Practical Research and Collaboration Division
2030 Global DRR Agenda Office
Assistant Professor
Ph.D.(Global Environmental Studies)
Global Centre for Disaster Statistics (Concurrent)

Research Subject(s)
I am interested in the high-resilient cultural landscape and land-use that coexists with nature, especially in rural areas. I have mainly been exploring sustainable agricultural activities and improved balance between humanity and nature in the semi-arid North and Northwest China through field work, land-use surveys, optical satellite images, and geographical information systems (GIS). A sustainable balance is strongly related to the Eco-DRR approach to address the disasters of floods, landslides, dust storms, and droughts. I am also concerned with the education for sustainable development (ESD) in cooperation with the University of Tokyo and Rikkyo University.
Key Words
Geography / Social-ecological systems / Mesology and Landscape science / Regional studies / Regional planning
Research Activities

Understanding people’s actions and local knowledge is important to consider the nature of their relationship with the global environment. For example, Chinese Loess Plateau had been facing land degradation has caused food shortages, poverty and disasters. Although the world’s largest afforestation project has been underway here since the end of the 20th century, new challenges have arisen as ecological restoration has altered the local agricultural and rural environments. Today, I monitor social transformation in this area following its afforestation, and I am considering the development of a sustainable society here in terms of the residents’ livelihoods and food supply.

Moreover, I am attempting to exhaustively and quantitatively restore the landscapes of this region prior to afforestation. This is an attempt to trace the modern history of China and Asia to the present day in relation to the natural environment and disasters. I strive to clearly distinguish between and compare the rural development, natural regeneration, and degradation of the pre-modern era with those of the planned-economy, post-reform eras. To this end, I have gathered declassified US military reconnaissance satellite imagery, aerial photographs taken by CIA’s U2 spy aircraft, Soviet military topographic maps. I have been analyzing these documents using GIS.

I am also participating in the Japan Science and Technology Agency project “Solution-Driven Co-creative R&D Program for SDGs”, Global Centre for Disaster Statistics and Co-Creation Center for Disaster Resilience in IRIDeS. These projects aim to generate solutions for inclusive disaster management based on the theme “Leave No One Behind”. Moreover, I collaborate with researchers, government officials, and residents to conduct problem-solving research and engage in social implementation in Sendai city and other fields both in Japan and overseas. 

Selected Works

Hara, Y. (2022). Restoration of the distribution of pit-type yaodong dwellings in the 1970s using US military reconnaissance satellite images in Luoyang Basin, China. Journal of Arid Land Studies, 30(1). 

Hara, Y. (2021). Development and Issues of Integrated Rice-Aquaculture Farming and Research Trends in China.E-journal GEO, 16(1), pp.70-86. doi: 10.4157/ejgeo.16.70.  (in Japanese with English abstract)

Hara, Y. et al. (2017). Competitive Edge of Riverbank Villages and Problems of Hilly Villages in the Rural Loess Plateau of China: Using a Statistical Table of Wucangbao Township, Wuqi County, Shaanxi Province. Geographical Review of Japan, 90(4),pp.363-375.doi: 10.4157/grj.90.363.  (in Japanese with English abstract)

Hara, Y. et al. (2015). Local Bioresource Utilization in Formative Processes and Factors for Developmentof Shelterbelt Plantations on Izu-Oshima Island. E-journal GEO,10(1), pp.67-80. doi: 10.4157/ejgeo.10.67.  (in Japanese with English abstract)

Selected Memberships
  • The Association of Japanese Geographers
  • The Human Geographical Society of Japan
  • The Association of Rural Planning
  • The Japanese Association for Arid Land Studies
  • International Consortium of Landscape and Ecological Engineering
Selected Awards
  • Secretary General's Award 2015 (Excellent Presentation Award, Center for Environmental Information Science)