Kenji Ito

J-GLOBAL         Last updated: May 16, 2017 at 02:20
Kenji Ito
The Graduate University for Advanced Studies
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


Awards & Honors

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

Published Papers

Quantum mechanical turn of physics in Japan
Kenji Ito
Butsuri   71(8) 558-562   Aug 2016   [Refereed][Invited]
"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]
Spreading the Tools of Theory: Feynman Diagrams in the United States, Japan, and the Soviet Union
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]


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]
Thomas Kuhn's The Structure of Scientific Revolutions and Early Social Studies of Science in Japan
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]
科学史研究   33 221-225   1994   [Refereed]

Books etc

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
Kyuri No. 1
Jul 2015   
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

Kenji Ito
HKIHSS-SOKENDAI Symposium “The Past, Present, and Future of Radiation and Everyday Technology in Japan and US in the 20th and 21st Centuries”   21 Feb 2017   Hong Kong University and SOKENDAI
"Electron theory" in Japan, or how electrical engineering prepared atomic physics there [Invited]
Kenji Ito
Interactions of Interwar Physics: Technology, Instruments, and Other Sciences   10 Dec 2016   
The Rise of Theoretical Physics in Japan: Transmission of Scientific Cultures and Practices of Quantum Mechanics [Invited]
Kenji Ito
Uppsala University   27 Sep 2016   
Self-Orientalism and Politics of Cultural Identities in the History of Japanese Science
Kenji Ito
European Society for the History of Science meeting   24 Sep 2016   
Kenji Ito
History of Science Society Annual Meeting   22 Nov 2015   
Electron Theory and Electrical Engineering in Japan [Invited]
Kenji Ito
Interactions of Interwar Physics: Technology, Instruments and Other Sciences   11 Oct 2015   
Science and Cultural Diversity: The Problem of Orientalism
Kenji Ito
15th Congress on Logic, Methodology, and Philosophy of Science (CLMPS)   4 Aug 2015   
Kenji Ito
Fourth Conference on History of Quantum Physics   18 Jul 2015   
Kenji Ito
Questioning the Concepts of Culture, Diversity and Comparison in the History and Philosophy of Science   11 Jul 2015   
Kenji Ito
The 14th International Conference on the History of Science in East Asia   7 Jul 2015   

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


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)
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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.