Kyushu University Academic Staff Educational and Research Activities Database
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Noriko Seguchi Last modified date:2017.06.09

Associate Professor / Basic Structure of Human Societies
Department of Environmental Changes
Faculty of Social and Cultural Studies

Graduate School

Academic Degree
Ph.D. The University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI USA
Field of Specialization
Biological Anthropology
Outline Activities
I have been continuing research on Paleoamericans in North America and South America and their relationships with the Asian continent, such as the Jomon people. I am also working on testing evolutionary mechanisms for patterns of craniofacial morphology in order to distinguish between neutral forces and selective forces of evolution. This year, I start working on investigating ecogeographic significance of human postcranial diversity using postcranial bones in Bergmann’s and Allen’s perspective. I also explore the issue of race and gender in the history of biological anthropology in general and in Japanese physical anthropology in particular. Believing that scientific biases through the history of physical anthropology were always influenced by and supportive of political ideologies, I strongly feel the necessity to discern and reexamine anthropological theorizing related to problematic issues such as racism, nationalism, imperialism, and sexism.
Research Interests
  • 3D data acquisition technology; in bioarchaeological and archaeological contexts
    keyword : virtual model processing protocols, alignment methods, actual data acquisition techniques, basic technological protocols, consideration of variation in research design
  • Interdisciplinary research on the processes and mechanisms of racialization
    keyword : Race, the processes of racializaion
  • A accuracy test between semilandmark data taken by 3D digitizer and 3D virtual models
    keyword : 3D digitizer, 3D virtual model, semilandmarks
  • International research on human skeletal remains using 3D laser scanner:Implications for applications of digital morphometorics
    keyword : 3D laser scanner, craniofacial morphology, Pelvic morphology
  • Invalidity of biological "race" concept
    The issue of race and gender in the history of biological anthropology
    The issue of "Ainu"
    keyword : Problems of "race" Gender Ainu
  • A.We set out to test whether craniofacial morphology is simply an artifact of neutral genetic processes or is affected by differences in climate.
    Are the observed cranial patterns:
    1. Due to natural selection and shaped by differences in climate?
    2. Due to neutral processes (i.e., drift)?
    3. Due to gene flow?
    4. Test “isolation by distance” model
    5. Provide a framework for distinguishing between neutral forces and selective forces (natural selection) of evolution.
    6. Guide to improve our use of quantitative craniofacial traits for reconstructing population history and phylogeny.

    B. A study of postcranial indices, ratios and body mass versus eco-geographical variables in an assessment of phenotypic adaptation to climatic conditions.

    keyword : Craniofacial morphology neutral traits natural selection Postcranials
  • Craniofacial Morphometircs
    Dental anthropology
    Human Biodiversity
    Human dispersal and population history in East, Northeast, Central Asia, North and South America, and Europe

    keyword : Biological Anthropology Human bio diversity Population history 
Current and Past Project
  • Recent advancements in three-dimensional technology have impacted the field of biological anthropology and the use of geometric morphometrics. Three-dimensional digitizers such as Microscribe serve as excellent tools for collecting landmark and semi-landmark data. However, Microscribe requires direct access to skeletal materials, which is a problem on several levels. For instance, recording semi-landmark data over curved areas of bone can compromise poorly preserved specimens. Additionally, access to archaeological skeletal collections can often be impeded by restrictions mandated by the curation authority. This project explores a best-practices data acquisition method for recording semi-landmark data on fragile archaeological human remains, with a case study centered on Japan.

    For this purpose, we chose the curvature of the maxillary alveolar process as well as traditional craniofacial landmarks. Curve data were taken from 3D virtual cr anial models from three collections spanning historical and modern population samples from Japan using Stratovan Checkpoint software. For comparison, we collected 3D coordinate data on modern Japanese skulls using a Microscribe digitizer.

    Our study incorporates an assessment of the validity of landmark data acquired by Microscribe versus Checkpoint software. However, considering the difficulties of direct collection of curve data, using the Microscribe on actual skulls can present challenges.

    We demonstrate the process of acquiring curve data on virtual cranial models by using Checkpoint software, which improves data quality and benefits research by: 1) improving accuracy when identifying landmarks corresponding to maximum width and length; and 2) visualizing curve data allows for the determination of data quality and necessary adjustments.
Academic Activities
1. C. Loring Brace, Noriko Seguchi, A.R. Nelson, Q. Pan, Hideyuki Umeda, M. Wilson, M.L. Brace, The Ainu and Jomon Connection , Texas A & M Press, USA, Kennewick Man: The Scientific Investigation of an Ancient American Skeleton. Edited by Douglas W. Owsley and Richard L. Jantz. Texas A&M Press, College Station. pp.463-471., 2014.09.
2. Deconstructing scientific discourse by the conservatives: the debate over gender differences from the perspective of biological anthropology .
1. Skeletal Biological Perspective on Human Variation .
2. The Kennewick man and the Jomon. National Museum of Nature and Science, Tokyo News, July issue.
3. Seguchi N, Drawing the Borders: Sexual, Racial, and National Boundaries Today, Tomorrow, and Forever, Working Paper Series, No. 34. Institute for Research on Women and Gender, The University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, 1998.07.
1. Noriko Seguchi, Conrad Quintyn, Shiori Yonemoto, Hirofumi Takamuku, An assessment of postcranial indices, ratios, and body mass versus eco-geographical variables of prehistoric Jomon, Yayoi agriculturalists, and Kumejima Islanders of Japan., American Journal of Human Biology, 2017.05, [URL].
2. Ryan W. Schmidt, Noriko Seguchi, Craniofacial variation of the Xiongnu nomads of Mongolia reveals their possible origins and population history doi:10.1016/j.quaint.2014.11.035, Quaternary International, 405, 2016.06.
3. Ryan W Schmidt, Noriko Seguchi, Jomon Culture and the peopling of the Japanese archipelago: advancements in the fields of morphometrics and ancient DNA, Japanese Journal of Archaeology , 2, 2014.12.
4. Yasuko Takezawa, Kazuo Kato, Hiroki Oota, Timothy Caulfield, Akihiro Fujimoto, Shunwa Honda, Naoyuki Kamatani, Shoji Kawamura, Kohei Kawashima, Ryosuke Kimura, Hiromi Matsumae, Ayako Saito, Patrick E Savage, Noriko Seguchi, Keiko Shimizu, Satoshi Terao, Yumi Yamaguchi-Kabata, Akira YASUKOUCHI, Minoru Yoneda, Katsushi Tokunaga, Human genetic research, race, ethnicity and the labeling of populations:recommendations based on an interdisciplinary workshop in Japan, BMC Medical Ethics, 15, 1, BMC Med Ethics. 2014 Apr 23;15(1):33., 2014.04, [URL].
5. Noriko Seguchi, Christina Heiner, Differences in prevelence of Tuberculosis mortality among the Ainu and the Ethnic Japanese during the early Twentieth Century: Socio-Economic and political structural influences, 人種表象の日本型グローバル研究、平成24年度研究成果報告書  京都大学人文科学研究所, 2013.03.
6. Seguchi N, McKeown A, Schmidt R, Umeda H, Brace CL, An alternative view of the peopling of South America: Lagoa Santa in craniometric perspective, Anthropological Science, 119, 1, 21-38, 2011.04, [URL].
7. Schmidt R , Seguchi N, Thompson J, Chinese immigrant population history in North America based on craniometric diversity, Anthropological Science, 119, 1, 9-19, 2011.04, [URL].
8. Brace CL, Seguchi, N, Brace ML, Exploring the Kennewick Connection, Kennewick Man: Perspectives on the Ancient One. (eds) Claire Smith, Larry Zimmerman, Joe Watkins and Dorothy Lippert, 153-168, The Left Coast Press in Australia, 2008.11.
9. Nelson AR, Seguchi N, Brace CL, Craniometric Affinities and Early Skeletal Evidence for Origins, Environment, origins, and population, Handbook of North American Indians series. (ed) Douglas Ubelaker, 3, 679-684, Smithsonian Institution. Washington D.C., 2007.10.
10. Brace CL, Seguchi N, Quintyn CB, Fox SC, Nelson AR, Sotiris KM, Pan Q, The questionable contribution of the Neolithic and the Bronze Age to European craniofacial form, The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 103, 1, 242-247, 2006.01, [URL].
11. C. Loring Brace, A. Russell Nelson, Noriko Seguchi, Hiroaki Oe, Leslie Sering, Pan Qifeng, Li Yongyii, and Dashtseveg Tumen, Old World sources of the first New World human inhabitants: A comparative craniofacial view, The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America , 98, 17, 10017-10022, 2001.08, [URL].
12. Brace CL and Seguchi N, 「人種」は社会的構築物か生物学的リアリティか, Jinshu Gainen no Fuhensei wo Tou: Shokuminchi shugi, Kokumin Kokka, Tsukurareta Shinwa/ Is Race a Universal Idea?: Colonialism, Nation-States, and a Myth Invented. Institute for Research in Humanities, Kyoto University, Kyoto, Japan., pp. 44-83, 2003.03.
Works, Software and Database
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1. NORIKO SEGUCHI, CONRAD B. QUINTYN, A Craniofacial and Postcranial Survey of North and South American Inhabitants from the Perspective of Possible Old World Ancestors, World Archaeological Congress 8, at Kyoto, 2016.09.01, [URL].
2. Recent Trends within the American Association of Physical Anthropologists.
3. Spreading the knowledge: physical anthropology and working with descendant communities.
4. The Concept of Race in Medical and Public Health Research.
5. , [URL].
6. Noriko Seguchi, Hiroshi Takamuku, Conrad B. Quintyn, A study of postcranial indices, ratios and body mass versus eco-geographical variables in an assessment of phenotypic adaptation to climatic conditions.
, the 82nd Annual meeting of American Association of Physical Anthropologists. , 2013.04.11.
7. Noriko Seguchi, Beatrix Dudzik, Testing the Dual-Structure Hypothesis for the Colonization of the Japanese Archipelago: Evidence from Southern Japan., The 83rd Annual Meeting of the American Association of Physical Anthropologists, 2014.04.10.
8. Noriko Seguchi, Conrad Quyntin, Hirofumi Takamuku, Shiori Yonemoto, An assessment of phenotypic adaptation of the prehistoric Jomon hunter-gatherers and the Yayoi agriculturalists of Japan: A study of postcranial indices, ratios, and body mass versus eco-geographical variables, The 83rd Annual Meeting of the American Association of Physical Anthropologists, 2014.04.11.
9. In 1996, one of the oldest and best-preserved human skeletons in the United States was discovered on the banks of the Columbia River near Kennewick in the State of Washington, and has come to be known as Kennewick Man. In this paper, the origins of the 9,300 year old Kennewick individual and his early Holocene contemporaries in the Americas are explored. The results of our craniofacial metric analysis indicate that Kennewick Man shows a greater similarity with the Ainu, the prehistoric Jomon of Japan, and Polynesians, than with any other human samples in the world. The Jomon samples that show similarity with Kennewick Man are also similar to prehistoric inhabitants of the North American Northwest coast, Paleoamerican samples from Brazil, and the indigenous peoples of the southern end of South America. These results suggest that the ancestor of the Jomon in the Late Pleistocene of the northeast and eastern coast of Asia might be an important source for the first known inhabitants of the western hemisphere and might have migrated to North America and dispersed to South America..
10. Noriko Seguchi, Conrad B. Quintyn, Variation in body and limb proportions between Early and Archaic Americans and the prehistoric Jomon of Japan, The 84th Annual Meeting of the American Association of Physical Anthropology, 2015.03.27.
11. 瀬口 典子, Murphy, Mary-Margaret, Dudzik, Beatrix, 米元 史織, Practical reality of taking semi-landmark data on archaeological human remains, The 85th Annual Meeting, American Association of Physical Anthropologists, 2016.04.15.
Membership in Academic Society
  • The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS)
  • American Association of Physical Anthropologists
  • Anthropological Society of Nippon
  • American Anthropological Association
Professional and Outreach Activities
Appointed as a Faculty Affiliate in the Anthropology Department at the University of Montana, Missoula. (from Oct. 11, 2012 to Sept. 30, 2017).