Hokkaido University Research Profiles


Human and Social Sciences: 15

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  • Life Sciences
  • Information and Communication
  • Nanotechnology / Materials
  • Manufacturing Technology
  • Human and Social Sciences
  • Energy
  • Environment
  • Tourism / Community development
  • Arctic Research
  • Social Infrastructure
  • Open Facilities
  • Analysis of Economic Behavior and Software Development by the Stated Preference Method

    Using the data analysis environment R

    To statistically analyze people's economic behavior, we generally use the results of actual behavior. However, the necessary data may not always be available. In such cases, the stated preference method of questionnaire-based research is useful. We conduct research using the stated preference method and develop the software to implement it.


    People engage in economic activities every day, such as purchasing products and deciding what to do for recreation. Elucidating and predicting the factors that influence economic behavior is information that is needed both in academia and practice. The analysis of economic behavior is generally based on statistical data and other data that record actual past behavior, but the necessary data is not always available. In such cases, the stated preference method is useful for collecting and analyzing data by asking questions designed based on economic theory to target people. In addition to conducting empirical research using the stated preference method mainly in agricultural and rural areas (although the scope of application of this method is not limited to agricultural and rural areas), we have developed and released a software package for the data analysis environment R that can be freely used by anyone who is interested in practicing the stated preference method.

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  • Building Relationships with People in Greater China

    Media and public relations in East Asia

    Internationalization of Japan's community-based organizations (e.g., companies, local governments) is an urgent issue. In particular, building a relationship with the expanding China is extremely important. This session will explore effective ways for Japanese local organizations to incorporate the growth of China and the Greater China region by building on case studies.


    China is continuing its economic growth. Economic ties with Hong Kong, Taiwan, and neighboring countries and regions are being strengthened, and the Greater China region is being formed, making the region a growth engine for the global economy. However, Japan-China relations also involve issues such as historical awareness and territorial sovereignty. Some people are concerned that expanding China will disrupt the existing order. So, how should Japanese regions try to build relations with China while taking the above risk factors into account? The Center for East Asian Media Studies at Hokkaido University has been analyzing media trends in East Asia. Based on this foundation, how should we distribute information to the Greater China region, and how can we build good relations with the people of East Asia for the future? We will consider how to do this by taking advantage of the characteristics of organizations that are the sources of the information.

  • Cooperation and Value Creation in Community-based Workspaces

    Development process of coworking

    In recent years, working systems of individuals who do not necessarily have the same occupation or affiliation but interact and cooperate with each other according to the situation in organizations and local communities, as well as the workplaces that they share, have been attracting attention. This research is aimed to clarify the process of cooperation and value creation in such workplaces.


    The purpose of this study is to elucidate the process of cooperation and value creation in a community-type workspace. A community-type workspace is an open workspace where individuals share information and knowledge with other through communication, and create value through collaboration according to the situation. A coworking space is a typical example of such a place, and in recent years, it has been becoming more and more popular in Europe, the U.S., and the rest of the world. In the background, there is a movement of questioning the highly uniform interaction and cooperation among members in closed spaces, a system that is still dominant in organizations and local communities, and to achieve both individual autonomy and solidarity. This research is expected to provide knowledge that will contribute to the design and operation of such workspaces, as well as their organizational and social utilization, which are still largely unknown.

  • Creating Appropriate Governance Systems based on Theory and Practice

    Making Our Society Safer and More Secure through Public-Private Collaborations

    Based on my previous case studies on safety and environmental regulatory processes, science and technology policies, and regional developments, I conduct research on how to create appropriate governance systems that contribute to solving public policy problems in introducing and disseminating advanced technologies into society. Governance theory and practice, through collaboration with stakeholders, will undoubtedly help.


    While technology greatly benefits society, it also poses various risks. Therefore, when introducing advanced technology, it is necessary to design governance systems that minimise these risks and to determine the optimal public policies to maximize the benefits.
    In the case of automobiles, the perception of the regulatory policy often differs among stakeholders such as manufacturers, regulators, and users. Regulatory policy is also largely determined by harmonized international standards.
    As such, I define public policy problems in introducing advanced technology into society based on an understanding of the overall picture, seek a place in which stakeholders can reach an agreement, build consensus, and consider how to create governance systems in which the public and private sectors can cooperate.

    Yuichi Murakami Associate Professor
  • Developing Applications of GIS and Geospatial Information

    A human geographical approach to the advanced information society

    GIS (Geographical Information System) is a system for analyzing, searching, and displaying geospatial information (data including location information). In this laboratory, we are developing GIS analysis and visualization methods related to geospatial information for the purpose of supporting regional planning and disaster prevention planning.


    At this laboratory we are using GIS to study the use of geospatial information, such as Geospatial Information Authority (GSI) maps and digital national land information, maintained by the national government as well as open data maintained by local governments and big data such as movement history acquired by GPS. For example, the results of this research are being used to support the formulation of plans for tsunami evacuation in snowy and cold regions. The winter environment in snowy and cold regions (frozen road surfaces, reduced road width due to snow, etc.) makes tsunami evacuation in coastal areas extremely difficult. At our laboratory we generate a lot of information necessary for planning, such as the demarcation of difficult-to-evacuate areas, the estimation of difficult-to-evacuate populations, and evaluation of the capacity of evacuation sites under such snowy cold conditions, and publish our techniques and results. In this way, we are developing technologies to easily and quickly create socially useful information from a geographical perspective, and are continuing our research to contribute to the formation of the foundation for an advanced information society.

  • Development of the Evaluation Framework and Methods for Museums

    Revealing social and economic values and experimenting with participatory evaluation

    Self-evaluation of museums within an appropriate framework is necessary to obtain hints for learning and improvement, and promote information disclosure. With this study, we will examine the framework and evaluation methods together with museum staff, and support the process until the actual operation of evaluation activities.


    Our research is aimed to communicate the value of museums to society at large through evaluation and to establish the recognition of such value. Conventional evaluation methods have focused only on the academic and cultural values that visitors gain from a museum. As a result, the evaluation results were only conveyed to a limited number of museum workers and enthusiasts. Their contribution to business improvement has also been insignificant.
    In this research, we will examine an evaluation framework (see figure) and methods that focus on social and economic values created by the existence of museums in local communities, including many non-visitors, and disclose these values. In addition, we will try various evaluation methods, such as participatory evaluation, which is effective for learning and improvement, and use them to improve our projects. Through these efforts, it will be possible for museums to become more everyday places for citizens and an indispensable part of local communities.

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  • Improving E-learning and Opening up Education

    Realizing the future of learning through open education

    We are researching internet-based educational learning, including e-learning, from the perspective of educational technology. We are also conducting practical research on how to use education that has been made more accessible through open courseware and MOOCs, among other media, to improve the quality of teaching materials and the effectiveness of learning.


    arch is to improve the quality of education by improving the learning experience using the internet (e-learning) and promoting open education. To effectively implement e-learning, it is essential to develop teaching materials and implement evaluation methods based on instructional design theory. We also conduct research to enhance learning effects through blended learning, which is the effective combining of e-learning with face-to-face education like flip teaching. In addition, through “open education” activities such as OCW (Open Courseware) and MOOC (Massive Open Online Course), which provide learning opportunities beyond educational institutions such as schools and universities, lecture videos and educational activities themselves are made available to the public, and education is provided while involving diverse learners and experts. Thus, we are also conducting research to continuously improve the teaching materials and education itself.

  • Modern and Contemporary Economic History of Hokkaido

    Mainly in central Hokkaido

    The term “Hokkaido economy” is still associated with “backwardness” and “primary industry.” However, if we look at the history of Hokkaido in modern times, we can see remarkable progress in urban development, which has undergone an expansion and transformation unparalleled in Japanese economic history, especially in Sapporo and the central part of Hokkaido.


    Since Hokkaido is an island, new ports have continuously been built and port cities developed, and the central ports have changed with the times. It is said that Hakodate and Otaru were the two largest commercial centers in Hokkaido during the Meiji era (1868-1912), followed by the rapid growth of Muroran and Kushiro during the wartime period. After the war, the port of Tomakomai was opened, and in 1982, the Ishikari Bay New Port was opened. All of these were planned during the war but actually constructed after the war. With the centralization of Sapporo, port functions became centralized in Tomakomai. Although Otaru is still alive and well as a tourist city, the Ishikari Bay New Port has surpassed Otaru as far as port functions are concerned. These changes in the major ports are backed by transformation of Hokkaido’s industries. We are researching the economic history, which is of the island of Hokkaido from the perspectives of logistics and industries, particularly on how it is related to the present.

  • Process Design for Social Decision Making

    A social psychological approach to consensus building

    In situations necessitating decisions involving the entire community, such as those for national and local government planning, a wide range of opinions should be included in a comprehensive manner. The plan will also only be meaningful if it is shared by many people and linked to the actions of each individual. Process design is the key to realizing these goals.


    In situations requiring public decision-making (e.g., planning), simply setting of a philosophy may turn out to be pie in the sky. On the other hand, the more detailed one tries to be, the more different values may come into conflict. Designing the necessary dialog forum to overcome these problems is crucial. The key to this is the sharing of common goals. In other words, it is necessary to create new values to overcome the differences in values, and to create and implement a social vision that is not an abstract idea, but one that can convince people involved of its feasibility. At this laboratory, we design a series of such activities as process design. We specifically support more effective public decision-making by using public participation techniques for consensus building and behavior change approaches to put plans into practice.

    Susumu Ohnuma Professor Director of Center for Experimental Research in Social Sciences
    Doctor of Psychology
  • Research on Internal Communication in Organizations

    Communication in risk and strategic systems

    I am interested in the risk communication that is formed within management organizations. Risk can be broadly classified into pure risk and dynamic risk, and I am examining how these elements shape communication within organizations and define individual and group behavior.


    The primary purpose of my research is to identify the unique communication phenomena that form within organizations. In my research on pure risk, I explored internal/external organizational public relations, especially as pertaining to product accidents and the internal risk communication in organizations handling hazardous materials. I believe that communication that is created/disturbed/diffused/structured within an organization and that has some kind of inherent meaning/value for the organization will lead to novel organizational strategies, and that is what characterizes my research and makes it unique. In this regard, I have recently been examining how social organizations (e.g., photography) are organized and the intentions of it.

  • Research on Organizational Strategy Through Public Relations, Marketing, and CSR

    Based on media and social media strategy

    In recent years, dramatic changes in consumers and the business environment have made it difficult to increase the effectiveness of traditional management techniques. Against the backdrop of declining effectiveness of media, marketing and brand appeal, we are researching new public relations strategies to build good relationships between organizations and society in difficult times.


    Public relations strategies in general are mainly information strategies to achieve media coverage of the news, and media effect theory methods have often been used for public relations effectiveness. Based on the premise that consumers are changing from a single-value orientation to a diverse/multiple-value orientation, and that the media are changing from mass media to online and social media, and in consideration of the current social environment, research on the CSR strategies of organizations has gradually been increasing in weight recently.
    CSR is mainly divided into defense, which comprises compliance and governance, and offense, which is aimed to improve the image of an organization that contributes to management through strategic social contribution. Depending on the company size, type of business and other factors, practical strategies of small and medium-sized companies and large corporations may differ slightly, but a proper balance between the defense and offense areas is required.

  • Techniques for Listening to Opinions That Are Difficult to Express Verbally

    Unconscious Attitude Measurement Using Latent Association Analysis

    People do not always say what is on their minds, and may hide their true feelings in questionnaires and interviews. Latent association analysis is a technique that enables measurement of attitudes that are difficult to express face-to-face, using a five-minute-long online game-like interface.


    Some people in a questionnaire or interview may give “desirable and exemplary” answers based on common sense, interpersonal relationships, and social norms when they are asked what their impressions are of a certain product or service. By using a method called the implicit association test (IAT), we can get closer to their true feelings, which are difficult to reveal consciously. It can be applied to the measurement of not only good and bad feelings, but also a variety of other emotional states.

  • Utilize Archaeological Sites as Cultural and Regional Resources

    To Establish a Jomon Ecomuseum in My Community

    By surveying archaeological sites and maintaining and preserving them as satellites of an ecomuseum, we are preparing and applying mechanisms to routinely/continuously utilize them as local resources for the people who live there and as cultural resources shared by all humankind.


    Instead of treating archaeological sites as an annoyance for development work, we will change their value as local resources for the people living in the area and as cultural resources shared by all human beings. For this purpose, a part of the archaeological sites will be excavated in a planned manner and will be maintained and preserved as a "satellite" of the “ecomuseum.” An ecomuseum is a museum that does not require a roof or walls. Satellites are open-air exhibits. While working with local people to develop and preserve the archaeological sites as historical heritage, we are proud to live in the area and participate in the ecomuseum activities as hosts. The planned excavation of the site will be carried out in cooperation with local people and the board of education as part of the university's “Archaeology Practice” educational program. We find it meaningful to practice part of the university education in the local community, the practice of which then becomes the practice of ecomuseum activities as such.