|About the KURCPI
Research Concepts: Islands, Island-Zones and Island-Spheres
- Kagoshima University, Iocated in the southernmost prefecture of the four main islands of Japan, is a well established national university with eight faculties : Law, Economics and the Humanities, Education, Science, Medicine, Dentistry, Engineering, Agriculture, and Fisheries. Largely because of its southern location the University has concentrated on, and become best known for, its Oceanic and Southeast Asian Studies.
The Center was first set up in 1980 as an inter-faculty institution, the Research Center for the Southern Regions. In 1981, the Center evolved into the Research Center for the South Paicifc (KURCSP), affectionately known by its Japanese acronym Nankaiken. The term of the KURCSP came to an end in March 1998. The organization was taken over by the new and current Research Center for the Pacific Islands (KURCPI) in April 1998.
Objectives and Projects
- The KURCPI focuses on the studies on island-zones in Oceania and its surroundings. An island-zone, consisting of an area that encompasses a group of islands, is a space where networks of people, things and information are formed and interaction among islands take place. An aggregation of island-zones comprises an island-sphere.
The KURCPI aims to promote interdisciplinary studies on islands and islands zones in Oceania and its surroundings.
The results of the studies are combined to promote comprehensive understanding of islands and islands zones and to further the welfare of people in Oceania and its surroundings.
These objectives are accomplished principally through the following five projects, two on the Environment of Island-Zones and three on the Social Dynamics of Island-Zones:
Environment of Island-Zones
- Project 1. People-nature interactions
On several islands of a few respective tropical or subtropical island-zones in the Pacific Ocean which show the typical characteristics of the island-zone, the Center will survey relationships between human activities and nature there and human adaptation to observed changes. Using the data actually obtained during such field surveys, this project aims to clarify the system of interactions within the island-zone with regard to both human and natural aspects and to pick out and reconstruct theoretically the general features there of the interactions between people and nature.
- Project 2. Physical geography
A great number of islands and island-zones, after the data of physical geography there are accumulated and put in order, will be physically classified. The accumulated data will contribute greatly to the construction of the geographical information system (GIS) concerning the tropical and subtropical island-spheres of the Pacific. In addition, study of island biogeography with emphasis upon the relationship between the endemic species on respective islands and the island types classified as mentioned above and upon the modeling of the modes of species dispersal from one to another island is also among the main objectives of this research project.
Social Dynamics of Island-Zones
- Project 1. Social and cultural changes
By collecting and analyzing historical records on as well as written and oral traditions in the island-zones of Oceania and its surroundings, this project aims to examine, cultural codes that regulate islands zone societies, and to explicate an island zone society's strategic adaptation to the change of its natural and social environments by reconstructing cultural codes.
- Project 2. Medical approach to human ecology
Deterioration of living conditions in the South Pacific is often intensified by population concentration in urban and favorable coastal areas, and the penetration of the world wide market economy triggers a drastic change of diet and other habits. The objective of this project is to study living and dietetic conditions, and medical standards in an island zone of the South Pacific through a socio-medical approach.
- Project 3. Political and economic functions of island nations in international communities
Island nations in the South Pacific, relatively small in size and population, located far away from centers of the global economy, share the problem of limited resources except for the ocean. This project will study the island nations' survival strategies and their interaction with the nations outside the region in international political and economic arenas.
The KURCPI is a Kagoshima University cooperative research and educational facility. Its activities are supported by the University's researchers and researchers from other domestic and overseas universities and institutions.
- Research Division
- Full-time staff (4 persons)
- Foreign Visiting Researcher (1 person)
- On-campus researchers
- Off-campus researchers
- Administrative Division
- Full-time officers (2 person)
See Staffs for further information
A council, consisting of the director, the full-time staff, seven representatives from the on-campus researchers, eight representatives from the eight faculties, formulates management policies.
Center staff meetings, consisting of full-time and on-campus researchers, in conjunction with the three Center committees, decide matters concerning research projects.
- Scientific surveys in island-zones in Oceania and its surroundings
- Cooperation in research and education with universities and research institutions in the respective areas
- Training researchers in these areas
- Participation in education of graduate and undergraduate, and overseas students
- Holding symposiums and workshops
- Collection and dissemination of scientific information, and publicizing research activities
- Holding public lectures
- Publication of research results
See Seminar and Symposium at KURCPI for current activities
- South Pacific Study
- Occasional Papers
- The Prompt Report of the Ist-5th Scientific Survey of the South Pacific (1982-87)
- South Pacific Newsletter
- Tatoken Dayori
Go to Publictions for further information