News Release

Volume 11 of Inter Faculty

Variability, Uncertainty, Complexity and Ambiguity

Peer-Reviewed Publication

University of Tsukuba

The topic of this issue is Humanities and Social Sciences in a VUCA world. Though the concept is still not familiar in university research, particularly in the Humanities and Social Sciences, Variability, Uncertainty, Complexity and Ambiguity is precisely a concise characterisation of contemporary society, and undeniably a new generation of researchers must respond to this time of VUCA.

In the present rapidly changing and value-unstable environment, interdisciplinary research is one of the most effective approaches to research. The challenge, and indeed the task, for research in the Humanities and Social Sciences is in the constant reflection on the values of people and society from the perspective of the diversity of its research subjects and methodologies. This is the very basis of research in the Humanities and Social Sciences.

Volume 11 presents eight scholarly articles and six research projects. The research covers the fields of linguistics, language pedagogy, discourse analysis, archaeology, sociology and cultural anthropology.

Keywords: VUCA, variability, uncertainty, complexity, ambiguity, interdisciplinary research


Saori ISODA – Department of Spanish and Portuguese, Kanda University of International StudiesQualitative Analysis on the Progress and Difficulty of LGBT Politics in Latin America: Focus on Peru

In this paper, Isoda discusses LGBT policy issues in Peruvian society. Based on a comprehensive examination of South American countries, she considers the history, culture and social conventions of each local society and the complex political and economic factors of contemporary society. Isoda attempts to capture the essence of a tangled phenomenon where the issues are complex and diverse.

Minori TAKAHASHI – Department of Political Science, Faculty of Law, Hokkai-Gakuen University

The Inuit of Greenland: Doing Area Studies on the Compromise between Reciprocity and Utility

This is a study of the various aspects of the Inuit of Greenland. Takahashi examines the ‘conflict’ between the values of the Inuit, a traditional people living over a wide area from Alaska to Greenland, and the values of Greenland, a nation with deep political and economic ties to Denmark. The Inuit of Greenland are said to have a utilitarian view of nature and Takahashi seeks to identify the causes of this through a combined consideration of the market economy, Christianity and modernisation.

Kay AOKI – Faculty of Letters, Kansai University

Revisiting ‘Saiko Dayo’, the Japanese Fishermen’s Song of Cabo Verde, its Societal and Creative Values

Aoki discusses the music and lyrics of Saiko Dayo, which emerged from the interaction between Japanese fishermen and the inhabitants of Cape Verde sometime in the 1960s. Here, creation, flow and diffusion of value are the subjects of this study. Aoki’s research, in which he collects and analyses the testimonies of musicians and artists who perform Saiko Dayo, is a search for a cross-disciplinary methodology to capture what could be called the creole nature of Saiko Dayo.

Ikuko OKUGAWA – International Center, Keio University

Atomic Bomb Survivor Testimonies as Sociolinguistic Data: An Approach from Discourse Analysis

This paper gives a discourse analysis of the testimonies of atomic bomb survivors, victims of the atomic bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in August 1945. Surviving hibakusha recount their experiences, question the social and psychological significance of their atomic bomb experiences and continually confirm their identities. Since this testimony is primarily given through ‘narratives’, Okugawa undertakes a structural analysis of ‘testimony = narrative’ to highlight the diversity and specificity of this narrative.

Tinka DELAKORDA KAWASHIMA – Graduate School of Humanities and Social Sciences, Hiroshima University

The Intangibility of the Intangible in Cross-cultural Contexts: Assessing the Value Gaps in Heritage Protection

Delakorda Kawashima discusses the ICOMOS (International Council on Monuments and Sites) evaluation criteria, the evaluation criteria of the Japanese Agency for Cultural Affairs, and the criteria for cultural heritage in the process of inscription on the World Cultural Heritage List. Differences in local values are noted according to the criteria of each organisation. It specifically discusses how objectively difficult it is to assess whether something is tangible (architecture, landscape) or intangible (faith, rituals). The subject of Hidden Christians is assessed differently in terms of cultural heritage.

Anubhuti CHAUHAN – Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, Tsukuba University

A Quantitative Study of Transitive and Intransitive Constructions in Hindi and Japanese

The object of this paper, which is a typological comparative study of Hindi and Japanese languages, is the study of the grammatical category of ‘transitivity’. Chauhan questions what similarities and differences can be seen when Hindi and Japanese languages are observed from the perspective of ‘transitivity’? In order to answer this, she takes the two languages, Hindi, an Indo-European family language, and Japanese, a non-Indo-European family language. In other words, the object of this research is a heterogeneous language.

Miho IRIYAMA – Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, Tsukuba University

Keiko SUGIMOTO – Faculty of Medicine, Tsukuba University

The Experiences of International Students in Japanese Bachelor Programs

Iriyama and Sugimoto examine the correlation between the Japanese language skills of international students and university campus life. This study introduces a variety of criteria to capture campus life. A clear correlation was found between Japanese language proficiency and campus life.

Takamune KAWASHIMA – Hiroshima University Museum, Hiroshima University

Processing Technologies and Production of Food in the Jomon Period

This paper discusses Japanese archaeology of the Jomon period. Archaeology is, in effect, the reconstruction of an object based on a variety of specialist knowledge. In this sense, it is the most clearly interdisciplinary research. Kawashima thus draws on a wide range of knowledge to shed light on the productivity of people’s lives during the Jomon period.

Research Projects

Takashi FURUTA – School of Education, Tokyo University and Graduate School of Social Welfare

The Correlation Between Literature, Drama and Film: A Discussion of A Wife in Musashino

Furuta explores the relationship between artistic expressions and how the same motifs are expressed through different media in different ways.

Nozomi WAKU – Department of Chinese Literature, Faculty of Literature, Nishogakusha University

Metaphysics and Metaphysical Poetry in the Eastern Jin Dynasty

Waku discusses the fourth-century Chinese poet Sun Chuo who combined Confucianism, Taoism and Buddhism and proposed a theory of the unity of the three religions.

Yu TANAKA –Elementary and Secondary Education Bureau, Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology

Cooperation between Japanese Linguistics and Japanese Language Education

This research project is a study of Japanese language education. It deals with the issue of ‘citation’ in textbooks. It shows that there is little interaction between Japanese linguistics and Japanese language pedagogy. Tanaka’s attempt is to link Japanese linguistics and language pedagogy, and to go beyond this to develop new research.

Hideaki ITO –Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, University of Tsukuba

Development of Japanese Language Learning Content Using Immersive Virtual Reality

Ito attempts to develop new teaching materials, applying virtual reality to the field of Japanese language education for foreigners. Ito’s study represents a new type of research as technology transforms the field of education and diversifies the market for the development of teaching materials.

Tingjie XU – Oita Prefectural College of Arts and Culture                                                   

 A Comparative Study of Blended Learning and Face-to-Face Instruction in University-Level Chinese Language Education

Xu gives a comparative study of the learning effectiveness of online, face-to-face and hybrid (online + face-to-face) teaching, respectively. This issue is a pressing concern for universities under the present pandemic environment.                                                                                                     

Takamune KAWASHIMA – Hiroshima University Museum, Hiroshima University

Archaeology for Disaster Management

Kawashima shows how knowledge (archaeology, geology, etc.) and technology (geotechnology, GPS) used by archaeology can be useful for disaster management in response to catastrophes in contemporary society. He argues that, from a disaster management perspective, the collaboration of engineering and archaeological/historical perspectives can be effective.


Foreword by Jun IKEDA, Co-Editor-in-Chief

About Variability, Uncertainty, Complexity and Ambiguity by Saburo AOKI, Co-Editor-in-Chief.


Contact person: Anubhuti Chauhan, Inter Faculty Journal Manager

Contact person details:

Disclaimer: AAAS and EurekAlert! are not responsible for the accuracy of news releases posted to EurekAlert! by contributing institutions or for the use of any information through the EurekAlert system.