Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, Hirosaki University


Yuko Sugiyama is professor of ecological anthropology and area studies at Hirosaki University. Her research focuses on the grassroots innovation history among the rural farmers of Africa and Japan, with a gender perspective. Her research agenda also calls attention to human gathering, work cooperation and food sharing by examining people’s daily interaction as an emerging field of sociality where the contested interests are balanced according to the shared ethics of the society, which sometimes leads to the process of local innovation.


Local agricultural systems and the socio-ecological changes of: the Bemba people of Northern Zambia, the Gogo people of Central Tanzania and Northeast Japan (mostly Aomori Prefecture).



  • Sugiyama Y. “Cooperative behavior of food processing, food sharing and survival of children : Human’s eating habit as a social behavior” Extremity: The Evolution of Human Sociality. Kawai K. (Ed.) Kyoto University Press, pp. 479-504, 2020. (Japanese)
  • Sugiyama Y. “Moral economy and social stratification in rural Africa: Are we moving towards a new platform?” Proceedings of 7th International Workshop on African Moral Economy, Peasant Economy in Comparative and Historical Perspectives. Tsuruta T. (Ed.) Kindai University, pp. 350-372, 2018.
  • Sugiyama Y. “Agrarian innovation process and moral economy: Embedding money into the local sharing system, opening accessibility to resources” Proceedings of 6th International Conference on African Moral Economy, Rural Development and Moral Economy in Globalizing Africa: from Comparative Perspectives. Sugimura K. (Ed.) Fukui Prefectural University, pp. 91-114, 2013.
  • Sugiyama Y. “The institution of ‘feeling’: On ‘feeling inside’ and ‘institutionalized envy'” Institutions: The Evolution of Human Sociality. Kawai K. (Ed.) Kyoto University Press & Trans Pacific Press, pp. 349-370, 2017.
  • Sugiyama Y. “The small village of ‘we, the Bemba’:The reference phase that connects the daily life practice in a residential group to the chiefdom” Groups: The Evolution of Human Sociality. Kawai K. (Ed.) Kyoto University Press & Trans Pacific Press, pp. 239-260, 2013.

Books (in Japanese)

  • Work and the Modernization in Hirosaki (joint work, Hirosaki University Press, 2016)
  • African Area Studies and Rural Development (joint work, Kyoto University Press, 2011)
  • Tsugaru: The Dynamism of Modernization Process (joint work, Ochanomizu Shobo, 2008)
  • Gender: Reading Anthropology (joint work, Sekaishisousha, 2007)