Research activities

GROUP02Contemporary Society Group

Ethnographic and sociological studies
of small-scale communities and small-scale food
production systems will be conducted to understand
the complex inter-relationships among cultural and natural contributors in contemporary urban and rural settings.

Chemical and scientific studies of the human impacts on the environment will also be conducted.


Research on food and subsistence in mountainous and coastal areas are being conducted in Iwate Prefecture (e.g., Joboji, the Hei River Valley, and Otsuchi), Fukushima Prefecture (e.g., Soma, and Iwaki) and other parts of northeastern Japan. We are particularly interested in small-scale food production farming and fishing communities and the resilience and future perspectives of the members of these communities. In addition, a series of interviews with organic farmers in Nihonmatsu and Minami-Soma in Fukushima Prefecture were conducted to learn the damage of and responses to the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear accident.

TEAMComparative Studies

Research to assess the potential of urban farming for increasing local food security, as well as its limiting factors is in progress through interviews, participant observation and experiments. Members of this team have also started preliminary research on wild food use (e.g., acorns) and environmental management by native people in California and Alaska.