Waseda Institute for Advanced Study (WIAS)Waseda University


Newsletter Vol.17(2018)


In August 2018, we welcome one researcher at the Institute.

Hidetaka Hirota

I am a historian of the United States with particular interests in immigration, labor, political economy, and transnational history. My first book, Expelling the Poor: Atlantic Seaboard States and the Nineteenth-Century Origins of American Immigration Policy, was published by Oxford University Press in 2017. At WIAS, I will work on a book project that provides a synthetic history of nativism, or intense hostility toward foreigners, in the United States. Before joining WIAS, I held research and teaching positions at Boston College, Columbia University, and the City University of New York-City College.

HIROTA, Hidetaka

As of September 2018, we have had some changes at the directorship level. Professor Kei-ichi Maeda has become Director, and Professor Toshi H. Arimura has become Associate Director. Introductory remarks from each are presented below.

Kei-ichi Maeda (Professor at the Faculty of Science and Engineering)

My area of expertise is Cosmology, an integrated science in which the study of many different fields is a prerequisite. Consequently, I have been interested in and studied a variety of areas. Notably, Cosmology is the study of the universe as a whole, but if one does not understand the underlying laws of science one can’t comprehend it. Nevertheless, there is a world of wider study than Cosmology, such as the humanities and social sciences that encourage us to think creatively and deals with fundamental skills such as critical thinking and analysis.

This institute for Advanced Study, where ingenious researchers from widely ranging fields in humanities, natural and social sciences gather, intend to carry out a comprehensive research that organically connects the warp and the weft of all the areas involved in scientific approaches considered by humankind.

Consequently, I have the interest to pursue even more fields and support researchers both in Japan and overseas as much as possible, in the endeavor to ensure that the Institute for Advanced Study can reach out to more of the world than it has up to this point.

Toshi H. Arimura (Professor at the Faculty of Political Science and Economics)

This Institute for Advanced Study is known in Japan and overseas as a hub for cutting-edge international research. It is marked by researchers of different specialist fields in the humanities, social sciences, and natural sciences coming together under one roof. In fact, many of the issues of today cannot be solved by just one area of expertise, and need to be approached from a variety of academic disciplines. This Institute, where researchers with different backgrounds from around the world gather, truly has the potential to contribute to solving these issues. As well as developing individual research, the Institute promotes intellectual exchange between researchers, hoping to develop academic movements that can tackle the various issues of today.

There are also many excellent researchers in the different faculties of Waseda University outside of the Institute, who are active in a variety of fields. We expect the members of the Institute to promote exchange with researchers within the University, and to develop new research and networks.


UBIAS Topic of the Year 2018 Event “Aging – Life, Culture, Civilization” at Waseda Institute for Advanced Study (October 12, 2018)

On Friday October 12, 2018, Waseda Institute for Advanced Study (WIAS) and Nagoya University’s Institute for Advanced Research jointly held the UBIAS Topic of the Year 2018 event: “Aging – Life, Culture, Civilization.” UBIAS (University-Based Institutes for Advanced Study) is a network formed in October 2010 with the aim of promoting academic exchange between universities around the world with institutes for advance study, looking forward to a global age. UBIAS proposed “Aging – Life, Culture, Civilization” as the Topic of the Year, and this event featured presentations on this topic from the viewpoint of researchers’ own specialist fields, and question-and-answer sessions with participants. The day was a success, with around 50 people participating, mainly researchers of WIAS, Waseda University staff, researchers from Nagoya University’s Institute for Advanced Research, and visiting researchers from overseas.

Q&A Session at the keynote speech

The keynote speech was given by Professor Glenda Roberts of the Graduate School of Asia-Pacific Studies about the current situation of aging in Japan, on the topic of “Challenges for Aging Societies in the 21st Century,” providing an opportunity for participants to consider societies that are aging and how to live in old age.

Following the keynote speech, there were presentations on “Aging” from the perspective of a number of different specialist fields by Designated Assistant Professors Yuri Fujii and Kazuhide Sato from Nagoya University’s Institute for Advanced Research, Professor Fabrizio Speziale of the French School of Advanced Studies in the Social Sciences (École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales), and, in the final session, Assistant Professors Menghan Shen, Alexander Mallet, and Shin’nosuke Mori from WIAS. Please see the program for more details, including the titles of the presentations. A question-and-answer session followed each presentation, allowing young researchers to deepen their exchanges with others who are researching in a variety of different fields.

WIAS is marked by the ability to accept interdisciplinary researchers working in different areas of study. WIAS has contributed to strengthening the university’s research abilities by nurturing young researchers, exploring and developing cutting-edge research fields, and carrying out active exchanges with overseas researchers. The Institute currently hosts 38 researchers in the natural sciences, humanities, and social sciences, as well as interdisciplinary areas, focusing on advanced study while demonstrating satisfactory flexible thinking and abilities. With cooperation from Nagoya University’s Institute for Advanced Research, WIAS was able to promote human and academic exchange with institutions who are members of UBIAS, with the same motives and goals, through this event. WIAS strives to further enhance the quality of our research education, bring together outstanding human resources from around the world, and nurture and produce brilliant researchers. We also expect to create new opportunities and potential through these human and academic exchanges.

International Symposium: “Searching for the Origin of the Ancient Egyptian Civilization: Recent Excavations at Hierakonpolis”

Associate Professor Masahiro Baba

On October 13th and 14th, 2018, the Waseda Institute for Advanced Study (WIAS) hosted an international symposium entitled “Searching for the Origin of the Ancient Egyptian Civilization – Recent Excavations at Hierakonpolis.” With help from the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology’s Top Global University Project, WIAS was able to invite three overseas researchers as speakers.

The Dynastic Period in Egypt began in around 3100 BC when the pharaohs ruled. In the preceding Predynastic period (the 4th millennium BC), society changed greatly toward the formation of their civilization. The city of Hierakonpolis emerged during this period, and is one of its largest archeological sites. There had been few archaeological evidences that elites existed during the earlier part of this period, but in recent years we have made successive discoveries that have completely rewritten this idea. Here, we offer a summary of the results of excavations and investigations in Hierakonpolis, which were reported in the symposium.

“Origin of the Pharaoh: Excavating the Elite Cemetery” Renée Friedman (University of Oxford)

In the Elite Cemetery, some distance away from the heart of city in the desert, we have discovered large tombs of the elite, surrounded by subordinate tombs and ritual structures that resemble temples, making it clear that there was already social disparity within Hierakonpolis. As the tombs of the pharaohs were also surrounded by subordinate tombs, we can say that this burial system originated in Hierakonpolis.

Associate Professor Baba at the site

“Beer brewing for the elite” Masahiro Baba (Waseda University)

In the production area on the outskirts of the Elite Cemetery, we discovered facilities for brewing beer. It’s notable that these are large production facilities, capable of brewing 300 liters of beer at a time, and as such this is the oldest large-scale brewery in the world. Large amounts of beer were probably necessary for rituals in the Elite Cemetery. Given that beer was offered to the gods at temples during the following Dynastic Period, the origins of this temple ritual lie in this period.

“Animals dedicated to the elite” Wim Van Neer (Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences)

The subordinate tombs of those of the elite contained a great variety of wild animals, including a hippopotamus, crocodile, leopard, and an elephant. All of these had traces of healed bone fractures. In other words, they were kept for a certain amount of time after being captured. Possessing animals that were special and difficult to capture would likely have demonstrated authority and wealth.

“Manufacturing technology of the elite items” Kazuyoshi Nagaya (Fukui Varve Museum)

The elite had distinctive knife-shaped stone tools. Through reconstruction experiments, we understand that it took a great deal of time to make them. In other words, the elites employed groups of craftsmen specializing in this manufacturing technology, displaying their authority. The pharaohs also had groups of craftsmen, and we can say that the origins of this tradition lie here.

“Exploring the Early Dynastic town at Hierakonpolis” Liam McNamara (University of Oxford)

A town called Nekhen formed at Hierakonpolis during the Dynastic Period, and we have discovered articles of the early pharaohs here. When we looked at these in more detail, we found that these were items created to make people visually aware of royalty, including items used in festivals and sculptures of the kings. As such, we can say that everything related to the establishment of kingship began in Hierakonpolis.

The excavation with staff members

Around 180 researchers, students, and members of the general public visited the symposium over the two days, and it finished as a resounding success. We would like to extend our thanks to the visitors, Waseda University’s International Office and the staff of WIAS who supported the hosting of the symposium.


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

Visiting Researchers

  • December 1, 2018~December 31, 2018 BARISIONE, Mauro, Professor, University of Milan, Department of Social and Political Sciences (Italy)
  • January 7, 2019~February 7, 2019 PEREZ-CASTRILLO, David, Professor, Autonomous University of Barcelona, Department of Economics (Spain)
  • January 10, 2019~February 9, 2019 SERPER, Zvika, Professor, Tel Aviv University, Yolanda and David Katz Faculty of the Arts (Israel)

Visiting Scholars

  • October 1, 2018~November 30, 2018 XUEYUN, Lin, Lecturer, Fuqing Branch of Fujian Normal University (China)
  • November 1, 2018~December 13, 2018 HANLEY, Keith Adrian, Professor, Lancaster University, Department of English and Creative Writing (UK)
  • December 3, 2018~January 31, 2019 ARNOLD, Richard, Associate Professor, Victoria University of Wellington, School of Mathematics and Statistics (New Zealand)

Please feel free to contact us.

Waseda Institute for Advanced Study (WIAS)

1-6-1 Nishi Waseda, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo 169-8050, JAPAN
E-mail:[email protected]

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