Nikkei Global Literature: Diaspora, Race, Identity & Belonging (Principle Investigator, Kyoto Notre Dame University)
This project employs an innovative research methodology that combines close reading and digital textual analysis of novels authored by Nikkei diaspora in the UK (including Kazuo Ishiguro) and Australia, as well as interviews. Its aim is to investigate diaspora, race, identity, and belonging of Nikkei. The study reveals that the Nikkei diaspora's development of transnational identities is not closely linked to national politics or identities. Instead, it aligns more with a fresh global sense of Nikkei belonging.
The Literature of the Japanese Diaspora: Identity beyond Japan (British Academy JSPS Postdoctoral Fellowship, Kyoto University; Host, Professor Yasuko Takezawa, Kyoto University)
This project analyses recent literary fiction by Nikkei authors in English-speaking countries, focusing on cultural identity and how their literature mediates racial representations of Nikkei. By grouping Nikkei works thematically, patterns in Nikkei writing in English can be identified, and a shared global identity is constructed that transcends linguistic, cultural, and national borders. Nikkei writers are seen as an alternative voice to dominant narratives of history concerning racialised Nikkei, contributing to a future multicultural coexistence.
CURRENT COLLABORATIVE RESEARCH
Research on the Construction of Jomon People's iPS Cells and Their Applications (JSPS Kakenhi Researcher, The University of Tokyo; Principle Investigator, Professor Hiroki Ota, Graduate School of Science, University of Tokyo)
Built upon previous cross-disciplinary and cross-regional collaborative projects spearheaded by the principal investigator over the past fifteen years, this project has been carried out with strong emphasis on humanities-science and international collaboration. It consists of three sub-groups: History (e.g. history and culture); Society (e.g. politics, economics, law); and Science (e.g. genomic studies, medicine, and pharmacogenomics).
PAST COLLABORATIVE RESEARCH
Integrated Research into the Processes and Mechanisms of Racialization (JSPS Kakenhi Researcher, Kyoto University; Principle Investigator, Professor Yasuko Takezawa, Kyoto University)
The Jomon people, who were hunter-gatherers, were isolated from the East Asian mainland and adapted to the unique environment of the Japanese archipelago. The fact that many genetic traits differ between the Jomon people and modern Japanese is probably due to this. However, how this "Jomon genome and epigenome adapted to a hunting and gathering lifestyle" is linked to the phenotype has hardly been studied. The purpose of this study is to establish iPS cells carrying fragments of the Jomon-derived genome, induce their differentiation, and conduct a comprehensive and chronological analysis of gene expression and metabolic profiles, comparing them with those of modern Japanese. This will establish an experimental system to analyse the adaptive phenotypes acquired by the Jomon people, which are difficult to understand from genomic primary information alone, in vitro.