IV-16. “Reconstruction of “local wisdom” through performance: Collaborative research for application to education” (R3 FY2021)

  • Project Leader : Iizuka Noriko (Kyoto University, Center for Southeast Asian Studies)
  • Collaborators : Oishi Takanori (Tokyo University of Foreign Studies, African Studies Center)
  • : Sonoda Koji (Kyoto University, The Center for African Area Studies)
  • : Yamaguchi Mikako (Hokkaido University , Graduate School of Humanities and Human Sciences)
  • : Watanabe Takahiro (Tokyo Gakugei University, Graduate School of Education)
  • : Kobayashi Mai (Ritsumeikan University, College of Policy Science)
  • : Tanaka Ayana (Kyoto University, Graduate School of Asian and African Area Studies)
  • : Seki Yuji (National Museum of Ethnology, Research Department)
  • : Yanohara Yushi (Kyoto University, The Center for African Area Studies)
  • : Sakamoto Ryota (Kyoto University, Center for Southeast Asian Studies)
  • : Nagaoka Shinsuke (Kyoto University, Graduate School of Asian and African Area Studies)
  • : Yumii Mana (BEBERICA Theater and Company)

Outline of Research

In this study, we will conduct workshops in which adults and children learn about a region through performance, which includes the elements of physicality, dialogue, interaction, narrative, and symbolism that are found in the passing down of local knowledge and culture. This year, in addition to conducting the workshops, we will return recorded images of the performances to the indigenous peoples of Canada and exchange opinions on the learning and representation methods of this research.

We also plan to edit a collection of papers, and will propose a model of education that relativizes and complements scientific ways of thinking from the perspective of area studies.


This research creates opportunities for Japanese adults and children to learn about a region through performance and theater. Performance uses the same elements of passing down knowledge—such as physicality, dialogue, interaction, narrative, and symbolism—as those used by Native Canadians, African hunter-gatherers, and others. While area studies have so far been based on academic methods of objective description, this study will elucidate aspects of representation and understanding of an area that emerge in the process of co-creating place through improvisational theater conducted by performers, researchers, and ordinary citizens.

During this year, we continue online programs for children and begin social education for adults while deepening our analysis of the methodology.We will revise the program with the cooperation of local people by returning recorded images of the programs to local communities of indigenous people in Canada. We will compile a collection of articles featuring a series of practices learned in various regions.

The significance of this study is that it opens up the possibility of complementing the analytical and objective approach to area studies with a subjective and integrated approach by learners of various ages. Today, in the field of education, active learning methods are being explored. We will demonstrate how the fundamental ways of passing down wisdom, which can be shown only through area studies, can be regenerated in the field of education.

The expected effects of this study include 1) the expansion of opportunities and methods to demonstrate the achievements of area studies to society, 2) the possibility of collaboration with educational fields such as international cooperation and theater education, and the presentation of new approaches to integrative area studies.


A scene from the online workshop: imitating the scraping fishery of hunter-gatherer Baka Pygmies

Online workshop on the life of Tlingit, Indigenous people in Canada