Research Institute for Sustainable Humanosphere

Center for Exploratory Research on the Humanosphere

The Center was established to promote interdisciplinary research projects relevant to RISH’s missions and to pioneer new scientific fields. The Center seeks to vigorously expand new fields of Humanosphere Science, in collaboration with the RISH staff, Mission Research Fellows, guest researchers and outside cooperative researchers. Since 2010, RISH has functioned as a Joint Usage/Research Center committed to being a source for project-based collaborative research by promoting three main activities: the “Exploratory Research for Sustainable Humanosphere Science” invites applications from young researchers undertaking exploratory interdisciplinary research; the “Mission Research for the Sustainable Humanosphere” invites applications for research projects that address RISH’s five missions; and the “Flagship Collaborative Research on the Humanosphere” promotes project-based collaborative research. The Center seeks to promote international collaboration through open recruitment of projects and various educational and research programs in and outside the University. It also holds events, such as symposiums and open seminars.exploratory_center_01

Organization of Open-seminar

The “Open seminar” is a casual research meeting within RISH during lunchtime on Wednesday. At each seminar, we invite a lecture from RISH or outside with the aim of sharing results within RISH, inspiring new seeds of research, and enhancing collaborations, We held 12 open seminars in 2016, bringing the total number to 217. In association with our international promotion program, “RISH Asia Research Node”, we also started to deliver selected seminars to the Indonesian Institute of Science (LIPI) and will further enhance this effort in the future.

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Organization of Symposium

exploratory_center_02RISH has consistently held many research meetings since its establishment in 2004, trying to promote Humanosphere Science to a wide audience and expand the  research community. At present, 342 of these meetings, named “RISH Symposiums”, have been held to date. In 2016 the Center for Exploratory Research on the Humanosphere supported 28 RISH Symposia held not only in Japan, but also abroad in countries like Indonesia, Malaysia, and Thailand. At the end of every fiscal year, the Center holds the mission symposium to summarize and review RISH’s activities during the year and to discuss directions for the short and/or long-term future. 

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Exploratory Research by Mission Research Fellows

As the Humanosphere Sciences Joint Usage/Research Hub, RISH defines the humanosphere from a global viewpoint as the spheres vital to human existence: “the outer space”, “the atmosphere”, “the forest-sphere” and “the human living environment”. The center promotes interdisciplinary and exploratory research projects by Mission Research Fellows, who are young researchers and members of the Center for Exploratory Research on the Humanosphere. They work on exploratory/fusion research projects relating to the five missions for establishing humanosphere science.

Atsuki Shinbori : Study on long-term variation of the earth’s atmospheric environment using a variety of observation databases


In this study, we investigate the characteristics of long-term variation of the Earth’s atmospheric environment using the IUGONET data analysis system, which deals with various kinds of long-term observation data obtained from global observation networks.

Ryo Narita : Antiviral compounds of plant biomass


In this study, we aim to analyze the antiviral activity of plant biomass-derived pyrolysis products, pyroligneous acid and natural bioactive compounds, such as shikonin and berberine.

Soichi Tanaka : Development of techniques for highly controlled chemical treatment in wood flow forming 

Our study aims to homogenously fill all the cell walls of a wood block with chemical substances as a pre-treatment for wood flow-forming techniques. This study clarifies mechanism of substance-migration to control substance-distribution.

Ayaka Sakabe: A clarification of variable factors affecting ecosystem-scale methane exchange in temperate, boreal and tropical forests using isotope analysis

CH4 is the most powerful greenhouse gas next to CO2. The CH4 dynamics in forest ecosystems are still poorly understand. Sinks and sources of CH4 must be identified and accurately quantified, and we need a better understanding of the  processes that control their dynamics.

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“Research for Sustainable Humanosphere Science” program

The sustainable survival of human beings depends on exploration of research topics related to Humanosphere Science. In 2009, we started the “Research for Sustainable Humanosphere Science” program to find and promote these studies by young researchers under 40 years old. In 2016, we started receiving applications not only from Japan but also from overseas researchers, adopting 15 projects in total. 

Examples of Research Projects in FY 2016 (Total 15 titles)

  • Chin-Cheng Yang : Global genetic database for the widespread invasive alien species: invasive ants as example
  • Masayuki Itoh : Application of laser-based CH4 analyzer on canopy scale CH4 Flux in tropical peat swamp forest
  • Yasuhiro Shimane : Understanding of wood-component conversion by a marine-bacterial lignin-degrading enzyme
  • Takao Koezuka : Structual modification of lignin by genetic engineering using monolignol acetheyltransferase
  • Kojiro Takanashi : Functional analyses of cyclization enzymes in the biosynthesis of plant secondary metabolites

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“Mission Research for the Sustainable Humanosphere” program

RISH has adopted five scientific missions to tackle the immediate research needs related to the survival of mankind. Since 2009, we have supported applications that address these missions from researchers from within and outside the University through the “Mission Research for the Sustainable Humanosphere” program. In 2016, we started receiving applications from overseas researchers, adopting 27 projects in total.

Examples of Research Projects in FY 2016 (Total 27 titles)

  • Hirotsugu KOjima : Observation of wave-particle interactions in the relation to the ion outflow in the polar region
  • Halimurrahman : Study of atmospheric stability variations with EAR-RASS observations
  • Naoto Nihei : Characteristics of soils and crops based on the ratio of radiocesium (137Cs) to stablecesium (133Cs)
  • Hubert Luce : International collaborative study on atmospheric turbulence based on simultaneous observations with the MU radar, small unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV), and radiosonde balloons
  • Hiroaki Isobe : Reconstructing the past solar antivity using aurora and sunspot records in historical literature

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Flagship Collaborative Research on the Humanosphere

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The “Flagship Collaborative Research on the Humanosphere” is an effort to promote  and enhance the visibility of project based collaborative research actively conducted in the Core Research Divisions. In 2016 we reexamined the existing projects and expanded this effort to five projects.


Bio-nanomaterial research  

Leader:Hiroyuki Yano

In this flagship research, we perform collaborative fusion research for the production and reconstitution of cellulose nanofibers to contribute to the establishment of a sustainable humanosphere through the creation of advanced bio-based nanomaterials for use in automobiles, buildings and many other products.


Integrated studies of the sustainable production and utilization of tropical biomass plants

Leader: Toshiaki Umezawa

The aim of this flagship projects is to conduct international collaborative research towards the establishment of system for the sustainable management and utilization of tropical plantation of trees and grass biomass plants.


Collaborative study on energy transfer process in space humansphere

Leader:Yoshiharu Omura

The contribute safety and security of the humanosphere, we investigate energy transfer processes from the Sun to aurorae and radiation belts.


Collaborative Research of Energy Transfer and Material Conversion by Microwaves

Leader : Naoki Shiohara

This collaborative research aims to open a new field of  microwave utilization for wireless energy transfer (Microwave Power Transfer, Wireless Power Transfer) and energy transfer sources for the development of materials (biofuels and functional materials derived from biomass and inorganic resources such as metals and ceramics). This collaborative research also aims at expanding microwave-applied science and technology through communication between microwave engineers and chemists, biologists, physicists, medical and material scientists from the Research Institute for Sustainable Humanosphere and other research organizations around the world.


Equatorial Fountain

Leader : Mamoru Yamamoto

Cumulonimbus convection is active in the equatorial atmosphere, which generates atmospheric waves that propagate upward to transport energy and momentum in the upper atmosphere. Materials originating from low-to-mid-latitude regions also converge in the equatorial region, are blown upward, and spread across the globe. We call this process the “Equatorial Atmosphere Radar in Indonesia and other instruments, and by modeling and simulation. This project also promotes plans for the Equatorial MU Radar.

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