Greetings from the Director

Towards a regional science for small islands

The Research Institute for Islands and Sustainability (RIIS) at the University of the Ryukyus conducts collaborative and multidisciplinary research concerning Okinawa and island regions throughout the world.

Research concerning islands has historically reflected ways of thinking rooted in developed and continental nations, and relegated them to the periphery, associating with undesirable traits to overcome, such as dependency, isolation, smallness and remoteness. Our institute, on the other hand, takes an island-centered positionality. We focus on developing subjective and experienced-based understandings of island issues and promoting research that centers the lived experiences of islanders themselves. We are aiming to bring about a paradigm shift in island research that sees notions of deficiency such as dependency, marginality, isolation, and smallness, replaced by those of strength such as diversity, connectivity, and uniqueness.

The science of island regions we are developing brings together normative, empirical, and practical scientific approaches, while considering the past, present and future of islands. Specifically, we believe that reciprocal exchange between these three scientific approaches will lead to plans and policies based on logical foundations and objective analyses. It is our hope that result of our research will aid in the development of self-determination and sustainability of island regions.

Our institute is working diligently toward establishing a “regional science for small islands”  as a more generalized academic discipline by strengthening our networks of scholars, universities and research institutions around the world who are striving towards the development of island studies. We would like to ask for your continued guidance and encouragement in support of the Research Institute for Islands and Sustainability.

April 1, 2021

So Hatano

Director, Research Institute for Islands and Sustainability