The National Museum of Ethnology (Minpaku) is a research center for ethnology and cultural anthropology.

Living Strategies of Resource-limited Islanders in the Western Pacific: Resource Exploitation and Interactions with Other Islands

Joint Research Coordinator INTOH Michiko

Reserch Theme List

Research Results Publication “Anthropology of the Environment and Resource Usage—Lifestyles and Cultures in Western Pacific Islands,” March 28, 2006, Akashi Shoten Co., Ltd.→to publisher’s website


The Western Pacific region is dotted with volcanic and coral islands, with dramatic disparities between the individual islands in terms of natural resources. Especially in central Micronesia, whose coral islands are poor in land resources, brisk inter-island trading (sawei) is conducted with volcanic islands that are rich in natural resources. There has been a considerable amount of progressive anthropological research concerning this arrangement.
This research will not limit its object of research to Micronesia, but instead will study a broad range of islands, even extending to those located in a swath from Okinawa through Taiwan to the Philippines, as we attempt to shed light on the universal characteristics of resource usage in tropical island environments. After considering aspects of resource use on islands, we will investigate from diverse vantage points the mechanisms used for obtaining resources through off-island cultural contacts and their significance. By approaching these issues from different standpoints, we intend to get feedback from the actual participants about the research.