Division of Behavioral Studies

Division of Behavioral Studies


At the Department of Psychology, we aim to scientifically elucidate the functions of the mind as well as the operations of the brain that implements them through experiments and observations. Since the functioning of the mind cannot be viewed directly, behavior is analyzed as a clue to its operation. Three fields comprise our research and education pursuits. Basic Psychology aims to elucidate the functions of the intellect and emotions of individuals and their evolution and development in adults, infants and various other animals. Experimental Psychology analyzes functions such as the perception of the environment, cognition and memory, their development over a lifetime and their bases in the brain, using precise experimental methods and brain imaging techniques. Basic Behavioral Science aims to discern the mechanisms behind behaviors with a bottom-up approach by investigating neuron functions and composing models. These fields, however, may be considered different shades of a single color, rather than three distinctive colors: in fact, both undergraduate and graduate education programs are conducted by the whole faculty as a group with a common curriculum across these fields. In other words, we offer programs for undergraduate and graduate students not only so they may deepen their specialization but also to acquire a broad background.

Aside from careers in research and education, students have taken up professional careers in many different sectors, such as broadcasting, newspapers, publishing, finance or manufacturing after completing our programs.

The Department of Psychology and other departments concerned with psychology from the Faculty of Education and the Faculty of Integrated Human Studies together make up the “Kyoto University Psychology Union”, which offers cross-departmental introductory courses and a broad-ranging credit transfer system. The department also participates in Kyoto University’s “Advanced Research Unit on the Human Mind”.

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ASHIDA, Hiroshi Prof. Vision science; Perception and action
KUROSHIMA, Hika Prof. Comparative cognition; Evolution of social intelligence
MORIGUCHI Yusuke Assoc. Prof. Developmental Psychology
WILSON Duncan Andrew Ass. Prof. Comparative Psychology,Primatology


The Department of Linguistics was founded in 1908 and is one of the oldest linguistics departments in Japan. It has pursued General linguistic research in the areas of theoretical linguistics, descriptive linguistics, field linguistics, language documentation, historical comparative linguistics, along with individual studies on specific languages based on these theoretical foundations.

Lectures and seminars are given selectively on the above areas and include topics such as descriptive linguistics, field linguistics, comparative linguistics, phonology, phonetics, morphology, syntax and studies on languages/language families as Sino-Tibetan, Semitic, Eskimo, Altaic, Indo-European, Papuan, various African languages, Ryukyuan and Japanese. Foreign language courses are given mainly for Asian and African languages such as Korean, Burmese, Mongolian, Tibetan, Arabic, Persian, Indonesian, Tamil, Swahili and others. Fields outside the staff’s areas of expertise are covered by part-time lecturers from other universities.

Undergraduate and graduate students attend their respective lectures, though some lectures are open to both. Each graduate student is required to submit at least one paper a year.

The faculty members, students and graduates organize the Kyoto University Linguistic Circle, which holds three meetings a year at which lectures and papers on various topics are presented. The journal Linguistic Research, edited by graduate students, is annually published by the department.

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SADANOBU, Toshiyuki Prof. Spoken Japanese
TIDA, Syuntaro Prof. Papuan Linguistics; Korean
CATT, Adam Assoc. Prof. Historical Linguistics; Indo-Irarian, Indo-European
OTAKE Masami Lecturer Linguistic philology


What is sociology? Sociology is a challenging academic discipline that tries to understand and explain all the phenomena unfolding before our eyes and in our minds by focusing on the nature of “society” which consists of individuals but, at the same time, is external to individual consciousness and existence. These phenomena range from our innermost personal anguish to international conflicts, as well as from contemporary popular culture to the foundations of the systems that enable us to lead communal lives.

The Department of Sociology, which marked its centenaly in 2007, has a tradition of combining theoretical approaches which throw light on the generation and development of “society” through rigorous and thorough thought, with empirical approaches which analyze current topics from various angles based on social surveys and field research. We are also endeavoring to further develop this tradition into a new style of sociology and social research, in which researchers engage with the actual society and try to work within it.

Since 2008, we have promoted international collaboration in graduate education as an institution selected for the Global Centers of Excellence (GCOE) program by the Japanese Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology. We currently participate in faculty and graduate student exchange programs with over 33 partner universities and research institutions in Asia, Europe, and America. In cooperation with Kyoto University Asian Studies Unit (KUASU), we organize courses in English by professors from partner universities, and an annual international student workshop with National Taiwan University and Seoul National University. Students are given credit for attending these courses and programs as well as classes held in Vietnam, China and Korea in collaboration with partner universities.

Courses offered include those on the fundamentals of theory and methodology as well as diverse special lectures in which sociologists from inside and outside the university discuss the latest topics from their current research.

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TAROHMARU, Hiroshi Prof. Theory of social stratification; Mathematical sociology
KISHI, Masahiko Prof. Ethnic identity, Life history, Qualitative research methodology.
TANAKA, Noriyuki Assoc. Prof. Sociological theory; Social thought
HEIM, STÉPHANE Assoc. Prof. Economic Sociology, Industrial Sociology, Organizational Studies
MARUYAMA SATOMI Assoc.  Prof. Social wolfare.Gender studies


The object of the discipline of Geography is diverse phenomena concerned with human beings and nature that take place on the surface of the earth. Examples such as the ancient land division system of jōri, information represented on maps from the Age of Exploration, the recent growth of immigration, globalization, or the distance perception peculiar to children can all be topics for geographical study. Space, maps and humans are the three keywords in the department, but the approaches used to address them are quite diverse.

It is critical that students employ methods effectively; these methods, which may include field surveys, interviews, deciphering ancient documents and maps, mapping using GIS (geographic information system) or computer-based quantitative analysis, will vary depending on the research topic and the approach. For this reason, fieldwork in geography and reading courses are obligatory for students in the department. In the geography fieldwork courses, students select a target area together, conduct field surveys on their respective themes and then collaborate to compile a final report. In addition, seminar courses are important both for undergraduate and graduate students; students are required to present their research outcomes periodically. For undergraduate students, this serves as a step in developing their research interests and issues into a graduation thesis, and for graduate students, it is a step in preparing a dissertation for the master’s or doctoral degree.

The research and education pursuits of the Department of Geography have been traditionally characterized by respect for creative and original thinking, sharp observation for identifying issues in the field and flexible thinking to explore new fields of research. The department has produced not only geographers of distinctive uniqueness but also researchers active in proximate fields in the social sciences such as cultural anthropology, regional studies and regional policy studies. Many graduates now play important roles in a variety of social sectors including education, government, mass media, construction and transport. We hope that the activities of future students who follow in this tradition will also continue to go beyond conventional frameworks.

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KOMEIE, Taisaku Prof. Historical geography; Rural studies
HANIBUCHI, Tomoya Assoc. Prof. Urban Geography, Health Geography
SUGIE, Ai Prof. Social Geography, Area Studies (South Asia)

(Visiting Professors)

NAKAGAWA, Nobutoshi Visit. Prof. Theoretical Sociology