The Research Institute for Time Studies (RITS) at Yamaguchi University was established in April 2000 when Dr. Heisuke Hironaka was the president of the university. The aim is to create Time Studies as a new interdisciplinary area of study by understanding nature, human, society, and culture from the viewpoint of time, and for society to benefit from the research results. The activities of RITS provided an important opportunity for the establishment of the Japanese Society for Time Studies.
RITS is composed of the director, three research staff members, and administrative staff. About 100 researchers on campus and outside of Yamaguchi University are involved in RITS activities in various ways.
Overview of the “Time Studies” Lectures
The lectures include topics on time-related areas such as developmental biology, evolution, the birth of the universe, and sociological time. In particular, students are required to understand the interaction between social time and biological time, and to consider the significance and issues of time in human life.
The research organization of RITS consists of four study groups. The researchers work in a wide range of fields related to time studies such as biology, medicine, sociology, philosophy, literature, geology, psychology, economics, and social anthropology.
Fields Related to the Harmony of Social Time and Human Time
In modern society, as a result of the arrival of the global information society, the tension between social time and human time has become intense. The aim of this study group is to harmonize social time and human time through the scientific research of these time categories.
Fields Related to Biological Time, Evolution and Environmental Change
The research members are studying to understand how environmental changes and biological evolution interact with each other throughout the never-ending and everlasting time. The goal of the research is to elucidate what time is for organisms by obtaining experimental data using various organisms ranging from protozoa to mice.
Fields Related to Representations of Time in Multicultural Areas
The question of how to represent time is closely related to cultures and organizations. We examine the difference of representations of time in multicultural areas from the perspective of thought, literature, linguistics, and so on. In addition, we study the conceptual base of time from philosophy and time-related arts.
Various Fields in Time Studies
Time is an important concept in a variety of study fields. The concept of time is slightly different in each study field. In this study group, time is considered from many different perspectives in fields such as medicine, agriculture, physics, and engineering, and the possibilities of time studies are investigated.