Department of Cultural Diversity Studies

The Department of Cultural Diversity Studies is made up of “Cultural Anthropology”, “Aesthetics and History of Art”, and “Museum Studies”. While these are three very different fields, each laboratory in this department educates students based on the shared principles concerning〈Cultural Diversity〉and〈Fieldwork〉. “Cultural Anthropology” studies the plurality of – and the common points shared between – cultures around the world. “Aesthetics and Art History” researches the various fine arts, such as music, art, and drama, both East and West, Modern and Classic. “Museum Studies” displays the results of these two research fields in various museums exhibits. These research fields do not only involve reading at one’s desk. Rather, students are able to conduct research by engaging in on-site fieldwork.

Laboratory of Cultural Anthropology

All over the world, humanity has constructed a vast array of different cultures. “Cultural Anthropology” is a field which aims to study such cultural diversity by allowing the researchers to put themselves right in the middle of other cultures. By stepping outside of the world that we are familiar with, we become able to see the diversity inherent in the human race, thus making it possible for us to better understand our increasingly global society. In this way, the Laboratory of Cultural Anthropology is a free and creative research environment that offers students a chance to partake in this experience.

Message from Laboratory

Our words are spun from experience, in which we physically engage with a living site (the field of fieldwork); Our research brings forth knowledge and wisdom with a firm base in reality, work that takes time and effort but is fun and rewarding. This work, Cultural Anthropology, begins with wonder. When researchers keep close a sense of wonder, they can experience a thrilling moment in which their sense of what is normal is spun on its head, and the world appears to them in a different way. With this shared ideal, the students and faculty at the Cultural Anthropology laboratory each investigate something unique and of their own genuine interest while supporting each other in their varied processes.
Won’t you join us on this journey of freedom and creativity?

Terraced fields of Sarhua village in Peruvian Andes, March 2020. When I visited this village fiest time, I was deeply impressed by its sense of security. Later I heard that this village was also involved in the armed conflict from 1980, its resillience became visible. (Oda)
I learned how to trapping in the winter forest of the Yukon Territory from Canada First Nation’s elder. (Yamaguchi)
A pole dance performance by pole dancers Erika Relax and Nikuno Harami, and the Cultural Anthropology Lab’s Associate Professor Caitlin Coker, held at Kyoto Kiyamachi’s Urbanguild on March 4th, 2020. The performance’s theme became “Metamorphosis into Human” as we were making it, and we ended up with a performance that was also Anthropology in action. This scene is about eating.  Photo by Kohki Utsu.  (Coker)

Faculty List

  • YAMAGUCHI Mikako Professor
    Research Fields: Anthropology of Animal, Hunter and gatherers culture, North American Indigenous People, Art
  • ODA Hiroshi Professor
    Research Fields: anthropology, peace research, ethnography methodology
  • COKER Caitlin Christine Associate Professor
    Research Fields: Anthropology, Embodiment, Performance Studies, Affect Theory
  • TANAKA Yumi Assistant Professor
    Research Fields: Anthropology, trees and people, art, Research of the Nordic indigenous people

Laboratory of Aesthetics and History of Art

The three faculty members in the Laboratory of Aesthetics and History of Art specialize in aesthetics, the history of Western art, and the history of modern aesthetics, respectively. This laboratory aims to observe the art-works and concepts of beauty as something which can show us the fruitful creations produced by humanity’s diverse set of cultures. To this end, members of this laboratory combine theoretical, universalized, and philosophical methods with positivistic, individuated, and historical methods in order to pursue a comprehensive knowledge of aesthetics and the history of art.

Message from Laboratory

Our laboratory carries out inspection on artistic works at home and overseas. We are waiting for those who are interested in various arts from ancient and medieval to modern times, including architecture, landscapes, music, theater and movies.

Visit to an artist’s studio (Sakhalin, Russia)
Exhibition survey (Sculpture Projects Münster, Germany)
Visit to a medieval town (San Gimignano, Italy)

Faculty List

  • YAKOU Hisashi Professor
    Research Fields: History of Art
  • ASANUMA Keiko Professor
    Research Fields: Aesthetics/history of art
  • IMAMURA Nobutaka Associate Professor
    Research Fields: Aesthetics, Art Theory, Museum Studies

laboratory of Museum Studies

At the Laboratory of Museum Studies, we are currently considering new methods for evaluating and creating museums that could be applicable to modern museum mission statements. We are undertaking this task by both conducting surveys of resources, works, and indexes, as well as by conducting fieldwork. We are also working to find new possible approaches we can take when working in museum studies, as well as to provide an upgraded version of the basic knowledge given in the Course for Prospective Museum Workers.

Message from Laboratory

Museums are mysterious places. Personally relating experiences at museums helps to create a story that matches what is in one’s mind. Letting someone else with different experiences join in the storytelling is at times effective at enriching the experiences of both parties. Furthermore, additional experiences and acquired knowledge are conducive to reweaving personal museum experiences to create a new story. Time spent at a museum is like a moment when you feel as if a wonderful seed has been sown in a person’s mind.

The Recommendation Concerning the Protection and Promotion of Museums and Collections, Their Diversity and Their Role in Society adopted by UNESCO in 2015 and the Basic Act for the Promotion of Culture and the Arts established in 2017 have raised expectations for museums. Not only the intrinsic value of museums but also their instrumental value derived from the role they play as a place of social inclusion and that as a tool to bolster the image of tourist cities are emphasized. Expectations for museums to serve as a lubricant in society are also growing.

Addressing museums with the micro- and macro-world as a research topic is what makes museum studies appealing.

Mental fixed-point observation through the appreciation of a permanent exhibition (Kawai Kanjiro’s House in Kyoto)
Visitation to different museums as an exhibition creator (“Distance #the Story of Learning and Distance” Exhibition
How do kindergarten children experience museums? (at the entrance of the Hokkaido University Museum)

Faculty List

  • SASAKI Toru Specially Appointed Professor
    Research Fields: (1) Museum Management (2) Cultural Anthropolog
  • HISAI Atsuyo Associate Professor
    Research Fields: History and Culture of Wildlife, Museology
  • CHO Yenling Lecturer
    Research Fields: Museum Studies