About KIKAI Institute for Coral Reef Sciences

The one and only institution in Japan specialized exclusively on the researches of coral reefs

KIKAI Institute for Coral Reef Sciences was founded in 2014 on a Japanese island named Kikaijima. Its purpose is to develop and promote natural sciences by conducting researches on the ocean, geology, and life.

We aim to continuously conduct scientific researches, share their results with the rest of the world, and contribute to the international society by bringing up leaders and scientists in future generations.

Preserving our achievements for the next century

KIKAI Institute for Coral Reef Sciences is the epicenter of researches and scientific education on coral reefs and their inhabitants. The institution’s purpose is to provide professional and amateur scientists with the platform for scientific research and education, thereby promoting natural sciences. The institute boasts a unique status as one of the world’s rarest research institutions in the world, specializing exclusively on the study of coral reefs. Recognizing this uniqueness as our strength, we aim to function as the flagship institution in the Northern Pacific by playing two vital roles for the future society:

・To collect and preserve primary scientific data for the future generations necessary for analyzing global climate change and predicting the future; and

・To contribute to the continuous development of natural sciences by developing future scientists, educators, and leaders and preserving the specimens of academic value.

A beautiful reef and its inhabitants offshore the island
Live and fossilized corals are always there within your reach. You can observe them as you wish!

Timeline: the path we took

July 8, 2014:

KIKAI Institute for Coral Reef Sciences was established to initiate investigative and research activities

December 19, 2014:

Opened a scientific seminar on coral reefs for the general public

August 22, 2015:

Held the commencement ceremony

August 30, 2019:

Registered as research institute applying for JSPS KAKENHI, by MEXT, JAPAN

Our Staff

Professor Tsuyoshi Watanabe

President at KIKAI Institute for Coral Reef Sciences

Senior lecturer at Faculty of Science, Hokkaido University

Professor Watanabe has a BA in Geology and a MA and Ph.D. in earth environmental science both from Hokkaido University. He has served as a researcher at Australian National University, Laboratoire des Sciences du Climat et de l’Environnement, RWTH Aachen University, and Kewalo Marine Laboratory (the University of Hawai’i at Manoa). He is a hunter of umibozu*, always in quest of undiscovered seas in the world to read the global climate change from coral skeletons. Mesmerized by the uniqueness of Kikaijima, he and Dr. Yamazaki established KIKAI Institute for Coral Reef Sciences in the island. He now works with his team to expand the institute and recruit more teammates from all over the world.

*A nickname for Porites. It was originally a fishermen’s jargon in Japan, literally meaning “a mischievous shaven-headed brat.” Porites grow up to form a spherical colony shaped like a shaven head unbeknownst to fishermen, sometimes causing fishing boats to run aground.

Dr. Atsuko Yamazaki

Director and Vice-president at KIKAI Institute for Coral Reef Sciences

Assistant Professor at Faculty of Science, Kyushu University

Dr. Yamazaki has a Ph.D. in natural history sciences from Hokkaido University. Her research career has started as JSPS research fellow at Atmosphere and Ocean Research Institute (The University of Tokyo) and GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research, Kiel (Germany). From 2016-2018, she was involved as project assistant professor in the Faculty of Science, Hokkaido University. Since April 2018, she has served as an assistant professor at Kyushu University Faculty of Science. Having visited Kikaijima for the first time in May 2014, Dr. Yamazaki was impressed at the sight of uplifting coral reefs and became a resident of the island in December of the same year. In July 2014, she joined Professor Watanabe to establish KIKAI Institute for Coral Reef Sciences, an international research institution for coral reefs in Kikaijima.

Dr. Taro Komagoe 

Researcher at KIKAI Institute for Coral Reef Sciences

Instructor at KIKAI college

Dr. Komagoe (a.k.a.Taro-Sensei) has a Ph.D. in natural history science from Hokkaido University. In his Ph.D. course, he researched the climate and marine environment in the past by combining isotope ratio analysis and observing of the growth rings of the giant clams. In 2017, he became a resident of Kikaijima and joined KIKAI Institute. Since then, he has promoted researches, analyzing growth rings in the fossils of clams and corals, observing the ocean, cultivating corals, and investigating the reef coverages.

Message from Taro-Sensei

Kikaijima is a unique, beautiful, and exciting island. In the ocean, you will find the coral reefs with diverse creatures inhabiting there. On the land, you will find the well-preserved fossils of corals. Join us thinking about the researches of coral reef sciences that can be done in Kikaijima only.

Kana Sasaki 

Majored in the study of East Asia, studied at Akita International University and Tamkang University

In university, she has studied the history and culture of Taiwan and analyzed their influences on diplomacy, politics, and economy. Interested in the resemblance of Ruucuu-reptoo and Taiwan’s culture, she is engaged in the researches of Kikaijima’s cultures in KIKAI Institute. She is also in charge of the institute’s international program, making the most of her fluency in English and Mandarin.

Message from Kana Sensei

Learning science in English. Learning English in science. In Sangojuku, you can do both. It broadens your horizon to be able to express yourself in diverse languages! Join me and use your English skills in looking at the world from a scientific point of view!