Department of Ainu and Indigenous Studies

All around the world, over 5,000 indigenous groups are currently living within over 70 different countries around the world. “Indigenous studies” is a relatively new field of study which engages in dealing with the broad set of issues related to indigenous peoples, including cultural resources, lifestyle, and environment, as well as their economic and social development. Various different methods of research and a broad array of perspectives are required for research in this field. Thus, at the Department of Ainu and Indigenous Studies, researchers specializing in fields such as history, linguistics, cultural anthropology, museum studies, legal studies, and archaeology all work together to conduct multi-disciplinary research on not only the Ainu, but indigenous groups from around the world.

Laboratory of Ainu and Indigenous Studies

Message from Laboratory

The Ainu and other Indigenous peoples have been subjected to an unfair history under the modern state. The current situation of Indigenous peoples stems from various factors such as the policies of modern nations and modern studies-induced prejudice as well as ethnic majority. Improving their circumstances and probing into ways to solve problems constitute an important challenge to all people who live in the present and future society.

The course of Ainu and Indigenous studies is not only a course of the Graduate School but also an educational unit of the Center for Ainu and Indigenous Studies established in 2007. In 2020, the center concluded a research agreement with the Ainu National Museum (in Shiraoi Town). In 2021, the Global Station for Ainu and Cultural Diversity Studies will be launched as a hub of international Indigenous studies. We are determined to cultivate human resources who can acquire profound knowledge and intellect related to Ainu, Indigenous peoples and cultural diversity in improved research environments as well as who can play an active role in the present and future society.

Faculty List

  • KATO Hirofumi Professor
    Research Fields: Indigenous archaeology, Cultural Heritage issues
  • KITAHARA Mokottunas Professor
    Research Fields: Religion of Ainu people, Ainu language, Oral literature
  • YAMASAKI Koji Professor
    Research Fields: Ainu material culture,Cultural anthropology,Museum studies
  • ISHIHARA Mai Associate Professor
    Research Fields: Cultural anthropology, indigenous research
  • OCHIAI Ken-ichi Associate Professor
    Research Fields: Law of Indigenous Peoples, Constitution
  • TANGIKU Itsuji Associate Professor
    Research Fields: Oral literature, linguistics (documentation and description of Ainu language and Nivkh language).
  • MINOSHIMA Hideki Associate Professor
    Research Fields: Ainu history, Northeast Asian history, Ancient Japanese history