Thematic Programs

Geologic Stabilization and Human Adaptations in Northeast Asia


Program Theme

Northeast Asia is one of the coldest regions of human geographical distribution on our planet and is home to the Pole of Cold in northern hemisphere. How did the human population adapt the harsh environment, in light of hominoid biological evolution having occurred in tropical Africa? Some scholars argue the specific regional evolution of northern Mongoloids circa 20,000 years ago was key for survival in cold regions as the body surface area of these early humans was smaller, thus helping regulation of body temperature. Although, archaeological findings do suggest there were many other human populations that moved and spread across the north. The key for survival was the cultural adaptation. Human behaviors and notions formed and changed as a result of the human-environment interaction involving the migrating peoples; these included environmental perception, tool making and foraging capacities, animal domestication, social organizations, and belief-ideology systems. On the other hand, the natural environment has not been stabilized as a tamed habitat of human spaces; rather it has always been on the move. Eruptions, flooding, and climate change have repeatedly altered the atmospheric, terrestrial, and coastal environments of human societies. Human cultural adaptation is not simple irreversible environmental determinism, but a series of complex evolutional phenomena controlled by the probabilities of a given socio-ecological system.
This program aims to provide an exchange of knowledge in international academic collaboration, bringing together geochemistry, ecology, history and anthropology of Northeast Asia and developing a new methodology of area studies. We hope, this collaboration will contribute to fill historical gaps in human histories by examining conditions of human adaptation in dynamic natural environments.


Workshop 1: Natural Disaster and Religion/Mythology  [Jun. 14, 2018 Updated]
(June 5, 2018)

Workshop 2: Variabilities in Prehistoric Human Cultural Adaptations in Northeast Asia: The Initial Upper Paleolithic, the Last Glacial Maximum, and the Post-Pleistocene Adaptations  [Jun. 11, 2018 Updated]
(August 4, 2018 – August 5, 2018)

Workshop 3: Continental amalgamation and stabilization of Northeast Asia: Stories before the Stone Age
(February 21, 2019 – February 22, 2019)

Workshop 4: Northern modes of foraging and domestication as an interaction among humans, animals, and geography
(February 21, 2019 – February 22, 2019)

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The 12th The International Conference on Comparative Mythology “Myths of the earth and humankind: Ecology and the end of the world”
(June 1, 2018 – June 4, 2018)

Religious and Cultural Workshop “How politics eats religion? Characteristic of Roman Catholic Church in contemporary Poland”  [Aug. 24, 2018 Updated]
(June 12, 2018)

Workshop for young archaeologists “From Handaxes to Arrowheads. Human Evolution and Increased Complexity”  [Jul. 09, 2018 Updated]
(July 23, 2018)


Hiroki Takakura
(Professor, Center for Northeast Asian Studies, Tohoku University)

Tatsuki Tsujimori
(Professor, Center for Northeast Asian Studies, Tohoku University)

Kaoru Akoshima
(Professor, Graduate school of Arts and Letters, Tohoku University)

Yoshitaka Kanomata
(Associate Professor, Graduate School of Arts and Letters, Tohoku University)

Hitoshi Yamada
(Associate Professor, Graduate school of Arts and Letters, Tohoku University)

Hiroki Oka
(Professor, Center for Northeast Asian Studies, Tohoku University)

Satoshi Chiba
(Professor, Center for Northeast Asian Studies, Tohoku University)


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In cooperation with  [Jul. 23, 2018 Updated]

Center for Northeast Asian Studies, Tohoku University