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Research Institute for Japanese Ancient Studies

Project Summary

This research project is entitled “Constructing an International Framework of the Interdisciplinary Studies of Ancient Japan toward Understanding the Civilizational Processes in the Japanese Archipelago” (MEXT-Supported Program for the Strategic Research Foundation at Private Universities). It aims at combining the three fields of history, archaeology, and literature of ancient Japan. These three fields are quite independent from one another in Japan, and very few communications among scholars of the fields have taken place. Ultimately, we intend to construct the new field of ancient Japanese studies from an international perspective.

Owing to active research since 2004, this project was promoted to a “Research Cluster” by the Meiji University in 2011. At present, the project consists of the following three sub-units, each of which combines three otherwise different fields: 1) Cultural center and periphery in the Japanese archipelago (archaeology and literature); 2) Political control over society and the use of writing system (history and archaeology); and 3) Tales and oral traditions (literature and history).

These sub-unites are organized to re-evaluate historical sources, literature, and archaeological artifacts and sites as cultural resources. This attempt contributes to the construction of ancient Japanese studies from the perspectives of resource theory and anthropology.

Day-to-day research activities are published on our home page and twitter.