A doctoral student from Kanazawa University (KU), Japan presented partial results of her dissertation during the Research Forum organized by the Faculty of Management and Development Studies (FMDS), UP Open University (UPOU) on 28 February 2017 at the Audio-visual Room, UPOU Headquarters, Los Baños, Laguna. The forum was also aired live at www.networks.upou.edu.ph.

Dr. Joane V. Serrano, Officer-in-Charge Dean of FMDS, opened the activity explaining that FMDS Research Forums are venues to share research initiatives in various areas.

Ms. Sakiko Kawabe, taking the Doctoral Degree in Cultural Resource Management in KU, presented her doctoral dissertation entitled “Investigation of the Change of Relationships Between Local Residents and their Traditional Farming Tools by Modernization in Ifugao Rice Terraces, The Philippines.”

She shared the results of her data collection in Japan which focused on “Mingu and the Collecting Movement after WWII in Japan.” Mingu, defined as “things that were created with technical means out of need in daily life” were donated in a number of museums in Japan when it went through the Rapid Economic Growth (1954-1973). Folklorists in Japan became aware of the loss of mingu and campaigned for their preservation. Her study involved determining how two museums in Japan was able to collect mingu, specifically traditional farming tools, the change of relationship between people and their tools, and what processes mingu goes through from being a tool in the daily life to being a museum collection.

She then explained how she proposes to conduct a similar study in the Ifugao Rice Terraces, where she aims to elucidate how people recognize things from their daily life as heritage or historical records in terms of two elements of modernization: agricultural development and heritage management. Her study aims to answer the questions “What causes the government and local residents to collect and preserve things from daily life in the context of modernization?” and “How do things from daily life change value into heritage or historical artifacts?” In particular, she wants to investigate the process and result of agricultural development and the change of lifestyle of local farmers; investigate the policies and projects to educate and encourage local residents to appreciate and protect their own culture; and investigate the history and current state of collections of farming tools and other folk artifacts of individual residents, communities, local museums, research institutions and the government.

With the forum being a venue to share research insights, members of the audience, such as Prof. Jean Saludadez, UPOU Vice-Chancellor for Finance and Administration; Prof. Ana Quimbo, Faculty member of the UPLB College of Public Affairs; and Prof. Consuelo Habito, Program Chair for UPOU’s Master of Environment and Natural Resources Management program, commented and suggested several points to consider for dissertation proposal. It was suggested that she partner with a faculty or researcher in a local university to address the issues on plausibility given the language challenges since part of her study entails interviewees with the locals. Other suggestions were given like and exploring the blend of old and modern tools, and taking note of the physical structure of the Ifugao Rice Terraces which may not allow the use of some machinery.

Ms. Kawabe noted the suggestions well and were grateful for the contributions to her study. She was presented a certificate of appreciation for sharing her research. Ms. Jeniffer de Pasion-Guevarra was the forum’s emcee. (Anna Cañas-Llamas)