Waseda Institute for Advanced Study (WIAS)Waseda University

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Newsletter Spring 2014 (Vol.7)

Researchers

A place you can see the earth and organisms unchanged — Researching lakes in Antarctica

Yukiko Tanabe, Assistant Professor

In Antarctica, there are a large number of lakes, where the rock surface is exposed through the ice sheet. These lakes began forming after the last glacial maximum when the ice sheets retreated, which left a state of inanimate matter tens of thousands of years ago. A large number of the Antarctic lakes were not connected by streams and water catchments, and while one lake would form an ecosystem over a similar time period and climatic conditions as its neighboring lakes, each lake created its own unique system. It was as if each individual lake was able to become an experimental field on a global scale.
A wild and mysterious atmosphere pervades the Antarctic lakes, which are transparent to the lakebed and are surrounded by naked rock.

Whether you visit lakes in Antarctica or Japan, you can see birds floating and the sunset reflected on the lake surface. However, when considering how we typically perceive a lake, whether from the shoreline or from above, it is almost impossible to visualize the world that exists beneath its surface. But as Alice discovered down the rabbit hole in Alice in Wonderland, there is another hidden world below the surface. For the lake’s inhabitants, this is a independent world. These underwater organisms experience seasonal changes that greatly differ from those of land organisms; each underwater organism lives in relation to a variety of activities that create a single world. What sort of world is hidden below the surface of the lake? How does it differ from the world above? How are organisms introduced into it, and how do they adapt/evolve and build an ecosystem within it? In order to pursue the mysteries of nature and life throughout earth’s history, using the field of Antarctic lakes as a model, we have engaged in ecological and bio-geoscientific research through an integrated approach from the aspects of field studies, experimentation, and theory.

Projects

Comparative history of civilization (field of humanities)

This project covers European historical themes, such as religious history, philosophical history, and art history. Topics also include the analytical principles that become apparent while comparing different regions, and the project aims to communicate new international images of history and civilization from Waseda University.

October 21, 2013 Water-usage issues in Asia and the state and society
Community and state issues related to water usage

Organizers: Prof. Tadashi Ebisawa (Faculty of Letters, Arts and Sciences), Associate Prof. Tomoyasu Iiyama

Three lecturers introduced their investigations of North China and Java, covering topics of ancient and middle age China and Java, and held discussions following their respective reports on the research trends related to water usage and cultural landscapes. Issues regarding water facilities and historical transitions in the surrounding landscape are growing concerns along with the various problems that are currently arising around water resources. The seminar discussions resulted in proposed solutions from both historical and cultural anthropological points of view.
more information

January 24, 2014 Art and architecture of religious civilizations in the Middle Ages
Byzantine murals and Islamic decorative arts

Organizers: Prof. Tomoyuki Masuda (Faculty of Letters, Arts and Sciences), Assistant Prof. Yumiko Kamada
Dr. Juni Sasaki (National Research Institute for Cultural Properties, Tokyo, Japan; Society for the Promotion of Science PD) reported on the technical issues surrounding the restoration of the Hagia Sophia mosaics and discussed how international restoration teams collaborated with the Turkish government to reach an agreement on a policy for their preservation. Ms. Atsumi Yamada, an art historian and the author of World History of Pearls, pointed out the similarities between some Mughal jewelry and the “Holbeinesque” jewelry of the Renaissance period. She posited that such similarities were a result of the diplomatic and trade links between Mughal India and Europe at that time.
more information

Alumni

This section introduces some individuals who were researchers at this Institute and are now actively working at universities and companies.

Takashi Saio (Associate Professor, Faculty of Economics, Meiji Gakuin University)

My field is Labor Economics and Business Economics. I am primarily involved in business reorganization and personnel management system reform, and I have been conducting research using data collected from Japanese companies and their employees. This data displays the effects these reforms are having on worker satisfaction and productivity. My interest in this theme originated from the major behavioral changes of large Japanese enterprises that were listed on the stock exchange after the mid-1990s. By cutting loose (sell-offs) company divisions and subsidiaries through “selection and focus,” business reorganization became possible and was carried out. Personnel were also dramatically downsized, and measures such as performance-based pay systems were introduced to progress toward a reformation of personnel management systems. Utilizing these techniques, various developments arose, such as the pessimistic forecasts regarding Japan’s macro-economic performance due to the prolonged recession, aging population, and declining birthrate; increasingly fierce competition due to the rise of companies from developing nations; and a transformation toward stockholder-oriented corporate governance due to the globalization of financial markets.

For two and a half years beginning in October 2008, I was a member of the Waseda Institute for Advanced Study (WIAS). Around this time, the boom in the introduction of performance-based pay systems drew to a close. However, a series of personnel-system reforms led to employee wage cuts and longer working hours, which caused uncertainty and led directly to the deterioration of employment conditions, such as poor workplace environments and widening salary gaps. These reforms also negatively affected employee physical and mental health, and a focus on these side effects led to a review of the reforms. My current research highlights the effects that this personnel reform review had on employees. During my time at WIAS, I began joint research with a fellow student on management buyouts and was able to present a number of research papers. Assistant Prof. Atsushi Sannabe (a current faculty member) and I are engaged in joint research that studies how wage systems impact employee satisfaction levels. We have previously co-authored papers, and I believe that the excellent research environment at WIAS has helped to improve our cooperative relationship and increase our research productivity.
Click here for the profile of Prof. Saito

Information

New affiliations of those who transferred from WIAS this Spring

Adachi, Toru Meteorological Research Institute
Worrall, Julian The University of Adelaide
Yuan, Yuan East China Normal University
Odaka, Takahiro The University Museum, The University of Tokyo
Kamada, Yumiko Keio University
Koiwa, Masaki Waseda University
Kobayashi, Masato Hokkaido University
Komatsu, Mutsumi The Graduate University for Advanced Studies
Jou, Willy University of Tsukuba
Narita, Hiroki Nihon University
Nishinaga, Jiro National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology
Honma, Yudai The University of Tokyo
Mori, Toshiyuki The University of Tokyo
Yamada, Kenta The University of Tokyo
Yamamoto, Hideaki Tohoku University
Rademacher, Christoph Waseda University

Please feel free to contact us.


Waseda Institute for Advanced Study (WIAS)

1-6-1 Nishi Waseda, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo 169-8050, JAPAN
URL:www.waseda.jp/inst/wias/
TEL:03-5286-2460
FAX:03-5286-2470
E-mail:[email protected]
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