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Hirofumi Minami Last modified date:2021.06.30

Professor / Environmental Engineering, Planning and Design Section
Department of Architecture and Urban Design
Faculty of Human-Environment Studies

Graduate School
Undergraduate School
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Administration Post
Dean of the Graduate School of Integrated Frontier Sciences

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Academic Degree
Country of degree conferring institution (Overseas)
Field of Specialization
Total Priod of education and research career in the foreign country
Outline Activities
Trained in the field of Developmental and Environmental Psychology in Hiroshima University (B.A. and M.A.) and Clark University (Ph.D.) I am currently engaged in the research of Psychoanalysis of cities, as an overarching frame for the depth understanding of cities in the radical transformation such as urban renewal and disasters, in particular cases as Hiroshima's atomic bombing and New York's 9/11. For this purpose innovative methodology that combines field work and clinical and qualitative approaches including psychoanalysis, phenomenology and ecological observation is covered both for research and educational activities. In practice developing child friendly places ("ibasho" in Japanese) in the city and local community has been the focus of our laboratory's continued interests.This has also been connected to the ecological understanding of Asian cities with their multiple-agents spontaneity and localized rules that is considered "chaotic" by the western mode of thinking. For the theoretical clarification of dynamic interconnection between human agency and surrounding environments the concept of transaction is applied and enlarged to include emotional and imaginal layers as well as actual handling of tangible matters. Kansei (sensibility) as a framework for such endeavor has been sought through the Department of Kansei-Science in the Graduate School of Frontier Sciences.
Research Interests
  • Psychoanalysis of cities
    keyword : Understanding of cities, Psychoanalytic approach, Hermeneutics or theory of interpretation
  • Sensual communication in the field
    keyword : Sensual communication, The action of the field, Embodiment and physicality
  • place designing with children as partners
    keyword : belonging place, children, designing
  • Methodological study on the process of field working
    keyword : fieldwork, qualitative method
  • social ecological study of Asian cities
    keyword : Asian cities, theory of place, ecological approach
Current and Past Project
  • The traumatic experiences in the cases of Hiroshima in 1945's atomic bombing and New York's 9/11 were taken as occasion of collective destruction and re-construction, and were put into psychoanalytic frameworks so as to understand and interpret deeper layers of the "urban unconscious" transactions. The facing and un-facing of the original traumatic experiences that are dealt in the following recovery precesses are understood as the mode of adapting to "the impossible" and unspeakable. Such an interpretive work is intended to be a trial of a clinical approach to the cities as collective lifeworld field.
  • The processes of "participant observation" first introduced by Sullivan (1961) as a general method for social sciences is investigated from both theoretical and empirical sides. In particular so-called "entry" phase when the researcher encounters the field and gradually comes to terms with the unfolding situations takes a central focus in this research. The embodied knowing as tacit transaction with the field was hypothesized as a central means in the initial phase of "being-in-the field." Practical implications for the training of novice fieldworkers as well as practitioners in such field as nurses in the hospital, beginners in the traditional arts, trainees in the clinical therapy, and listeners in the modern experimental music are sought through the action research in the collaboration of multiple fields.
  • The anthropological study of "Street Wisdom" and the emergency of new locality:
    Street wisdom as local knowledge in the urban settings are investigated through interdisciplinary collaboration among cultural anthropology, ethnology, sociology, environmental psychology, psychoanalysis and clinical therapy. Such investigation is sought at the time of globalized societies in the post colonial period where systemic forces dominate life-world domains. As part of the overall project the present author utilizes the approach of " Psychoanalysis of Cities" (Manami, 2015) in the interpretive study of streets of Hiroshima and New York City. Based on the notion of flaneur by Benjamin (1994) the urban unconscious as hidden traces of the past in the street-scape of both cities are investigated.
  • Research Core "Asian Urban Studies"
    This research core is established in 2002 after three years of the activities of the Project and Program (P&P) entitled "Toward an Establishment of the Center for Asian Urban Studies as Solution for Urban Problems in the Asian Region." In the context of the growing high density cities in the Asian region which might outgrow rational control and management by the local and national government this research core focuses on the up-to-date urban problems shared by Asian cities from multi-disciplinary perspectives .
Academic Activities
1. Hirofumi Minami, Davis, B.R. , Mirrored Reflections: (Re)Constructing Memory and Identity in Hiroshima and New York City, Fordham University Press, Opotow, S. and Shemtob, Z.B.(2018). New York after 9/11 New York: Fordham University Press, Pp.41-66., 2018.12, [URL], This chapter describes and compares the reconstruction processes at the Ground Zero sites of two
cities, Hiroshima and New York City, as a means for understanding processes of long-term
healing. Using a Psychoanalysis of Cities approach, the authors analyze representation dynamics
evident in the collective acts of remembering and identification marking the planning and
construction of memorial sites. In the case of post-World War II Hiroshima, suppression of anger
in tandem with an official symbolism of world peace may be understood as resulting from a
lingering aversion to confront unspeakable experience. In the case of post-9/11 New York City,
recurrent controversies, tensions between the public and policymakers, and constant delays and
renegotiations over the memorial construction indicate an early working-through of collective
trauma. In conclusion, we discuss both theoretical and policy implications for a liberated
generation of agents who can voicecapable of voicing deeper layers of collective trauma..
2. Wapner,S., Demick,J.,Yamoto,T.,& Minami, H. (編), Theoretical perspectives in environment behavior research.
, Wapner,S., Demick,J.,Yamoto,T.,& Minami, H. (編) 環境心理学、環境行動学における日米の主要な研究者に、それぞれが用いている理論および実践上の主要な概念・用語・方法論について、それがどのような前提の基に形成されているか、概念のリフレクションを求め、環境心理学の理論の全容を展望する論考を編集した。著者は、この編集において主に日本側のオーガナイザーを務め、自身の観点を提示すると共に、全体編集に当った。
, 2000.09.
1. The Urban Unconscious Seen from the Street and the Project of Psychoanalysis of Cities..
1. Pitchawut Virutamawongse , Hirofumi Minami, The changes of street vending behavior under circumstance of Coronavirus Disease lockdown in 2020 in Nonthaburi pier area, Thailand., Men Environment Research Association, 2021.05.
2. Hirofumi Minami, Place philosophy and psychoanalysis of cities as a possible project., Environment Design Research Association, 2019.05, [URL], I intend to present and discuss some ideas related to Place theory by a Japanese philosopher, Kitaro Nishida. In Nishida’s view, self-awareness occurs in a place, yet the “self” here does not necessarily denote a person’s consciousness. Rather, it is the expression of the place. Human agency is part of the total configuration of the historicity of the place. This conceptualization provided a perspective to overcome a rigid subject-object dichotomy. I will term this philosophical position “a Place-theoretical turn.” From this position we can envision Psychoanalysis of Cities as a possible project in which events such as the one that occurred in Ground Zero in Hiroshima and New York could be an occasion for some self-awareness to be embodied by person-place transactions. The architects, for example through their struggles to find expression of the “depth of the place experience” became historical agents that embodied “self” of the place. The “self” here refers to collective understanding and interpretation of the previously un-describable layers of the place experiences in the heart of the city, i.e., “the urban unconscious.” This is only possible and graspable after the expression is actualized. In-placement is a predicate in its formative scheme. Two case studies of the design process of Hiroshima’s Peace Memorial Park, designed by Kenzo Tange, and that of Ground Zero of New York with its initial proposal and refusal by the public are presented as exemplar occasions for Psychoanalysis of Cities in which self-awareness of both individuals and the place took the transformative whole. This study using Kitaro’s philosophical lens can also help us understand which features are seen as important in each case and reflect on the nature of each view, how it influences conceptualizations and the enablers and pitfalls of comparisons..
3. 祁秋梦, 南 博文, Dialogical approach to interpreting the meaning of daily experiences of "Subjective Well-Being", The 31st International Conference of Psychology, 2016.07.
4. Hirofumi Minami, Sanjoy Mazumdar, Sean Ah Oh, Wei-Lun Kuo, Cooking E-B theories from the Asian "Situ", Environment Design Research Association, 2012.06, This symposium will focus on the on-going attempts among E-B researchers working in the east-Asian contexts who begin their conceptualization of person-environment transactions based on the experience-near phenomenon in their local environments. We will ask specifically the following question: 1) Are these culturally-bound phenomenon? 2) Are the terms and conceptualization intelligible in the backdrop of the current E- B theory? 3) What are the design implication of these kinds of research? .
Other Educational Activities
  • 2012.10.
  • 2006.04.