About the centerFuture of Humanity Research Center

 Technology has brought about a massive shift in our lives and is quietly shaking up the definition of “human.”
It may not be long before we make decisions based on the judgement of AI.
As human genome editing technology develops, it becomes more likely that humans could intervene in their own evolutionary process.

 Where did we come from? Who are we? Where are we going? In order to bring out the greater potential of technology,
it is indispensable to set practical and essential questions on what humanity will be like decades or centuries from now.
We must explore from various angles the changes technology is making to humanity, the values to be protected,
and the potential it has, keeping in step with cutting-edge science and technology research.

 In February 2020, in order to find answers to these questions, the “Future of Humanity Research Center” was established in the Institute of Innovative Research at Tokyo Tech.
Although born from a science and technology university, the new center is focused on the humanities and social sciences
and is home to various researchers from the Institute for Liberal Arts. The maximum term for members is two years, in principle, which ensures the
constant inhalation and exhalation of fresh perspectives, as if the center itself were breathing.

Furthermore, the center collaborates with science and technology researchers and experts from a diverse range of fields both nationally and internationally.
From our base at Tokyo Tech, we ponder the future of humanity and communicate with the world through our actions and spirit.
  • Organization

In February 2020, the Future of Humanity Research Center was established in the Institute of Innovative Research (IIR) in order to promote liberal arts study. The IIR is an organization that comprises world-class research teams at Tokyo Tech, including the Cell Biology Center led by honorary professor and Nobel laureate Yoshinori Ohsumi. The Future of Humanity Research Center is focused on the humanities but walks hand in hand with leading-edge science and technology research. Under an internal cross-appointment system, ILA faculty belong to the center for two years, in principle.
  • Member

    • Asa Ito
    • Asa Ito,Associate Professor

      Director of FHRC, Art


      The Future of Humanity Research Center draws together knowledge from across the boundaries between the humanities and sciences, industry and academia, and theory and practice. What makes the center somewhat extraordinary is that people can only encounter different knowledge after they separate from the viewpoint, values, and philosophy in which they are usually immersed. Long-term thinking as opposed to immediate judgement; diverse wisdom instead of a single correct answer. I am eager to take a fresh look at humanity through the lens of rita — the Japanese word for altruism.
    • Takeshi Nakajima
    • Takeshi Nakajima,Professor

      Rita Project Leader, Political Science


      A constant emphasis on self-reliance, bashing welfare recipients, and an exclusive attitude toward immigrants are conspicuous in western society. I wonder if the spirit of rita will become crucial to the future of humanity, as people are losing tolerance and scrambling over limited slices of the pie. Can other exchange systems such as gifting work against a global capitalist system that widens the gap between rich and poor? At the Future of Humanity Research Center, I hope to develop a new rita-ism, bringing together the wisdom of the humanities and social sciences, and conducting a dialogue with the knowledge of science and technology.
    • Eisuke Wakamatsu
    • Eisuke Wakamatsu,Professor

      Human Studies


      The deeper the act of rita goes, the less “rita-ish” it tends to appear. Besides, it often occurs without the donor and recipient being aware. For example, the world is now paying attention to the issue of climate change. This could benefit not only our contemporaries but also generations to come. I hope we can keep rita-ism at the forefront of our minds as we bridge various fields.
    • Kenichiro Isozaki
    • Kenichiro Isozaki,Professor



      The role of a novelist is neither to convey the author’s message through their work nor bring to light problems in modern society through stories, as is commonly believed, but to update the novel’s form and serve its history and genealogy one sentence at a time, as if thrusting into uncharted territory. In other words, novels are by no means self-expression. It is not the author as an individual, but the world around them that should be illuminated.
    • Koichiro Kokubun
    • Koichiro Kokubun,Visiting Associate Professor



      The term rita is composed of the characters for “benefit” and “others.” Philosophy has a rich accumulation of the concept of others. However, I now feel that concept is being swayed silently but extensively. Philosophy is becoming aware of the need to think of others, traditionally emphasized as being “different” rather than “similar.” This huge conceptual transformation will change the meaning of “benefit,” which was formerly considered obvious. I am quietly excited about the possibility of a rita-ism that brings a tectonic shift in philosophy.
    • 蛭田彩人協力研究員(2021.1 〜)

Design : Fuminobu Nakamura (SEWI)
Web : Shota Watari (caren)
Photo : Naoki Ishikawa / Junya Igarashi
Movie : Kazutoshi Hasegawa (hoozukisha)
  • Event & Lab Spaceイベント&ラボスペース