Kenji Ito

J-GLOBAL         Last updated: Oct 14, 2019 at 17:19
Kenji Ito
Job title
Associate Professor
Ph. D.(Harvard University)


Historian of science and researcher of science and technology studies specialized in science and technology in modern Japan, especially physics. Currently interested in history and social studies of big science in Japan, in particular high-energy physics. Also interested in game studies and recent technologies in Japan, in particular robotics.

Research Areas


Academic & Professional Experience

Apr 2010
Associate Professor, School of Advanced Sciences, Department of Evolutionary Studies of Biosystems, SOKENDAI (The Graduate University for Advanced Studies)
Apr 2007
Mar 2010
Associate Professor, Hayama Center for Advanced Studies, SOKENDAI (The Graduate University for Advanced Studies)
Dec 2006
Mar 2007
Associate Professor, Hayama Center for Advanced Studies, SOKENDAI (The Graduate University for Advanced Studies)
Apr 2006
Nov 2006
Project Assistant Professor, nterfaculty Initiative in Information Studies, The University of Tokyo
Apr 2002
Mar 2006
Project Assistant Professor, Research Center for Advanced Science and technology, The University of Tokyo

Awards & Honors

DHS Prize for Young Scholars, International Union of History and Philosophy of Science/ Division of History of Science

Published Papers

Takeuchi Tokio and Albert Einstein
Kenji Ito
Gendai shisō   192-206   Aug 2019   [Invited]
Takeuchi Tokio's "Artificial Radium": A Scientific Scandal in Early 1940s Japan
Kenji Ito
Kagakusi Kenkyu   57(288) 266-283   Jan 2019   [Refereed]
Kenji Ito
Science in Context   31(3) 293-320   Sep 2018   [Refereed][Invited]
Kenji Ito
Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics   60 110-122   Nov 2017   [Refereed]
"Big Science" by a Newspaper Company: The Asahi Shimbun Company and Japan's Antarctic Expedition in the International Geophysical Year
Ken Nagata and Kenji Ito
Japanese Journal for Science, Technology & Society   25 25-47   2016   [Refereed]
The Material and the Immaterial in Research: Perspectives from the History of Science in Japan
Kenji Ito
Shiso   (1090) 34-52   Feb 2015   [Invited]
SHINEHA Ryuma t al.
The journal of science policy and research management   29(2/3) 90-105   Nov 2014   [Refereed][Invited]
Superposing Dynamos and Electrons: Electrical Engineering and Quantum Physics in the Case of Nishina Yoshio,
Kenji Ito
Shaul Katzir, Christoph Lehner and Jürgen Renn, eds., Traditions and Transformations in the History of Quantum Physics, Berlin: Edition Open Access (Max Planck Research Library for the History and Development of Knowledge Studies Series)   183-208   2013   [Refereed][Invited]
Vor Astro Boy
Kenji Ito
Technikgeschichte   77(4) 353-372   Dec 2010   [Refereed]
Possibilities of Non-Commercial Games: The Case of Amateur Role-Playing Games Designers in Japan
Kenji Ito
Suzanne de Castell and Jeniffer Jenson eds., Worlds in Play: International Perspectives on Digital Games Research, New York: Peter Lang   129-142   2007   [Refereed]
Beyond Digital Game Studies: Where do game studies go when games are more than games?
Kenji Ito
Journal of Digital Games Research   1 34-45   2007   [Invited]
Gender and Physics in Early 20th Century Japan: Yuasa Toshiko's Case
Kenji Ito
Historia Scientiarum   14 118-138   2004   [Refereed]
David Kaiser, Kenji Ito, and Karl Hall
Social Studies of Science   34 879-922   2004   [Refereed]
Values of 'Pure Science': Nishina Yoshio's Wartime Discourse between Nationalism and Physics, 1940-1945
Kenji Ito
Historical Studies in Physical and Biological Sciences   33 61-86   2002   [Refereed]
Rudolf Clausius' Copy of Sadi Carnot's Reflexions: A New Look at Clausius' Access to Carnot's Work
Kenji Ito
Historia Scientiarum   6 31-36   1996   [Refereed]
The Geist in the Institute: Production of Quantum Theorists in Prewar Japan
Kenji Ito
David Kaiser, ed., Pedagogy and the Practice of Science: Historical and Contemporary Perspectives (Cambridge: MIT Press, 2005)   151-184   2005   [Refereed][Invited]


Kenji Ito
Butsuri   71(8) 558-562   Aug 2016   [Refereed][Invited]
Social bases and social impacts of the history of science in Japan
Kenji Ito
Journal of History of Science, Japan   (269) 7-14   Apr 2014   [Invited]
Kenji Ito
East Asian Science, Technology and Society   6(4) 549-554   Dec 2012   [Invited]
Kenji Ito
Harvard Journal of Asiatic Studies   7(2) 436-441   Dec 2011   [Invited]
Book Review of Laura Hein, Reasonable Men Powerful Words: Political Culture and Expertise in Twentieth-Century Japan
Kenji Ito
2(4) 581-583   2008   [Invited]

Books etc

Evelyn Fox Keller and Karine Chemla (eds.) (Part:Contributor, "Cultural Difference and Sameness: Historiographic Reflections on Histories of Modern Physics in Japan," 49-68)
Duke University Press Books   Apr 2017   ISBN:0822363569
David G. Wittner and Philip C. Brown (eds.) (Part:Contributor, "The question of research in prewar Japanese physics" 193-210)
Routledge   2016   ISBN:113890533X
Collectif (Part:Contributor, Ch. 16: "La science <<occidentale>> sous la restauration Meiji. Mimétisme ou appropriation intelligente?", pp. 346-365)
Seuil   Oct 2015   ISBN:2021076776
Robert Jacobs (ed.) (Part:Contributor, "Robots, A-Bombs, and War: Cultural Meanings of Science and Technology in Japan around World War II" 63-97)
Lanham: Lexington Books   Mar 2010   
遠藤 雅伸, 久保 雅一, 新 清士, 川端 裕人, 井上 明人, 伊藤 憲二, 土居 純, 三淵 啓自, 鈴木 健, 森田 沙保里, 山根 信二, 松山 遥, 公文 俊平
国際大学グローバル・コミュニケーション・センター   Dec 2006   ISBN:4904305035
Philosopy of Exact Sciences
SASAKi Chikara et al. (Part:Contributor, Philosophy of Quantum Mechanics)
Iwanami Shoten   1995   ISBN:4000105418

Conference Activities & Talks

Physicists versus Locals in Tanashi: The Dispute over the Establishment of the Institute for Nuclear Study
Kenji Ito
International Conference on the History of Science in East Asia   20 Aug 2019   
Nishina Yoshio as a Biologist
Kenji Ito
The History of Science Society of Japan Annual Meeting   26 May 2019   
When Did Japanese Physicists Become "Scientists"?: The Primacy of Research and Takeuchi Tokio's Artificial Radium Scandal in the Early 1940s
Kenji Ito
The Japanese Scientists: The Birth of the Kagakusha   30 Mar 2019   
Three Tons of Uranium from the IAEA: Diplomacy, Safeguards, and the Japan Research Reactor-3 in the late 1950s
Kenji Ito
Nuclear Diplomacies: Their Past, Present, and Future   10 Nov 2018   
Nishina Yoshio as a Biologist: One Origin of Nuclear Biomedical Research in Japan
Kenji Ito
Radiation Diplomacy: The History and the Present   3 Nov 2018   
Nishina Yoshio and the U. S. Export of Radioisotopes to Occupied Japan
Kenji Ito
22nd Annual Asian Studies Conference Japan   1 Jul 2018   
Social Conditions for Prewar Japanese Research in Nuclear Physics Revisited
Kenji Ito
1st UST-SOKENDAI STS Workshop   21 Jun 2018   
Studies of Scientific Journals in the History of Science: Review System and Learned Societies
Kenji Ito
Japan Association for Philosophy of Science   17 Jun 2018   
Social Conditions for Prewar Japanese Research in Nuclear Physics Revisited
Kenji Ito
Japan Society for History of Science Annual Meeting   26 May 2018   
Fostering “Reflexive Researchers”STS Education for Graduate Students at SOKENDAI [Invited]
Kenji Ito
18 Aug 2017   University of Science and Technology

Research Grants & Projects

Project Year: Apr 2017 - Mar 2022    Investigator(s): Kenji Ito
Japanese Scientists in Japan and in the World
United Kingdom ESRC-AHRC: ESRC-AHRC UK-Japan SSH connections grants
Project Year: Jan 2019 - Nov 2019    Investigator(s): Kenji Ito

Committee Memberships

Jul 2013
International Association for Science and Cultural Diversity  President
Jul 2013
Commission of Physics, International Union of History and Philosohpy of Science, Division of History of Science and Technology  Vice President
Jul 2009
Jul 2013
International Association for Science and Cultural Diversity  Vice President and Treasurer
Dec 2011
Aug 2014
Society for Social Studies of Science  Council


Mar 2019   The Japanese Scientists: The Birth of the Kagakusha
The Birth of the Kagakusha: aims and objectives
Co-organized with Ian Rapley and Ruselle Meade

There is a body of work (e.g. Cantor et al,2004; Lightman, 2007) outlining how in Europe public experiments, popular writing, and other activities not only helped to establish the idea of science as a practice and a means of acquiring knowledge about the world, it also helped to establish the social category of practitioners – scientists -defining what they did, their role in society, and the right to speak as experts in the public square. However nations beyond Europe and America came to this developing process in a different context – without the prior tradition of natural philosophy, and with the explicit sense of the knowledge base and surrounding set of institutions as foreign in origin. Thus, the first Japanese scientists were faced not only with the challenge of defining and justifying their position in domestic society, they also had to make transnational links to access bodies of knowledge, and the work they did to popularise science had a distinctly foreign dimension.

The first Japanese to engage with modern Western science were the Rangakusha, scholars operating largely
Nov 2018   Nuclear Diplomacies: Their Past, Present and Future
Co-Organized with Maria Rentetzi

Friday, 9 November 2018
9:30-10:15 Barbara Curli, University of Turin

Euratom's Fusion Diplomacy: Cold War Politics and European Integration, 1958-1971
10:15-11:00 Anna Åberg, Chalmers University of Technology

Saving the World Through International Nuclear Collaboration: ITER and the History of Nuclear Fusion Diplomacy
11:30-12:15 Alexandros-Andreas Kyrtsis, National Kapodistrian University of Athens
Maria Rentetzi, National Technical University of Athens

From Lobbyists to Backstage Diplomats: How Insurers in the Field of Third Party Nuclear Liability Shaped Science Diplomacy
14:00-15:00 Masakatsu Yamazaki, Tokyo Institute of Technology
China’s Nuclear Tests and ‘Atoms for Peace’ as a Measure for Preventing Nuclear Arma
Jun 2018   The 1st UST-SOKENDAI STS Workshop
1. Introduction (Welcome Address) by Dr. Kenji ITO10:30 – 11:00
2. Nozomi MIZUSHIMA, Assistant Professor, SOKENDAI
3. Jongmin LEE, Assistant Professor, UST
4. Walter E. Grunden, Visiting Researcher, SOKENDAI, Associate Professor, Bowling Green State University
5. Zae-Young GHIM, Full-time Lecturer, KAIST
6. Yasu FURUKAWA, Visiting Researcher, SOKENDAI
7. Yeonsil KANG, Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Catholic University of Korea
8. Kenji ITO, Associate Professor, SOKENDAI
9. Wonseok HAN, UST Student
10. Youngsun JANG, UST Student
11. Closing Remarks by Dr. Jongmin LEE
May 2018   History of Scientific Journals Workshop
Jul 2017   Historical inquiry & intellectual transmission: How shall we write about how knowledge travels? (Co-organized with Karine Chemla)
25th International Congress of History of Science and Technology, July 23-29, Rio de Janeiro

One of the central features of science, technology and medicine is the purported agility with which these inquiries leap across cultural borders. Investigating the transmission of knowledge requires that we consider relations between the local and the global. Conversely, articulating the local and the global requires that issues raised by the circulation of knowledge be addressed. Since the 18th century, historians of science and technology have raised questions, not only about how knowledge originates, but also how knowledge gets from one part of the world to another. Presently, scholars tend to presume knowledge is produced locally and that what is known becomes global only after it travels to other places. Concurrently, scholars realize that what counts as a successful transmission of knowledge is closely connected with our assumptions about possible relations between the global and the local. Various models have been proposed to explain how knowledge travels: transmission, diffusion, circulation, dissemination,
Nov 2015   Historiography of Cultural Diversity in the History of Science
Session organized at HSS:
Session abstract
As the realm of the history of science expands to include geographical areas hitherto little known, historians of science with interests in scientific cultures find themselves faced more often with cultures unfamiliar to them. This widening of the scope offers a great opportunity, but it also poses some challenges. Cultural histories of science have their own pitfalls, especially when cultures in question are foreign. This session discusses historiographical issues related to writing cultural diversity in the history of science. By examining some case studies, this session explores how “cultures” have been written in the history of science, how the notion of “culture” caused problems in such studies, and how ways of looking at scientific cultures in history can be relevant to contemporary controversies related to “culture.”
Dec 2014   "Science and Society" Workshop No. 2: The Cold War and Sciencer
The Cold War is one of the most important periods in history of science for the "Science and Society " education at Sokendai. This period is crucial for understanding the subsequent course of science policies, and the Cold War provides many important cases for considering ethical questions arising in the interface betweeen science and society. Research on this topic is still on-going and being reexamined especially from the transnational perspective.
This workshop will be held on the occasion of the visit to Japan of two important scholars in this field, Susan Lindee and Betty Smocovitis. It is intended for the informal discussion of ongoing researches (works-in-progress) to contribute to future research and education on this theme. Other confirmed presenters include Masakatsu Yamazaki, Takeshi Kurihara, Jin Hamamura, Kaori Iida and Kenji Ito. Yoshiyuki Kikuchi will be the discussant of the workshop. The presentation and discussion language is English.
Venue: Conference Room No. 3, Shonan Village Center (Day 1)/Seminar Room (2nd floor), The Center for the Promotion of Integrated Sciences (CPIS), Hayama Campus, SOKENDAI (The Graduate University for Advanced Studies) (Day 2)
The c
Nov 2014   Nuclear Legacies: Radiation Risk in Historical and Anthropological Perspectives, .
Session organized at Japan Society for STS Annual Meeting, November, 2014, Osaka University
May 2014   "Science and Society" Workshop No. 1: Observational and Experimental Objects: Science Studies of Materials and Instruments in the Laboratory and the Field
Workshop organized.
In the past decades, experimental and observational aspects of science have been a subject of intense investigations in the history, philosophy, sociology, and anthropology of science. One of the important trends in this area of investigations is the attention on the material aspects of experimental and observational practices. Hans-Jörg Rheinberger’s works on experimental devices in life sciences are its paradigmatic examples. Recently in Japan, more scholars in history, sociology, and anthropology have also started this kind of research. The purpose of this workshop is to provide an opportunity for these scholars and Hans-Jörg Rheinberger to discuss their works for further developments of this line of studies. Papers in this workshop discuss various aspects of experimental and observational devices, the material aspects of the laboratory, and the local environment of a research institute.
Nov 2012   Kenji Ito and Kapil Raj, “Cultural Identity and Trans-Nationality in the History of Science,”
Organized symposium at the 5th International Conference, European Society for the History of Science, 1-3, November 2012, Athens, Greece.