Research Seminar No. 237

Did People Live Harmoniously with Island Environments? Prehistory of Amami and Okinawa Archipelagos

TAKAMIYA Hiroto (International Center for Island Studies, Kagoshima University)

16:30 on Monday, 18 March 2024, 5th floor, the Interdivisional Education and Research Building, Korimoto Campus, Kagoshima University

The prehistory of the Amami and Okinawa Islands consists of the Paleolithic period (ca. 30,000–10,000 years ago), the Shellmidden period (10,000 or 7,000–1,000 years ago), and the Gusuku period (ca. late 11th–15th centuries). When one examines the prehistory of the Amami and Okinawa islands in the context of the Island archaeology worldwide, several extremely unique aspects are brought to light. One of these is that prehistoric people on the islands possibly lived harmoniously with the island environment.

It is known among ecologists, environmental scientists, anthropologists, and related fields of scientists that island environments are extremely fragile. When one species is introduced to an island, it likely triggers environmental disturbance. One of the worst species that alter island environments easily is Homo sapiens (here after “humans or people”). Once people colonize an island, they use forest resources for construction of houses, boats and so on. They also need forest resources for fuel. In addition, plant and animal resources are exploited for foods, ornaments, and so on. These human activities prompt environmental deterioration and/or destruction. On almost all islands where archaeological studies were conducted, archaeologists and anthropologists have been astonished to understand that people heavily affected island environments once they adapted to islands.

Consequently, it has become almost an established theory that once humans colonize islands, they will bring about environmental deteriorations. Does this “established theory” apply to the prehistory of the Amami and Okinawa archipelagos? Research on human and island environments during the prehistoric times in these regions does not accept this “established theory”. In other words, prehistoric people might have lived harmoniously with the island environments. This is an extremely unique aspect in the field of island archaeology.

Click here if you would like to participate (in Japanese)

Research Seminar No. 236

Historical Consciousness of Taiwan and Okinawa in cultural heritages

KAMIZURU Hisahiko (Research Organization of Regional Oriented Studies, Prefectural University of Hiroshima)

16:30 on Monday, 22 January 2024, 5th floor, the Interdivisional Education and Research Building, Korimoto Campus, Kagoshima University

Certification of cultural heritage is a major locus for the emergence of historical consciousness and national identity, since certification is influenced by government policy and national sentiment. For example, The Building of Taiwan Sotokufu (the government‐general) was classified as a heritage site and is still used as the supreme ruler office of Republic of China, while the one of Chosen Sotokufu was dismantled in 1995.

Presenter classified the current state of Japan’s imperial-era buildings into five concepts. These are ‘externalisation (destruction and neglect of these buildings)’, ‘negative internalisation (these buildings are historical sites and symbols of imperial invasion’, ‘positive internalisation (these buildings are historical sites and symbols of the legacy of Japanese administration’, ‘de-Japanisation’ (colonial-era buildings are viewed as stylish examples of beautiful wooden architecture. Their Japanese origins are not of concern to those consuming them), and ‘Becoming tourist destination (where you can experience the Japanese atmosphere)’.

Special Seminar

Preliminary study for shoreline vulnerability of islands in the Tunku Abdul Rahman Park and Turtle Island Park, Sabah

Farrah Anis Fazliatul Adnan (Faculty of Science and Natural Resources, Universiti Malaysia Sabah)

16:30 on Thursday, 18 January 2024, 5th floor, the Interdivisional Education and Research Building, Korimoto Campus, Kagoshima University

The International Panel on Climate Change has acknowledged that small islands are highly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change. Human activities often worsen these impacts, which could undermine the islands' ability to adapt to environmental changes. The study examines the vulnerabilities of two geographically distinct islands' coastlines within the Tunku Abdul Rahman Park (TARP) on the west coast and Turtle Island Park (TIP) on the east coast of Sabah. Manukan Island (TARP) is a continental island, whereas Selingaan Island (TIP) is a reef island. These islands have ecological value and serve as important tourist destinations and turtle nesting areas, thus carrying significant socio-economic implications. This study provides a comprehensive understanding of shoreline vulnerability by including geological and physical environmental factors. The methodology centres around the Coastal Vulnerability Index (CVI), which considers seven key variables: coastal slope, lithology, geomorphology, sea level rise, shoreline change rate, tidal range, and wave height. Instead of treating coastlines as uniform, the research advances a nuanced assessment of vulnerability based on specific sections. This distinction is crucial because the resilience and vulnerability to erosion vary significantly between rocky cliffs and the unconsolidated sands. This allows for developing more targeted conservation strategies that account for the differences in resilience among different sections of the coastline. Each section of the shoreline is assigned a score based on its sensitivity to each variable. These scores provide an overall classification of low, moderate, or high vulnerability zones along the shoreline. Results indicate that the shorelines of Selingaan Island were more vulnerable than those of Manukan Island. This information is crucial in implementing customized management practices for high-risk areas. By highlighting the variations in sensitivity to environmental changes, this research emphasizes the importance of section-specific sustainable strategies in managing island coastlines. It contributes to academic discussions on island conservation in the face of increasing climate change threats, emphasizing the necessity of responsible stewardship of these ecologically vital and socio-economically significant zones.

Special Seminar

Household Food Insecurity in Remote Upland Villages, Seram Island: A Case in Abio-Ahiolo Village, Western Seram District, Maluku, Indonesia

Isye Jean Liur (Faculty of Agriculture, Pattimura University, Indonesia)

16:30 on Wednesday, 20 December 2023, 5th floor, the Interdivisional Education and Research Building, Korimoto Campus, Kagoshima University

Abio-Ahiollo Village is a village located in Elpaputih Sub-district, West Seram Regency. The Abio-Ahiolo community lives in a mountainous or inland area so it is still far from the touch of development and neglected from public services. The road to Abio-Ahiolo Village has not been asphalted so it is not possible to pass by two-wheeled or four-wheeled vehicles, it can only be passed on foot. The journey from Abio-Ahiolo Village to find a paved road can take about 12 hours but sometimes in the rainy season, people use rafts to quickly arrive at their destination. Interviews with Abio-Ahiolo community leaders revealed that this community has a unique social culture and ecological system related to food habits and nutrition. People in Abio-Ahiolo Village fulfill their daily food needs obtained from farming or gardening, particularly from tubers and corn. Tubers and corn are dried during the dry season, smoked during the rainy seasons, and then cooked or grilled before consumption. In addition, the community rarely consumes fish and broiler chicken meat because the local market location is far from the village. To fulfill the need for animal protein, the community consumes more meat from hunting in the forest by using spears. The results showed that the types of meat consumed were wild boars, birds, deer, cuscus, native chickens, dogs, and snakes. The formation of meat consumption habits is motivated by community beliefs, for example, guests have to be provided with meat and alcohol (sopi), which would be the results of community adaptation to the environment.

Research Seminar No. 235

Study about diversity and conservation of bats in the Japanese Archipelago

MAKI Takahiro (Amami Station, International Center for Island Studies, Kagoshima University)

16:30 on Monday, 18 December 2023, 5th floor, the Interdivisional Education and Research Building, Korimoto Campus, Kagoshima University

In insular regions, historic continental and inter-island connections are considered primary factors in determining the island’s current biota. In the Japanese archipelago, there are a number of historic connections to the mainland across several straits (such as the Tsugaru Strait), and biotic distribution tracks these historic connections. Bats, the only mammals with powered flight, are able to disperse across these various straits, and their distribution may thus be less influenced by the physical barriers of the straits than for non-flying animals. However, there are few studies on the influences of historical inter-island and inter-continental connections on bat distribution.

Previous studies indicated that the species composition of non-flying mammals (such as rodents and ungulates) in each region are determined by those originating from the Tokara Strait within the Tokara Archipelago and the Tsugaru Strait between Aomori prefecture and Hokkaido prefecture. Examining how these barriers affect the distribution of bats compared to the distribution of non-flying mammals provides insight into how flying shapes unique distribution patterns across physical barriers such as straits.

In this presentation, we show the influences of the physical barriers presented by the Tsugaru and Tokara Straits on the distribution of bats. We further outline the study of conservation for bats in Amami Oshima Island (south of the Tokara Straits), which has maintained a high degree of endemism due to its long history of isolation from the Eurasian continent and Kyushu Island.

Special Seminar

Incredible life and livelihoods of fishers at Dublar Char Island, Bangladesh

Md. Sagir Ahmed, Md. Umar Faroque and Sujan Kumar Datta (Department of Zoology, University of Dhaka)

16:30 on Monday, 27 November 2023, 5th floor, the Interdivisional Education and Research Building, Korimoto Campus, Kagoshima University

Bangladesh is a country of about 147,570 km2 with a population of over 160 million, and the coastline extends 710 km along the northern edge of the Bay of Bengal. Dublar Char is an island in Bangladesh with an area of 66.5 km2, located off the coast of the Sharankhola Range of Sundarbans mangrove forest in Bagerhat District. The island is one of the most important coastal islands, with huge fishery resources and the biggest dry fish processing place. A study was conducted from November 1 to March 31 to know the life and livelihoods of fishers and catch composition during the fishing period in Dublar Char. The population involved in fishing, drying, and other purposes was approximately 25,000 during the fishing period. Livelihood assessment was conducted using questionary, semi structured interviews, focus group discussion and key informant interviews. The age group, education, income, living conditions, accommodation, credit systems, etc. were come out from the study. Almost 100% of the population of this island was male as it is taboo to stay any female over there. The catch of set bag net or behundi jal constitutes over 90% of the catch in the island. Annually, Dublar Char supplies dried fish worth USD 15.9 million and live fish worth USD 13.6 million for the country. One of the main problems with set-bag net fishing is that it catches non-targeted undersize fishes which is serious threat for biodiversity loss. Our catch composition data indicated that overfishing and illegal fishing practices are threatening the island's aquatic biodiversity. In the present study, it was observed that people are plagued by problems as they do not have access to any health treatment facilities and an acute crisis of drinking water. There is no hospital and Bank in this island for the fishermen.

Research Seminar No. 234

A case study of outreach on "pumice drift and stranding" which has become a social problem, from the perspective of natural science

MARUYA Yu (Neco no Wakuwaku Nature School)

16:30 on Monday, 6 November 2023, 5th floor, the Interdivisional Education and Research Building, Korimoto Campus, Kagoshima University

Here we introduce a case study of environmental education outreach on pumice drift and stranding, which has become a social problem in Japan in 2021. Private educational organizations and earth science experts collaborated to create educational materials and courses from the perspective of natural science and environmental education. The mass drift of pumice in the Ryukyu Islands and other regions in October 2021 was a geological event that will remain in many people's memories(Pumice ejected from the Fukutoku-Oka-no-Ba eruption of August 2021).

It is still fresh in our memories that pumices brought from distant undersea volcanoes changed the coastal landscape in just a few days, causing major impacts on marine traffic, fishing, and tourism, and became a serious social problem.

Such pumice drift is a rare phenomenon that occurs only once every few decades in a single area, and this was the first time such a phenomenon had been observed in Japan since the modernization of the country.

While it was a disaster, it was also a valuable opportunity to directly observe the workings of geological nature.

Our organization began creating educational materials and holding lectures immediately after the pumice drifted ashore with the aim of learning about this phenomenon, which was not well known to the general public, from the viewpoints of natural science and environmental education. In collaboration with experts in the field of geoscience, we published a book within a month after drifting ashore and developed educational materials with over 10 contents using pumice as the subject matter. In addition, we will introduce the process of holding more than 80 educational projects in the first year and a half after drifting ashore, including the implementation of projects in cooperation with local schools and municipalities.

Research Seminar No. 233

Save the island's specially tangerine — Eradication of the whitespotted longicorn beetles, Anoplophora spp. by an entomogenous fungus, Beauveria brongniartii in Kikaijima Island

TSUDA Katsuo (Professor Emeritus of Kagoshima University)

16:30 on Monday, 16 October 2023, 5th floor, the Interdivisional Education and Research Building, Korimoto Campus, Kagoshima University

On Kikaijima Island, native citrus species such as Citrus keraji, Kikai mandarin orange, and Kunembo Citrus nobilis, which are special to Kikaijima, are planted. In addition to these, it is thought that there are also other "island mandarin oranges" whose characteristics have not yet been elucidated.

However, around 2008, damage caused by the whitespotted longicorn beetles, Anoplophora spp. began to become noticeable on Kikaijima, and the island was faced with the situation where 10% of the mandarin orange trees withered every year. There were concerns that if the damage caused by the longicornbeetle was left unaddressed, these "island mandarin oranges" would disappear without being noticed.

Therefore, in 2012, Kikai Town and Kagoshima University Entomological Laboratory began a control test using a natural enemy fungus preparation, and in 2015, the scale was expanded to ultra-wide-area application covering the entire island. This time, I will explain the process and the factors that led to its success.

I also introduce findings obtained by breeding individuals reared from larval stage in order to elucidate the actual state of hybridization in the longhorn beetle species group, which is a problem in the Nansei Islands.

Research Seminar No. 232

A study on hermit crabs and their associated symbionts in the Indo-West Pacific Ocean, including the Amami Islands

YOSHIKAWA Akihiro (International Center for Island Studies, Amami Station, Kagoshima University)

16:30 on Monday, 25 September 2023, 5th floor, the Interdivisional Education and Research Building, Korimoto Campus, Kagoshima University

Most hermit crab species inhabit oceanic environments even though many people consider terrestrial hermit crabs, which inhabit bushes and forests near seashores, as the typical hermit crab. A phylogenetic, taxonomical, and ethnological study was conducted on the hermit crab and its symbionts that live in the intertidal zone and deep-sea floor, ranging in depth from 200 m to 500 m, focusing on their evolution and symbiotic relationships. This presentation aims to introduce our research team’s previous study on these animals and increase public awareness of “hermit crabs in the marine environment” among the people living on the Amami Islands, Japan.

Hermit crab species usually inhabit dead gastropod snail shells. Since these shells do not grow and expand their shell structure, hermit crabs change their host shells when encountering more favorable shells. Moreover, a symbiotic animal (e.g., sea anemone or gastropod) often lives inside or outside the shells occupied by hermit crabs. The symbiotic animal, however, cannot easily change its substrate when its host changes shells. Thus, significant behavioral or morphological adaptations often evolved in these symbiotic animals to continue their relationships.

In recent years, our research team reported on the distinctive behavior of intertidal hermit crabs and discussed the lifestyle of the symbiotic animals using gastropod shells as a resource. Thus, knowledge of these animals’ lifestyles will be shared in this presentation. A core focus of this presentation is to provide knowledge of these organisms to local communities on the Amami Islands in Japan, to improve their appreciation of their biology and aid in conservation efforts of these and other shore-dwelling marine invertebrates.

Research Seminar No. 231

The current progress of research on ISSHIKI Jiro

SUZUKI Yusaku (Center for Modern Kagoshima Studies, Kagoshima University)

16:30 on Tuesday, 18 July 2023, 5th floor, the Interdivisional Education and Research Building, Korimoto Campus, Kagoshima University

In this presentation, I will discuss the current state of research on Jiro ISSHIKI (1916-1988), a writer from Okinoerabujima Island. ISSHIKI was twice a nominee for the Naoki Prize for "Winter Journey" (1949) and "Lonely Wild Goose" (1961). In 1967, he won the 3rd Dazai Osamu Prize for "Seigenki", which was made into a movie in 1973 and shown in countries around the world. He also won the Kikuchi Kan Prize for co-editing "Tokyo Air Raid and War Disaster Chronicle" (1974) and the Sankei Children's Publishing Culture Award for "Leap Out at the Coral Reef" (1975). Despite having been an active author during his lifetime, there are not many people who know about ISSHIKI even in Okinoerabujima today, and he is rarely mentioned in the history of literature. The presenter intends to advance the research on Jiro ISSHIKI and promote the momentum for reevaluation.

Firstly, I point out that the discourse surrounding ISSHIKI has focused on "Seigenki," a story about his interactions with his mother who suffered from tuberculosis, and "The Sun and the Chain" (1964), which deals with his father's wrongful conviction and death. Thus, ISSHIKI's literature is generally recognized in the division of "before and after 'Seigenki.'" Secondly, In order to comprehensively understand ISSHIKI's literature, the presenter advocates for a new, more detailed chronological division: 1) two collections of creative works published when he was 19-20 years old as the starting point; 2) biographies of great men and adventure novels for boys and girls before the award of "Seigenki"; 3) pure literary works written in literary magazines during the same period as 2); 4) "Seigenki"; 5) works related to the movement to abolish the death penalty, in which he himself participated, such as "Evil Nature" (1979), following "Seigenki."

In addition, I introduce the results of primary source research on ISSHIKI, including research on Okinoerabujima Island.

Research Seminar No. 230

The basic research of roast salt-making pot in Amami Islands

YOMINE Yukiya (Isen Town Board of Education)

16:30 on Monday, 19 June 2023, 5th floor, the Interdivisional Education and Research Building, Korimoto Campus, Kagoshima University

It is known that Kyushu manufactured roast salt-making pots (the cloth impressed pot; RSMs hereafter) has been recovered from the Amami Islands. While it is said that the RSMs were introduced from Kyushu, some scholars think that they were produced in the islands because similar tempering materials used in both RSMs and locally manufactured pottery. Therefore, it is possible that RSMs were manufactured in the islands. In addition, it might indicate the social organizations in the Amami Islands during the Late 2 period.

In order to clarify similarities and differences between the RSMs recovered from the islands and the mainland Kagoshima, I have examined the RSMs unearthed from these regions. Furthermore, I have studied the RSMs collected in the islands in detail. As a result, they are similar in the form and using of cloth inside surface of the pots. On the other hand, tempering materials, manufacturing technics and periods of manufacture are different.

The result of the analysis has led me to conclude that RSMs recovered in the islands were manufactured and distributed within the islands. Also, I think that the salt making technic was diffused from Kyushu to the Amami Islands. Why salt making begun during the 9th AD? One possibility is that the introductions of agriculture and blacksmithing technology around this time demanded a larger amount of salt for the newly arrived industries. Probably salt production was centered in Amami Oshima. Tokunoshima and Okinoerabu-jima might have played some role for the salt production. Kikaijima was one of the major consumers of locally produced salt.

Research Seminar No. 229

Dagaa industry in Zanzibar islands: Significance as a protein food supply for inland countries

FUJIMOTO Mariko (Faculty of Fisheries, Kagoshima University)

16:30 on Monday, 20 May 2023, 5th floor, the Interdivisional Education and Research Building, Korimoto Campus, Kagoshima University

Zanzibar, an Indian Ocean island region in Tanzania, has a thriving anchovy fishing and processing industry. Anchovies and other small fish in general are called dagaa in Swahili language. Dagaa is a familiar and important protein source that can be called the national dish of Tanzania. This presentation introduces the dagaa processing industry in various areas of Tanzania, with particular focus on the dried anchovy processing industry in Zanzibar.

Zanzibar is about an hour and a half by ferry from Dar es Salaam, the prime city of Tanzania. Many merchants from the inland Democratic Republic of the Congo (hereafter referred to as D.R. Congo) visit these remote islands area to buy large quantities of dried anchovy and send them back to their home countries. In D.R. Congo, people's infrastructure was destroyed due to the civil war that broke out in the 90's and the political instability that followed. Many refugees continued to be forced to use wild animals as protein food in the tropical rainforests. Wild animals are rapidly declining, and in recent years, people's protein sources have shifted from meat to fish.

I investigated the anchovy fishery in Zanzibar, the middlemen’s processing industry, and the trade practices among Congolese merchants and local middlemen, and clarified the food chain of dagaa. And I conducted a field survey in Lubumbashi, the second largest city of D.R. Congo and revealed that dried anchovy (dagaa) of Zanzibar is distributed not only in D.R. Congo but also in neighboring countries. In this presentation, I introduce the dagaa industry in Zanzibar and tried to discuss its significance in terms of protein food supply to inland countries.

Research Seminar No. 228

The Religious Cultures and its Relation to Shrines in the Amami Islands

MACHI Taiki (Department of Liberal Arts and Sciences, Kagoshima College)

16:30 on Monday, 24 April 2023, 5th floor, the Interdivisional Education and Research Building, Korimoto Campus, Kagoshima University

The Amami archipelago is known as a region with local religious cultures such as village rituals by Noro (female priests licensed by the Ryukyu Kingdom) and Yuta shamanism. These local religious cultures have declined since the Meiji period (1868 - 1912) due to Haibutsu-kishaku (the anti-Buddhist movement) and the spread of foreign religions. However, the relationship between local religious cultures and foreign religions is not only conflicting but also harmonious. In particular, shrines are rich in such diversity. Some shrines played an important role in suppressing the local religious cultures during Haibutsu-kishaku. Also some shrines have functioned as a receptacle for local religious cultures. For example, some shrines had been used as a ceremony place by Noro, and some were established based on the local tales of heroism. I have been interested in the transformation of the religious cultures of the Amami Islands in modern times, and have conducted research on the transformation of the funeral system in Yoron Island and the relationship between folk beliefs and shrines. In this presentation, I will throw light on the significance of the focus on shrines to understand the religious cultures of the Amami Islands. Moreover, I will consider the relationship between local religious cultures and shrines, based on examples of shrines in the Amami Islands and the stories of the people who manage them.

Special Seminar

Under the Spot Light: Islands at the Centres of Our World

Godfrey Baldacchino (The University of Malta)

16:30 on Wednesday, 19 April 2023, 5th floor, the Interdivisional Education and Research Building, Korimoto Campus, Kagoshima University

A discipline requires deserves its own journals, its own handbooks, its own associations, its own conferences, its own degree programmes, and its own collection of recommended readings. ‘Island Studies’ now has all of these. It now also has its own ‘how to’ research methods primer, which describes the particular challenges of doing research on (especially small) islands and on/about/for/by/with islanders. One that takes the ‘island as focus’ by the horns and locks in onto ‘the island condition’: islandness. This is an intervening variable which, in and of itself, does not cause anything; but can however contour and nudge behaviours and systems in particular ways and directions. Hence, the dispositions toward economic monopoly, societal intimacy and political totality in small island systems build a distinct “ecology of smallness” which is not typically found in larger, mainland communities.

This presentation offers a snapshot of the evolution of ‘island studies’, soon celebrating the 100th anniversary of anthropologist Margaret Mead’s pathbreaking book Coming of Age in Samoa (1928). It particularly traces the movement of islands from dull, mendicant and forgotten peripheries and exotic research objects to central and symbolic players in the Anthropocene and subjects in the international relations of the post-1945 International World Order.

The presentation will be followed by a ‘question an answer’ session.

Special Seminar

16:30 on Monday, 10 April 2023, 5th floor, the Interdivisional Education and Research Building, Korimoto Campus, Kagoshima University

Well-being indicators for Malta

Marie Briguglio (The University of Malta)

This presentation provides an overview of the state of the art on the science of happiness and wellbeing. It contains a discussion on three key questions on the science of happiness (a) How is wellbeing measured? (b) What stimulates wellbeing? and (c) What does this mean for governments, business and individuals? The presentation then focuses on happiness in the Mediterranean island-state: Malta, sharing the latest information on the state of wellbeing in Malta relative to other countries (in the Mediterranean, in Europe and in the world) and on the challenges relating to quality of life. The presentation concludes by describing initiatives in various countries to pursue wellbeing instead of simply economic growth.

Climate change impacts and climate-resilient pathways in the mediterranean region

Stefano Moncada (The University of Malta)

This presentation provides a synthesis of the available knowledge about climate change impacts in the Mediterranean region, focusing on coastal areas and islands, and highlights resilient sustainable development pathways, in response to climate change impacts. A third of the Mediterranean population (around 150 million people) lives close to the sea and depends on infrastructure developed in the immediate vicinity of the sea. More than 40% of Mediterranean coastal areas are built-up or otherwise modified, often rendering them particularly vulnerable to coastal flooding and erosion, caused by sea level rise in combination with extreme climatic events. Additional vulnerabilities relate to the infiltration of seawater into coastal aquifers (seawater intrusion) and the general degradation of coastal habitats, whose concentration of human and economic activities is resulting in an increasing degradation of coastal ecosystems. This presentation also reviews available evidence on adaptation efforts specifically related to address emerging issues and concerns in coastal zone management and risk preparedness of various socioeconomic groups to promote equitable and sustainable pathways.

Research Seminar No. 227

Trends in Banana Cultivation and Utilization in the Japanese Islands

SATO Yasuaki (School of Global Humanities and Social Sciences, Nagasaki University)

16:30 on Monday, 6 February 2023, 5th floor, the Interdivisional Education and Research Building, Korimoto Campus, Kagoshima University

Banana production in Japan was mainly limited to the sub-tropical islands of Ryuku and Ogasawara. Over the past few years, however, attempts have been made to cultivate the fruit in the temperate zones of Kyushu, Shikoku, Honshu, and Hokkaido, which were considered unsuitable for banana production. This study aimed to review the trends in banana cultivation and utilization in the Japanese archipelago.

The relationship between humans and bananas consists of two major components. One is the indigenous cultures that developed in different tropical and subtropical zones whereas the other is mass production on tropical plantations and mass consumption in the temperate and cold zones. Today, such issues as the global spread of diseases and pests, long food miles, and inequality between producers and consumers are particularly complicated. Against this background, the new developments in Japan can be viewed as a sign of a changed outlook of people in Japan, including the Nansei Islands, and modifications in the flow of banana production and consumption.

Based on newspaper and magazine articles on domestically produced bananas until 2018, banana plantations north of Kyushu can be roughly classified into the following three types. The first is farms that focus on sales to consumers (sales-specific); the second is farms that concentrate more on hands-on activities, such as harvesting events and plant ownership (experience-oriented); and the third is gardens that grow bananas on a small scale as an extension of a personal hobby and at times give them away as gifts or, on rare occasions, for sale. Since 2018, different methods of cultivation and use have been observed, and the exchange of information among banana growers has increased. However, the characteristics of this fruit and its history of spreading through personal networks have made it challenging for growers to identify cultivars.

Research Seminar No. 226

Medicine and food - from Satsuma Kurozen to ninjin'yoeito research

INUI Akio (Pharmacological Department of Herbal Medicine, Kagoshima University Graduate School of Medical & Dental Sciences)

16:30 on Monday, 16 January 2023, 5th floor, the Interdivisional Education and Research Building, Korimoto Campus, Kagoshima University

The Kagoshima University Food and Health Project aims to contribute to healthy longevity, with special reference to the prevention of lifestyle-related diseases and frailty, a condition requiring a cane, through Kagoshima functional food, the same source as Kampo medicine.

One of the projects is Kurozen (Satsuma Kurozen bento), which incorporates black rice and black vegetables containing rich anthocyanins, won the Excellence Award (2nd place) in the bento category of the 2019 National Supermarket Association. Another is the shochu project, in which we have identified functional ingredients with anti-metabolic effects as well as ghrelin-like substances that work similarly to ghrelin, a hunger hormone secreted from the stomach, that can suppress aging and promotes healthy longevity. Based on these findings, we are now developing functional shochu.

Ninjin’yoeito is called the strongest Hozai in Kampo medicine, and it has been reported to show the preventive and therapeutic effects on frailty such as strengthening immune function, promoting appetite, and reducing sarcopenia in the elderly. This Kampo medicine acts to stimulate ghrelin and hypothalamic neuropeptide Y downstream thereof. This hunger system forms the basis of caloric restriction and is deeply involved in healthy longevity, tumor suppression, and stress tolerance.

Kampo medicines contain many kinds of herbal drugs. Chinpi, dried citrus peels, are components of a substantial number of Kampo medicine including ninjin’yoeito. One of the origins of chinpi is Sakurajima small tangerine that also contains a lot of active ingredients such as hesperidin which stimulate ghrelin secretion. In this lecture, I will discuss the progress of modern medicine in healthy longevity from the standpoint of the same source of medicine and food.

Here for summaries of past research seminars