Research at Tokyo College - Tokyo College

Research at Tokyo College

2022.01.05
HANEDA Masashi

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You may have noticed that an interesting new batch of information was recently uploaded to the Tokyo College website. At the top of our homepage on the second row, there are links to several pages beginning with "About us"; to the far right, you will find the word "Research". If you click here, you can jump to a section that introduces research currently being conducted at Tokyo College.

In this section, the various research activities of Tokyo College are summarized in four categories and explained in detail. Research summaries and results were previously introduced separately on Tokyo College members’ pages or in announcements at public lectures. For that reason, unless one had carefully collected and systematically organized this information, it was difficult to grasp the full picture of Tokyo College research activities. However, courtesy of this newly created section, this information is now housed almost entirely under one roof, including ongoing research projects. The following is a brief introduction to the contents of this section.

The first category is Research Themes (研究テーマ). Tokyo College has five priority research themes, including “Digital Revolution and Future of Humanity” and “Life and its Value for Human Society.” In this category, we introduce the breadth of Tokyo College’s diverse research projects and their outcomes as summarized according to these five themes. The main contents of this category are summaries of individual and joint research projects, blogs, and descriptions of previously held lectures and symposia. You can think of this category as an overview of the research done at Tokyo College.

The second category is Individual Projects (個人研究). This section, which is arranged by specific topic, provides summaries of individual projects currently being carried out by the various Tokyo College researchers, as well as their research outcomes. Here, you can see diversity of research being carried out at the College every day, with topics ranging from early modern Christian literature in translation to the next generation of computers. That being said, the projects introduced here are not the entirety of research done at Tokyo College. In fact, my own research is not yet posted. The website was completed while I was lagging behind on a manuscript, and I decided to move ahead with the publication of the website first. There are also several other College members other than myself that have not uploaded their research themes. I am certain that with the increase in new members of the College, this section will grow more complete.

The third category is Collaborative Projects (共同研究). Here, the phrase “collaborative projects” refers to multiple researchers from different academic fields focusing on a common theme and then approaching it from their own angles in order to draw out conclusions and problem-solving methods that are both comprehensive and innovative. This approach allows one to take on large, complex problems that would be difficult to tackle alone. This type of research, often referred to as “cross-disciplinary,” is a major characteristic of projects carried out at Tokyo College. The five priority research themes are in and of themselves complex and cross-disciplinary, but this category also introduces research topics that are interconnected with or perhaps even broader than those themes.

As an example, the topic of “Identity” holds some connection to all five research themes, including Digital Revolution. Since last year, I have been leading a series of presentations and discussions in an online research group on this topic, and in 2022, we will put together actual articles and publish the results of this research group in an edited volume. Researchers affiliated with the College are not the only ones who participate in joint research. Relevant researchers from both within and outside the University of Tokyo are also invited at times to join research meetings and participate in discussions.

At present, we have six collaborative research themes within this category, but it is not enough. With the cooperation of researchers within and outside the University, as well as in Japan and abroad, I hope that we uncover new themes and strengthen our framework for collaborative research. For example, themes related to the structure and workings of society, such as gender and care, and themes where collaboration between the social and natural sciences can be expected, such as food and water, are highly likely. We would very much like to hear from those outside the College regarding new joint research projects, and we look forward to receiving enthusiastic suggestions from all who read this article (masashi.haneda@tc.u-tokyo.ac.jp).

The fourth category is Distinguished Lecture Series (卓越研究者講演シリーズ). In this section, you will find lectures by outstanding researchers and intellectuals that have been held by Tokyo College. The College is currently home to four of University of Tokyo’s Distinguished Professors, and we request that they in turn share their research with the general public. We also invite Nobel laureates, such as our Honorary Director Professor Anthony LEGGETT, and researchers who are masters in their respective fields to give lectures when the opportunity presents itself. You can also find information here about lectures by researchers from Collège de France, with whom we have a reciprocal researcher exchange agreement. Many of our lectures are uploaded to the Tokyo College YouTube Channel, so please feel free to take a look.

We were able to establish this fascinating section of the website thanks to the dedicated efforts of Project Assistant Professor SHAKUTO Shiori. She drafted the overall impression of this new research section through a series of discussions with other College researchers and experts in web design, then she gathered information from researchers to complete this wonderful section almost single-handedly. For this, we are immensely grateful. By regularly updating this section, we hope to keep you informed about the “right now” of research at Tokyo College.

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