In academic year 2018, we welcome a cohort of sixteen researchers at the Institute. Each member provides a short snippet of his/her work.
I am interested in emergent properties of many-body systems, which consist of quantum mechanical degrees of freedom. The systems are known as quantum many-body systems and are of importance to understand ubiquitous phenomena such as superconductivity and magnetism. Especially, I am interested in behaviors of such systems in nonequilibrium. By means of cold atomic gases, I conduct studies on mesoscopic transport and open quantum systems.
The fact that the universe is undergoing a phase of an accelerated expansion raises the most challenging problem in the golden era of the precision cosmology, and a number of attempts to explain the origin of the present cosmic acceleration have been proposed over the past decade. My research lies at comprehensive studies of gravitational theories and its application to theoretical and observational cosmology.
Why do some ethnic groups consolidate their culture earlier than others? Why do some states invest in their culture earlier than others? My research addresses these questions by drawing on the political and economic history of Europe and by using both quantitative and qualitative methods. I empirically show that these questions matter in explaining why some states make stable institutions and have better economic performance.
Dr. Tina Shrestha is an Assistant Professor at WIAS, Waseda University. She earned her PhD in Anthropology from Cornell University, USA. She held postdoctoral fellowship at the Asia Research Institute in the National University of Singapore (2016-2018). Her current research focuses on migration infrastructure, transnational labor, and brokerage economies in intra-Asian migrations with an emphasis on the Nepali state and private employment and educational consultancies and their corporate partners in Southeast Asia and Japan.
I grew up in a historical city in China, Nanjing. I did not leave Nanjing until I completed my master in economics from Nanjing University. Then I went to Japan to proceed my academic career. I completed my Ph.D. in economics at the Osaka University and used to work as a specially appointed assistant professor in the Institute of Social and Economic Research, Osaka University, before joining WIAS.
Raphael Zingg conducts research and teaches on intellectual property and patent law, with a particular focus on the life sciences. His scholarly fields of interest include the empirical study of the patent system, biotechnology and nanotechnology laws, and the protection of cultural heritage.
I study political actors’ behavior using observational data, experiments, and simulations. In recent years, we observe political polarization and irrational choices made by voters and politicians. I suspect that these phenomena are caused by distorted issue space on voters’ cognitive level, and I try to construct a theoretical model, given the distorted issue space. This new model is expected to give a new perspective on rational choice theory to electoral studies.
Everybody has once longed for experiences such as a professional piano performance. A vicarious experience of measured performances is not only enjoyable, but also has a potential to be a new learning method. My research focuses on whether or how people can learn a given sequence by a vicarious experience. To do so, I am developing a vicarious experience system for learning and investigating mechanisms of implicit/explicit cognitive processes and sense of agency during vicarious experience.
Chemotherapy is a type of cancer treatment with chemotherapeutic drugs to kill cancer cells. However, cancer cells acquire resistance to the drugs in the short term during continuous administration. Development of chemoresistance therefore remains the major clinical obstacle for successful treatment of cancer. We are now exploring key molecules and pathways involved in chemoresistance by “chaperone interactome” that has been developed by us.
I try to understand how the electrical activity of neurons makes “consciousness”. For the first time in history, advances in psychology and neurobiology have made it feasible to pursue the detailed neural mechanisms underlying “consciousness”. I am particularly interested in how goal-directed and voluntary actions are driven by the needs and desires of the organism and controlled by psychological processes that provide a rich representation of the self and the world. I use a broad array of techniques, including behavioral analysis, single- and multiple-neuronal recordings, pharmacology, and optogenetics to answer this question.
Symmetry exists almost everywhere in our daily life. It can be precisely defined mathematically as an invariance property of a certain object. In particular, it is the key to solve differential equations, in which case, the set of solutions is invariant with respect to some group of symmetries. My current research interests are mostly subjects relevant to symmetries, for instance, symmetries of differential and difference equations, variational problems and conservation laws, moving frames, geometric integrators, integrable systems.
Reto Hofmann specializes in modern Japanese political and cultural history and has wider interests in 20th-century Asia and Europe, fascism, and imperialism. His first monograph, The Fascist Effect: Japan and Italy, 1915-1952 was published by Cornell University Press in 2015. I am currently working on an international history of conservatism centered on Japan. He received his BA from the University of Western Australia and PhD from Columbia University. Before joining WIAS he was a lecturer at Monash University and a JSPS Postdoctoral Fellow at Waseda University.
Suboptimal cells, including transformed cells, are outcompeted from epithelium; normal epithelial cells first recognize these cells and kick them out from epithelium. Our goal is understanding of the mechanisms and its application to medical treatment.
I am a historian of encounters between Muslims and Latin Europeans (‘the Franks’) in the medieval Middle East. My research is generally focused on Muslim encounters with and perceptions of the Franks during the period of the Crusades in the Middle East (1097-1291). My research has two main trajectories how the Crusades and the Franks are presented in medieval Arabic historiography, and the conditions of subaltern Muslim communities within and on the borders of Frankish territory. At Waseda, I will be working on an edition, translation, and commentary of part of al-Maqrizi’s Arabic chronicle al-Suluk.
After studying and working at the LSE for five years, I came to Waseda to promote quantitative text analysis in Chinese, Japanese and Korean in social sciences. If you are interested in, please talk to me.
I got my PhD in Public Policy from University of Chicago. My research includes various topics. Currently, I am using microdata to analyze the impact of different school choice mechanisms on students’ welfare. The main contribution is in the field of mechanism design and education policy. I am also applying microeconomics and econometric methodologies to issues in Asian economics.
One year has passed since the launch of the visiting scholar program. This section features the collaborative research carried out with the visiting scholars.
The Waseda Institute for Advanced Study (WIAS) launched the visiting scholar program since 2017. This program provides visiting scholars with office space and accommodation during their stay, and provides support to facilitate academic exchange between the visiting scholars and researchers of WIAS, or researchers of Waseda University. This time, we will feature the collaborative research activities undertaken by Dr. Jaroon Duangkrayom (Lecturer, Nakhon Ratchasima Rajabhat University, Thailand), a visiting scholar under this program, with Assistant Professor Yuichiro Nishioka (WIAS).
Japan and Southeast Asia, linked by elephant fossils
Assistant Professor Yuichiro Nishioka
Fossils identified as those of Palaeoloxodon naumanni, as well as of animals related to extinct elephant species known as Stegodon and Gomphotherium (Proboscidea), have been found in Japan. These elephants had been distributed widely in the Eurasia continent and crossed over to Japan. To gain a deeper understanding of how the Japanese archipelago, which are standalone islands today, were connected to the continent, I am working on a collaborative research project with Dr. Jaroon Duangkrayom , who is an expert in elephant fossils of Southeast Asia and China.
Waseda University holds the fossil collection of Professor Nobuo Naora, who was affiliated with the School of Science and Engineering. This collection includes the fossils of elephants from the Pleistocene (approximately 2.6 million years – 10,000 years ago), discovered in Japan, China, and Taiwan. At the exhibition titled “Nobuo Naora Exhibition –His Heritage Rediscovered,” held at Waseda University from February 26 to March 26, 2018, more than 150 fossil materials were exhibited. Based on Dr. Duangkrayom’s observations, the Naora Collection includes Stegodon orientalis from Sichuan and Taiwan, Stegodon species from the Seto Inland Sea, Mammuthus species from the former Manchuria, Mammuthus trogontherii from the Seto Inland Sea, and Palaeoloxodon naumanni from various parts of Japan. These fossils serve as evidence that the Stegodon species and Mammuthus species had been distributed across the Eurasian continent and Japan at the time; in other words, terrestrial animals had migrated temporarily from the continent. We are moving forward on the study of the Naora Collection jointly with researchers from the National Museum of Nature and Science, the National Museum of Japanese History, and other institutions, and opinions are exchanged through seminars and material study sessions.
Dr. Duangkrayom’s main research interest in the Stegodon species. This species had flourished from South Asia across East Asia since 10 million years ago, but we do not have much information about the evolutionary history of Stegodon yet. For this reason, it is necessary to find the fossils, which are the missing pieces that can complete this puzzle. Fossils found in Japan include those of Stegodon zdanskyi, the ancestor that had migrated from the Eurasia continent approximately 5.3 million years ago, Stegodon miensis from approximately 3.5 million years ago, S. protoaurorae from approximately 2 million years ago, and S. aurorae from approximately 2 to 1 million years ago. S. orientalis, which had inhabited China 500,000 to 400,000 years ago, is also believed to have migrated to Japan temporarily during this term. In this way, the Stegodon fossils serve as a marker that indicates if there had been exchanges of flora and fauna between Japan and the continent during the respective geological periods. Hence, Dr. Duangkrayom and I visited the National Museum of Nature and Science, the Tohoku University Museum, Mie Prefectural Museum, Osaka Museum of Natural History, Mizunami Fossil Museum, and the Science Museum, Keio Yochisha Elementary School, to carry out morphological comparisons of the elephant fossils found on the continent and those found in Japan.
A large quantity of mammalian fossils, including of the Stegodon species, have been found at limestone caves in Satun Province in the southern part of Thailand, which has been engaged in joint research with Dr. Duangkrayom since last year. Through studies carried out to find out which of the species reported in China and Japan are closely related to these Thai fossils, it is possible to verify if there were any exchanges of flora and fauna during the Pleistocene (approximately 2.6 million years – 10,000 years ago). In the study of samples, Dr. Duangkrayom took charge of the elephants, while I was responsible for the artiodactyls and perissodactyls. We observed the fossils of the skulls and teeth, and collected measurement data and morphological information about their characteristics in order to elucidate the phylogenetic relationships. The results of the study showed that among the collection of fossils found in the caves in Satun Province, Stegodon orientalis, Elephas species, Bubalus species, Capricornis species, Cervus species, and Rhinoceros sondaicus were identified. Conventionally, the general view is that flora and fauna of the Pleistocene in Thailand comprises mainly of species from South Asia (India and Pakistan) and the islands of Southeast Asia (Indonesia). However, the collection of fossils that we had analyzed led to the new finding that there is also a mixture of species from Indonesia (Rhinoceros sondaicus) and from East Asia (Stegodon orientalis). This finding was presented at the 167th meeting of the Palaeontological Society of Japan. Our future challenge is to determine the age of this fossil assemblage and compare each animal at the species level. Shedding light on these aspects may present the possibility that some mammals, such as the Stegodon orientalis, had been widely distributed across Southeast Asia all the way to Japan during a particular period of the Pleistocene, and that the environments of the two regions could have been similar at the time.
International Conference – West-European Politics in 2017
Assistant Professor Régis Dandoy
On 11 January 2018, an International conference on “West-European politics in 2017” was co-hosted by the Waseda Institute for Advanced Studies (WIAS), together with the Organization for Regional and Inter-regional Studies (ORIS) and the TGU Center for Positive/Empirical Analysis of Political Economy. The organisation committee was composed of Régis Dandoy (WIAS), Hidetoshi Nakamura and Airo Hino (both at the Faculty of Political Science and Economics) and the event gathered no less than 15 scholars from different horizons of political science (electoral studies, European studies, international relations, etc.).
The objective of this conference was to reflect on the major political and electoral events that took place in Western Europe in 2017 and their potential consequences for other countries, including Japan. Twelve communications were selected based on a widespread call for papers open to scholars and students interested in recent political events in Western Europe. Several academics from Waseda University participated in the event, together with scholars from other universities in Japan and Europe, including from the University of Essex, the University of Oxford and the University of Milano. In total, the conference gathered presenters from five different European nationalities: Belgium, France, Italy, Spain and the UK. There were in total around 30 people in the audience including the paper-givers and lively discussions continued throughout the day.
2017 was indeed a crucial political year in Western Europe and the conclusions of this international conference focused particularly on three sets of issues, not to mention topics related to migration and terrorism that remain a major concern for most of West-European governments and societies.
First, crucial elections occurred in several major West-European countries in 2017. France elected its new president and the legislative assembly while Germany and the United Kingdom entirely renewed their parliament, as well as Austria, the Netherlands and Norway. At the local and regional levels, there have also been elections in Denmark, Finland, Germany, Italy, Portugal and the United Kingdom. Election outcomes indicated very important trends: the designation of pro-European parties and leaders like Emmanuel Macron in France but also a continued declining electoral participation due to voters’ lack of confidence in traditional politics and political parties, and the success of radical-right populist parties in several countries like the party ‘Alternative for Germany’ (AfD) in Germany.
Second, the exit of the United Kingdom from the European Union (the so-called ‘BREXIT’ – the acronym for BRitish EXIT) has been one of the main political and policy topics in Western Europe in 2017. This issue has been not only relevant for the United Kingdom and one of the major theme for its electoral campaigns and for its internal territorial debates (among others regarding Scottish demands for more autonomy) but also in the European institutions and the main European capitals. The European Union is getting prepared to the ‘post-Brexit’ era and this issue invaded the domestic political agendas of most of other European countries. Trump’s visits to several West European countries in 2017, including the NATO headquarter in Brussels, also reinforced the need for a stronger and more independent European Union based on trade and defence.
Third, and this is probably less of a surprise, territorial issues stayed high on the European political agenda. This is true for Scotland and Northern Ireland on the brink of the ‘Brexit’ in the United Kingdom and in several parts of Europe (for instance in Northern Belgium and Italy) and at its periphery (for instance in Denmark). But the year 2017 was particularly crucial in Spain that, after two years of internal political instability and elections, witnessed the outburst of the Catalan problem. In the Spanish region of Catalonia, a polemical independence referendum was organized, followed by regional elections and a period of political uncertainty that went far beyond the national borders.
WIAS invites distinguished, internationally active researchers from overseas. Through scholarly exchanges, seminars, and other activities jointly undertaken with Waseda researchers, WIAS contributes to the invigoration of the university’s research activities.more information
- April 1, 2018～May 1, 2018 BARUCH, Yehuda, Professor, University of Southampton, Southampton Business School (United Kingdom)
- April 1, 2018～May 1, 2018 NAYGA, Rodolfo M., Distinguished Professor, University of Arkansas, Department of Agricultural Economics and Agribusiness (United States of America)
- April 1, 2018～May 1, 2018 BOCHSLER, Daniel, Associate Professor, University of Copenhagen, Department of Political Science (Denmark)
- April 18, 2018～May 18, 2018 FRYER, Luke K., Associate Professor, University of Hong Kong, Faculty of Education, Centre for the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning （Hong Kong）
- May 3, 2018～June 3, 2018 MEAGHER, Kieron John, Professor, Australian National University, Research School of Economics （Australia）
- June 1, 2018～July 1, 2018 TOVAR MENDOZA, Jesus, Professor, Autonomous University of the State of Mexico (Mexico)
- June 1, 2018～July 1, 2018 WILLIAMS, James Howard, Professor, George Washington University, Graduate School of Education and Human Development, Elliott School of International Affairs (United States of America)
- June 11, 2018～July 11, 2018 KOROSTELINA, Karina, Professor, George Mason University, School for Conflict Analysis and Resolution （United States of America）
- July 2, 2018～August 2, 2018 GIUSTINIANO, Luca, Professor, LUISS Guido Carli University, Department of Business and Management (Italy)
- October 1, 2018～October 31, 2018 SPEZIALE, Fabrizio, Professor, School for Advanced Studies in the Social Sciences (EHESS), Centre for South Asian Studies (France)
- April 1, 2018～May 1, 2018 VEG, Sebastian, Professor, School for Advanced Studies in the Social Sciences (EHESS), Centre for Study of Modern and Contemporary China (France)
- April 15, 2018～May 15, 2018 GAMBARO, Marco, Associate Professor, University of Milano, School of Political Science (Italy)
- June 2, 2018～July 31, 2018 ALESSIO, Lorena, Assistant Professor, Politecnico di Torino, Architectural and Urban Design (Italy)
- June 15, 2018～August 1, 2018 MCCORKLE, Brooke, Assistant Professor, The University of Vermont (United States of America)
- June 26, 2018～July 24, 2018 SAKO, Mari, Professor, University of Oxford, Said Business School（United Kingdom）