exist), and decide upon an appropriate theoretical approach. This will involve extensive library research as well as web-based research if applicable.
- You will choose your own research topic.
- We will meet once a week so that you may obtain feedback on the progress of your research.
- I will advise you and work closely with you, but the research will be done entirely by you.
- Once you decide upon a research topic, you will conduct library as well as web-based research if applicable to obtain as much information as possible on the proposed research topic.
- I will advise you on an appropriate theoretical approach.
- You will then engage in fieldwork research using the techniques of participant observation and open-ended interviews.
- After the fieldwork research is completed, you will write up an analysis of your research experience (in English or in Japanese)
- Gain insights into the process of culture creation.
- Learn more about yourself in relation to others and better understand your place in society.
- Contribute to the community of social scientists as well as to society in general by presenting analysis of data not available elsewhere.
- Conducting primary research related to some aspect of socio-cultural change in Japan may have broader implications of great social relevance.