Area Studies in Japan has arisen especially as a social response to open alternative frontiers which orthodox academic studies could not respond to. In particular, CSEAS Kyoto University, has incorporated the natural sciences to enrich Area Studies, integrating this discipline with the social sciences. Practice-oriented Area Studies strongly seeks a way to participate in and learn from people’s practical efforts to challenge their possibilities in this area. This department officially started in October 2008, and is thus, the newest in CSEAS. As of November 2009, one associate professor (Head of Department), one assistant professor, one lecturer, seven research fellows and two supporting staff belong to the department.
The main projects are a mobile site type research for sustainability science. These are as follows: Practice-oriented Area Study on Re-vitalization of Networking Societies by “Zaichi” (Village-Communities) and Local Towns (Rural Urban) in collaboration with ISS (Institute of Sustainability Science); an Alternative Rural Development Model on the Basis of Rural History and Culture: Action for Mutual Learning on the Significance of Rural Culture through Networking with People in Asian Developing Countries and Japan (Asian Neighbors Network Program, Toyota Foundation); The Promoting Project for Needs Based Area Studies for the World: Study on “Social Software” for Development and Environment Preservation in Peripheral South Asia: Trying to Find a Clue through Stakeholder Participation (JSPS); and the International Networking Project to Cope with Natural Hazards on the Periphery of Bengal Bay (JSPS).