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Yoshikawa2013.jpgKyoto University’s Kokoro Research Center officially commenced operations in April of 2007. Bringing together researchers from disparate academic disciplines, the Center serves as a research organization unique not only in Kyoto but in Japanese academia nationwide. The Japanese word “Kokoro” includes the nuances of heart and soul, mind and spirit; the name of this Research Center envisions the growth of the human spirit in the society to come. We hope that the fruits of our interdisciplinary research will support a richer and more abundant human spirit in future ages.

Kokoro is invisible energy, acting inherently and irreplaceably in each human being. We are all intuitively intimate with the workings of our kokoro (hearts, minds, and spirits), but when our kokoro is inharmonious or disrupted, it can erupt in violence, anomie, apathy, addiction, antisocial and self-destructive behavior. The Kokoro Research Center is committed to investigating the causes and possible solutions of such psychologically based socio-behavioral problems, to facilitate open-mindedness, well-being, and self-esteem.

Most psychosocial problems derive from a multiplicity of environmental and causal factors, which lack simple solutions. Even now, many academic disciplines are advancing research on the human mind. All too often, their ever-increasing specialization and subdivision leads to abstract generalizations or to microscopic particularity, risking the loss of a sense of reality on a personal and embodied scale. To offset these tendencies, we feel the need for research that once again places embodied human behavior at the center of research about mind and consciousness. Our searches for answers require complementary and integrated approaches from a cognitive neuroscientific understanding of mind, an historico-cultural understanding of mentality, an ethico-religious understanding of the human spirit.

Within this framework, we endeavor to illuminate empirically such varied functions of our kokoro as intelligence, emotion, feelings, values, empathy, and communication. We hope to re-examine the ways in which these particular functions interact and integrate to form the richness of our kokoro. Only on the basis of such careful and unstinting research can we venture to suggest approaches to these complex psycho-social problems. Actively integrating multidisciplinary approaches, we hope to dedicate the results of our work to the broader society. For this purpose, our Center aims to become a locus of academic creativity, fostering collaborative and cooperative research projects, building on international as well as national scholarly networks. To publicly disseminate the activities and results of our academic research, we conduct public symposia, workshops, seminars, and conferences.

We deeply appreciate your warm support for and participation in the activities of our Center.

Director Sakiko Yoshikawa Ph.D.