Shingo Hamada

Sunday October 04, 2015



Shingo Hamada 

GESA 2011  |  Japan  |  Anthropologist


I seek opportunities that offer an active anthropological engagement in developing social and environmental sustainability in fishing communities, especially in Japan.

My educational background covers research as well as pedagogy of human-environment relations. My graduate studies at Portland State University (PSU) and Indiana University in the United States have helped me understand classic and current theoretical and methodological debates within environmental anthropology. At the PSU School of Education, I studied in the master’s program on Leadership in Ecology, Culture, and Learning which focused on place-based environmental education.

Through the program, I learned pedagogy and teaching methods that enable me to integrate environmental literacy when developing a variety of traditional and non-traditional classes.

My current research focuses on herring restoration projects in Hokkaido, Japan. Herring fisheries collapsed in the 1950s due to a combination of overexploitation, habitat loss and oceanic environmental changes. Through archival research and semi-structured interviews with fishers, seafood manufacturers, marine biologists and administrators at institutes relevant to national and prefectural aquaculture projects, I am gathering data on the changes and dynamics within these cultivated marinescapes as well as an impression of the symbolic values that herring and herring fishing have amongst local people.

I hope to illuminate the perceptions of environments and hatchery fish, the practices of folk and scientific knowledge, and describe participation and decision making in resource management.

Anthropology can contribute to the understanding of local contexts and voices whilst also informing discussions on broader, national and global environmental issues.


Updates and achievements

After finishing the dissertation fieldwork in northern Japan (2011-2012), Shingo was named a doctoral fellow (2012-2013) for the yearlong Mellon Sawyer Seminar titled “Food Choice, Freedom, and Politics” at Indiana University. Building upon the food studies seminar and his own fieldwork experience, he designed and taught a course “Fish & Ships: An Anthropology of Seafood” for undergraduate students in the landlocked Indiana in fall 2013. Shingo then successfully defended and submitted his dissertation to Indiana University in March 2014. The title of his dissertation is “Fishers, Scientists, and Techno-Herring: An Actor-Network Theory Analysis of Seafood and Marine Stock Enhancement in Hokkaido, Japan.”

Shingo then moved to Kyoto, Japan, in April 2014, to work as a project researcher at the Research Institute for Humanity and Nature (RIHN). He is working on the 3-year project “Long-term Sustainability through Place-based, Small-scale Economies: Approaches from Historical Ecology.” This project aims to integrate multi-disciplinary approaches and knowledge to examine links among the scale of community, the rise and fall of food diversity, socio-ecological resilience and vulnerability, and long-term sustainability in the North Pacific. Shingo continues conducting ethnographic research in coastal fishing communities, to document and understand a process and variable of community-based adaptive strategies (and whether or not they’re working) to oceanic environmental changes and to neoliberal political-economic policies. For more information about his project at RIHN, click here, or contact him at

Shingo starts his new position as a lecturer of cultural anthropology and food studies at the Osaka Shoin Women’s University, a small liberal arts college in Osaka, Japan. [Updated March 2015]

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