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Research Activities

Research Projects

FY 2007/2008 Research Topic: 4-36
Knowledge and Power in the Pacific Island Countries


The waves of the global electronic information society have reached the shores of the Pacific island counties. In Papua New Guinea, the number of subscribers to mobile phones has reached 140,000, one fifth of the total urban population, and 800,000 calls are placed everyday. In the kingdom of Tonga, the Internet and e-mail have critical importance for the advancement of democratization.

Thus, even in the least developed island countries of the Pacific, such as Papua New Guinea, the information environment is changing drastically. However, access to these electronic informational devices is limited to the urban highly educated elites. They can freely make access not only to domestic informational sources but also to overseas ones.

In addition, in the island countries of the Pacific, the key to wealth and power is English and the knowledge that English can give access to. The children of urban highly-educated elites whose first language is English are privileged from the beginning of their lives.

One the other hand, children born in the rural villages are mostly destined to live out their lives in their natal villages. They grow up absorbing traditional knowledge, but the traditional knowledge does not give them access to modern capitalist wealth and power.

Thus, in the island countries in the Pacific, two types of human being emerge. One is post-modern cosmopolitan people, with their postmodern intellectual background. The other is pre-modern tribesmen with their pre-modern intellectual background. The wealth and power distribution between the two has become increasingly skewed.


April 2007 - March 2008


Members of the Research Project

SHIOTA Mitsuki
OTANI Hirofumi(Professor, Seinan-Gakuin University)
KAZAMA Kazuhiro(Associate Professor, Tsukuba University)
TANAHASHI Satoshi (Professor, Ochanomizu University)
NORITAKE Masaru (Lecturer, Kansai University)
ISHIMORI Daichi(Post Doctoral Fellow of Japan Society for the Promotion of Science)
BABA Jun (Doctoral Student, Tokyo Metropolitan University )