Shinichi Takemura

Professor of anthropology, international relations, and information society theory; founder, Earth Literacy Program

Professor Shinichi Takemura is a media producer known for his numerous cutting-edge IT-driven social activities, along with propounding his incisive views as an anthropologist. He is a professor at the Kyoto University of Art and Design, where he teaches anthropology, international relations, information society theory, etc. Prof. Takemura is engaged in the development of social information platforms, or what he calls “socialware,” with the Earth Literacy Program, an NPO that he runs as a base for his activities.

At Doors of Perception 2, a major international conference on information media held in 1994 in Amsterdam, Prof. Takemura won great acclaim for his thesis, a novel perspective on the compatibility of Japanese culture and multimedia.

He produced the Japanese virtual pavilion Sensorium for the very first online Internet World Expo, held in 1996. The concept of the website is “the visualization of living earth” and includes Breathing Earth, an animation of earthquake events based on the real data compiled through the internet. This site won the Golden Nica prize, the grand prix in the Internet division, at the Arts Electronica Festival in Linz, Austria in 1997. The concept of the site was extended and described as “Sense-ware”/”Social-ware” in the thesis presented at INET’98 conference in Geneva.

In 2001, Prof. Takemura conceived the world’s first multimedia globe, the Tangible Earth, in collaboration with scientists from various fields. This is on exhibition at the National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation.

Since 2002, he launched projects utilizing mobile IT, including the Ubiquitous Museum in Onomichi, Tokyo, Kyoto, Shizuoka, Nagano, and other Japanese cities.

Since 2003, he produced Candle-Night for Millions, a lights-off energy conservation movement to call attention to the global environment.
The mechanism for the Japanese map with bottom-up live characteristics featured in the “Visualizing Inside Japan: The Dynamics Toward the Structural Reform” (2004) has not only been utilized in a politico-social context but also used effectively in “Candle-scape,” the map-type bulletin board that gave visibility to the participants in the Candle-Night energy conservation movement from across the nation.

Sakura-scape (2005), which makes it possible to view the northward journey of the cherry blossom front in spring, was also created based on a similar concept. This is a site that maps voluntary haiku contributions on cherry blossom festival, with pictures attached, from Haiku poets living across the nation onto a map of Japan. This was an attempt to enable the monitoring of seasonal changes in Japan on a global scale by arranging the jigsaw puzzle of local experiences and bringing together the traditional language art of Japan and the mobile IT of cellular phone.

In addition to the exhibition of Tangible Earth, Prof. Takemura was involved in the implementation of the Global Corridor at the Expo held in Aichi, Japan in 2005. The Global Corridor provides a channel for children in nations facing informational divide, such as Afghanistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Cambodia, to participate in the Expo by linking their schools live to the Expo grounds through video chat function. Thus, it aims to open up a path for such children to participate in the global society.

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