The regions of Inner Eurasia are inhabited by a large number of ethnic groups engaged in a wide variety of activities, including pastoral farming and agriculture. Despite its geographical proximity to Japan, the wide-ranging environment of savannah, desert, and mountains offers excellent locales for research on the connections between the environment and culture, society, history, and language.
Primarily in Chinese Inner Mongolia, the region's environment, as well as its culture and society, are changing rapidly under the influence of development and the introduction of a market economy. Investigating the problems brought about by such influences and how to resolve them is an issue of vital importance. Various projects are being planned and undertaken in order to research the above themes from anthropological, linguistic, and sociological perspectives, principally through fieldwork in the Inner Mongolian region.
In East Asia (in this context meaning China and neighboring regions at the eastern edge of Eurasia), there exist a number of linguistic groups of various lineages whose complicated dynamics of interaction have been preserved to the present day. In this project, the primary research theme is the relation between these lineages and the dynamics of interaction in the history of these regional linguistic groups. Regarding specific methods, along with reconstruction of proto-languages and drawing of linguistic family trees through traditional comparative method and phylogenetic analysis, the study of contacts between these regional languages in terms of the lexical and structural aspects is also advancing. Some of our graduate students are researching contact linguistics, while others are focusing on Chinese or other languages.