Report: The 2nd Humanities and Social Sciences Research Development & Promotion Forum

On March 17, the 2nd Field of Humanities and social sciences Research Development & Promotion Forum held at Tsukuba International Congress Center and it turned out to be a great success!

Sponsor: Institute for Comparative Research in Human and Social Sciences (ICR)
Cosponsor: University of Tsukuba URA, Kyoto University URA (KURA), Osaka University URA, Waseda University URA


This forum intended for researchers related to Humanities and social sciences researches, URA and administrative staff to discuss and act together to search the better way to promote their researches.

There are two reasons to hold this kind of forum.  One reason is that we’ve heard a lot of voices from researchers that research promotions at universities are mainly proceed by logics in science.  Another reason is that URAs in Japan are starting to connect beyond the university barriers and discuss “What could URAs do to help researches of humanities and social sciences?”

At this second forum, “Think Two or Three Steps Forward in Humanities and social sciences Research Development” was the whole theme of the forum and all the participants worked and thought together to make their own ideal images of the field of humanities and social sciences in the near future and ways to realize them.  40 participants from URA and 14 researchers plus administrative staff members and furtherance organization staffs attended this forum.  Total 60 people gathered beyond their framework.

We could conclude neither a specific future vision of Japan’s humanities and social sciences or ways of realizing no ways of realizing it but the result of this forum was fruitful, because a lot of great different ideas had been given.  We believe that having a place to discuss beyond the job descriptions and organizations would help the humanities and social sciences progress ourselves in the near future.  We are planning to hold the 3rd and the 4th forum, so we are looking forward a lot of people joining us and exchanging ideas!

We would like to report some of the lectures and group discussion that were held at the forum. (Please click the links for more details.)


Keynote lecture

 “Crisis of Humanities and Social Sciences”

Akira Yoshikawa/Vice President and Executive Director for Finance and Facilities










Crisis of Humanities and Social Sciences
Open Science and Humanities and Social Sciences
Requests for Humanities and Social Sciences



Keynote lecture

 “How Should Researchers and URA Overcome Problem Solving Type Projects that they Produce –What to think and how to act”

Shiro Honda / The Toyota Foundation chief program officer










The roles of URA = to produce problem solving type projects
Points in evaluating plans
Messages to researchers and URA



 “Developing the Presence of Humanities and Social Sciences by Using the Best of its Strong Points and Social Roles”

 Professor Yutaka Tsujinaka /Director of Institute for Comparative Research in Human and Social Sciences (ICR)










The limitation of hermeneutics social science in Japan
Ryouzanpaku: Free natural features of University of Kyushu and its research ideas that led today
Knight-errantry: International comparative studies at Cornel University
Value your starting point and originality
Meet people and learn from people
Meet demands from overseas
Making network cooperative research systems which are structured by pluralistic talents

“If you wish to do international joint researches, your theme must to be something that is also important to people in overseas. To realize this kind of international researches, pluralistic talents (nationalities, age…) are necessary.  I would like those who work as URA, please put your eyes on international movements (such as UN) and give update information to researchers.”


“Developing Interdisciplinary Research in Humanities and Social Sciences from Study of Aging Point of View”

Professor Takeshi Nakagawa/ Osaka University Graduate School of Human Sciences










Interdisciplinary research in aging study
Why interdisciplinary researches are needed?
Challenges and Prospects in aging study
Developing researches in humanities and social sciences in aging study

Click here for the materials distributed at the forum


“The Importance of Interdisciplinary Research and Social Sciences in Environmental Problems”

Professor Masahiro Amano / Waseda University School of Human Sciences










System of environmental study
What is environmental studies
Needs of environmental studies
Generating process of interdisciplinary researches: spontaneous bottom up projects and systematic top down projects
The necessities of section which organize facilitations

Click here for the materials distributed at the forum


Group Discussion

“Think Two or Three Steps Forward in Humanities and social sciences Research Development”


The title of whole group discussion was “Think Two or Three Steps Forward in Humanities and social sciences Research Development” and the participants were divided into 8 groups (for example: international joint research, interdisciplinary researches, solving social problems…) and had lively discussions.  First each group made “future plan 3 to 5 years from now” and then what would be merits to the humanities and social sciences, what should we do within this one or two years to realize them and who should we present the ideas to.  After the discussion in group, each group presented their plans and all the participants shared them together.