"History of my Study

"History of my Study"

Hasegawa, Mariko
(Vice President/Professor, Department of Evolutionary Studies of Biosystems)

I had studied the ecology and behavior of wild Japanese macaques living in Chiba Prefecture and of wild chimpanzees inhabiting Tanzania until I completed my doctoral program at the Department of Biological Sciences (Section of Anthropology) of the Graduate School of Science of the University of Tokyo. My Ph.D. thesis focused on reproductive strategies of wild female chimpanzees. While belonging to the anthropology section where human evolution should be studied, I had never been interested in human beings. Moreover, when I was a graduate student, Imanishi's theory of evolution was dominant in the Japanese academic community of anthropoid studies, but I completely disagreed with the theory. Although I stopped studying primates after twists and turns, I think that my two and a half years' experience in thoroughly studying the behavior of chimpanzees has greatly contributed even to my current study. This is because the experience made me cultivate a certain intuition of the "heart" of an animal that is the closest to human beings.

After obtaining my Ph.D., I was granted a British Council scholarship to enter the Department of Zoology of the University of Cambridge. There, I studied the mate choice of fallow deer, the sexual differences in the growth of wild sheep inhabiting the archipelago of St Kilda and the population dynamics of the sheep. It was then that I really seriously studied evolutionary biology and behavioral ecology. After coming back from Cambridge, I found no jobs related to science departments and, in 1990, started out as an associate professor of the School of Law of Senshu University, teaching science courses in the liberal arts.

For the first time, I left the scientific community and moved to a workplace where none of the teachers and students around me were involved in a study of science. To me, this was a big cultural shock. But, even so, this experience drove me to fundamentally rethink of what science is, and I earnestly started thinking over the relationship between science and society. I have studied the mate choice of Indian peacocks inhabiting the Izu Shaboten (Cactus) Park since 1990. I am still having trouble with the studies because my findings are completely different from those already published. Only recently, I have got possibly helpful findings, though. I also began to study the life history parameters of mud snails, but in vain, because I had neither graduate students nor time.

The two closed international symposiums to which I was invited in 1990 inspired me to make a turn towards a great goal of the "evolutionary quest for human nature." Finally, I have become interested in human beings. I could also say that I have eventually come to feel confident in taking up human beings. So far, I have observed lots of animals to study evolutionary biology and behavioral ecology. I am pouring all the fruits harvested in the course of my study into tackling the most complicated subject, human beings. In 2000, I moved to the School of Political Science and Economics of Waseda University. There, I held a seminar named "The Future of Global Environmental Problems." Discussions with talented students opened my eyes towards politics, economics and other social sciences for studying human societies. In recent years, I have been engaged mainly in promoting interaction between ecology and economics, or between politics and social psychology and evolutionary psychology. Currently, I am doing data analyses of homicides and of sexual differences in death rates on my own. On top of this, with those studying cognitive neuroscience, I am discussing the biological foundations of linguistic evolution.

In the future, I might be able to create a new evolutionary theory of bions, populations and ecosystems deemed as complex adaptive systems, a theory different from existing ones. This idea is getting me excited.

(Source: Reproduced from the "Abstracts of the Second Joint Seminar of the School of Life Science.")


Hasegawa, Mariko

Research interests: Human behavioral ecology, Evolutionary psychology
Education: Ph.D., 1986, Graduate School of Physical Anthropology, the University of Tokyo

Job history:

  • 1980-1982; Wildlife research officer, The Division of Wildlife, The Ministry of Natural Resources and Tourism, Tanzania.
  • 1983-1990; Assistant professor, Department of Anthropology, Faculty of Science, the University of Tokyo
  • 1990-2000; Associate professor, and Professor, Faculty of Law, Senshu University
  • 2000-2006; Professor, Faculty of Political and Economic Science, Waseda University
  • 2006-present; Professor, Department of Evolutionary Studies of Biosystems, School of Advanced Science, the Graduate University for the Advanced Studies
  • 2011-March, 2014; Dean, School of Advanced Science, the Graduate University for the Advanced Studies
  • April, 2014 - present; Executive Vice President, the Graduate University for the Advanced Studies