Shigeru TANAKA

J-GLOBAL         Last updated: Jul 9, 2019 at 04:05
Shigeru TANAKA
The University of Electro-Communications
Center For Neuroscience And Biomedical Engineering
Job title
Project Professor
Doctor of Science(The University of Tokyo)
Research funding number


In the mammalian visual cortex, there are functional architectures composed of columns penetrating from the pia to white matter such as ocular dominance columns and orientation columns. Mathematically formulating synaptic plasticity, I built a self-organization model that explains the formation of such columnar structures of neurons, and successfully reproduced those experimentally observed structures using computer simulations. Particularly, taking into account lagged and nonlagged types of neurons in the lateral geniculate nucleus, which have already been observed experimentally, I have succeeded to reproduce map structures about not only orientation selectivity but also direction selectivity of motion. In addition, I found that the space spanned by the preferred orientation and receptive field phase of visual cortical simple cells is topologically equivalent to the Klein bottle K2, and demonstrated that singularities appearing in orientation maps can be classified into different types using homotopy theory. Furthermore, I revealed a geometric relationship between line discontinuities of direction maps and point singularities of orientation maps. Such geometric relationship was experimentally demonstrated using intrinsic signal optical imaging of cats. It has been known that blobs stained with cytochrome oxidase exist being aligned along ocular dominance bands in the primary visual cortex of macaque monkeys. I reproduced the observed regular geometric structure using computer simulation based on the self-organization model. Very recently, I extended the self-organization model to be able to apply to the 3-dimensional visual cortex taking into account the depth dimension. Computer simulation of the 3D self-organization model showed that orientation representation was disrupted and did not exhibit columns penetrating from the pia to white matter, in curved parts of the gray matter. The plausibility of the simulated structure was demonstrated by functional magnetic resonance imaging of the cat visual cortex, collaborating with a research group of Pittsburg University.
I examined how visual experience alters orientation maps in the developing visual cortex, using newly fabricated goggl1es, which are detachable and stably mounted on the head of animals. We found that iso-orientation domains representing the experienced orientation expanded and occupied large cortical territory after 1 or 2 weeks of goggle rearing on kittens of the age of 3-8 weeks. We obtain a sensitive-period profile of orientation selectivity, which indicates that the critical period for orientation plasticity spans from postnatal 10 to 50 days. A similar experiment using two-photon calcium imaging was conducted on the visual cortex of the rodent, which has a sault-and-pepper like orientation representation distinct from orientation maps in cats and macaque monkeys. We found significant increase in the number of neurons selective for the experienced orientation.

Research Areas


Academic & Professional Experience

Apr 1986
Sep 1994
Researcher, Fundamental Research Laboratories, NEC Corporation
Oct 1994
Sep 1997
Head of Laboratory for Neural Modeling, Frontier Research Program, Institute of Physical and Chemical Research (RIKEN)
Oct 1997
Sep 2009
Head of Laboratory for Visual Neurocomputing, RIKEN Brain Science Institute
Apr 2001
Mar 2008
Self-Organizing System Laboratory, Department of Brain Science and Engineering, Visiting Professor, Graduate School of Life Science and Systems Engineering, Kyushu Institute of Technology
Oct 2009
Mar 2012
Department of Information and Communication Engineering, Project Professor, The University of Electro-Communications


Apr 1983
Mar 1986
Department of Physics, Faculty of Science, The University of Tokyo

Awards & Honors

内藤記念科学財団研究助成金, 内藤記念科学財団
日本神経回路学会研究賞, 日本神経回路学会
日本神経回路学会奨励賞, 日本神経回路学会
上原道之賞, 日本電気株式会社

Published Papers

Sasaki KS, Kimura R, Ninomiya T, Tabuchi Y, Tanaka H, Fukui M, Asada1 YC, Arai1 T, Inagaki M, Nakazono T, Baba M, Kato D, Nishimoto S, Sanada TM, Tani T, Imamura K, Tanaka S, Ohzawa1 I
Scientific Reports   5 16712-16723   Nov 2015   [Refereed]
Tadashi Yamazaki, Soichi Nagao, William Lennon, and Shigeru Tanaka
Proceedings of National Academy of Science, USA   112(11) 3541-3548   Mar 2015   [Refereed]
An efficient way to form a new declarative memory is to repeat a short-term training many times with a rest between the training sessions, because the learned memory is consolidated after training. This suggests that the brain still keeps actively...
Toru Takahata, Masanobu Miyashita, Shigeru Tanaka, Jon H, Kaas
Proceedings of National Academy of Sciences   111(11) 4297-4302   Mar 2014   [Refereed]
Sensitivity profile for orientation selectivity in the visual cortex of goggle-reared mice
Yoshida T, Ozawa K, Tanaka S
PLoS ONE   doi:10.1372/journal.pone.00406   2012   [Refereed]
Parallel development of orientation maps and spatial frequency selectivity in cat visual cortex.
Tani T, Ribot J, O’Hashi K, Tanaka S.
European Journal of Neuroscience   35 44-55   2012   [Refereed]


パリティ   24(5) 41-45   2009
日本神経回路学会誌   9 41-48   2002
伊藤正男, 榊佳之, 田中繁, 深井朋樹, 三品昌美, 藤田道也
生体の科学   53 27-44   2002
研究成果:Predicting the anisotropy of lateral connections in the visual cortex from the distribution of singular points in the pattern of orientation columns.
BSI NEWS   (10) 8   2000
理研ニュース   (225) 5-7   2000

Books etc

Visual Cortex - Current Status and Perspectives
Shigeru Tanaka (Part:Joint Work, New pictures of the structure and plasticity of orientation columns in the visual cortex)
INTECH   2012   
別冊日経サイエンス 157
田中 繁 (Part:Single Translation, 視覚から意識の世界をのぞく)
日経サイエンス社   2007   
田中繁、宮下真信 (Part:Joint Work, スパイク放電型ニューロンを用いた視覚野神経回路の数理モデル)
オーム社   2006   
神経科学の基礎と臨床13 後頭葉:その機能とネットワーク
今村 一之,田中 繁 (Part:Joint Work, 視覚野の機能構築の発達と可塑性)
ブレーン出版   2005   
Masanobu Miyashita, Shigeru Tanaka (Part:Joint Work, Experience-dependent self-organization of visual cortical receptive fields and maps)
Springer-Verlag Tokyo   2003   

Conference Activities & Talks

情報オリンピック表彰式記念講演   Mar 2010   日本情報オリンピック委員会
2007年度公開講座「物理が解き明かす脳のひみつ」   Oct 2007   日本物理学会
Effects of visual experience on orientation map development: experiment and theory.
Tanaka S.
Physiology of perception and action forum   Sep 2007   College de France
Orientation map reorganization induced by persistent exposure to a dynamic or stationary single orientation.
Tanaka S, Tani T, Ribot J.
83rd Annual Meeting of the Physiological Society of Japan   Mar 2006   Physiological Society of Japan
第34回東工大物理COEセミナー   Feb 2005   東京工業大学

Teaching Experience