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A T-shaped Interdisciplinary Approach to Cormorant fishing Culture in Japan

Research period:2020.10-2023.3

UDA Shuhei


cormorant fishing,wildness, T-shaped Interdisciplinary Approach 


The objective of this research project is to conduct a comparative analysis of new cases of cormorant fishing culture in Japan based on a methodology called a “T-shaped interdisciplinary approach” (described below), and shed light on the overall situation of cormorant fishing culture by examining said cases.
T-shaped interdisciplinary approach is a methodology for analyzing the outcomes gained from diachronic, synchronic, and natural science approaches in an integrated manner. Specifically, we will examine: 1) haniwa clay figures, historical documents, paintings, haiku and tanka poetry, art, and costumes related to cormorant fishing from a diachronic perspective, 2) folk techniques and knowledge, social organizations, and material culture related to cormorant fishing in different areas from a synchronic perspective, and 3) the ecology of cormorants (Japanese cormorant and great cormorant), the ecology of fish they prey on, and the nutrients of sweetfish sushi from a natural science perspective. These cases have been confirmed by the coordinator in his continuing research on cormorant fishing, but have not been discussed as a whole so far. In this project, we collectively call the above three approaches a T-shaped interdisciplinary approach.
Then we will shed light on the overall situation and local characteristics of cormorant fishing culture in Japan by conducting a comparative analysis of individual cases and contrasting them with cormorant fishing in China. In this effort, we will do analysis in terms of wildness and power. The reason is that in the over 1,300-year history of cormorant fishing in Japan, mainly wild cormorants have been used, and it has been carried out under the protection of the person of power at the time. This is a phenomenon not seen in cormorant fishing in China.