Niigata University of Health and Welfare

Major in Medical and Rehabilitation Sciences
Field of Physical Anthropology


Physical anthropology is the study of humans from a biological perspective. This entails human evolution, human biological variation, its genetic basis, and its adaptive significance. The curriculum of our master’s degrees in physical anthropology focused on skeletal morphology and is organized by osteology, anatomy, human evolution, comparative anatomy, histology of the human or animal bones, forensic anthropology, paleopathology, and bioarchaeology. Through this curriculum, we train to become specialists in physical anthropology with advanced expertise.


In the field of physical anthropology, experts in physical anthropology teach students the knowledge and skills to verify effectively and scientifically the physical anthropology, and related area (e.g., archaeology, anatomy, osteology, bioarchaeology, comparative anatomy).

Conducting research in a wide range of specialties

This field mainly conducted research of physical anthropology, comparative anatomy, hisotology of bone, archaeology, palaeopathology, and bioarchaeology.

Education provided by experts in each area

In the field of physical anthropology, the teaching staff educates a wide range of areas that relate to physical anthropology (e.g., human evolution, archaeology, osteology, anatomy, kinesiology, comparative anatomy, forensic anthropology, and statistical method).

Master’s Degree

Master of physical anthropology

Examples of Research Topics

  1. Skeletal characteristics of the Neandertal
  2. Transition of the human skeletal morphology in the Japanese archipelago, and origin of the Japanese.
  3. Histomorphological species identification of tiny bone fragments
  4. Reconstructing mobility of the past populations from limb bone morphology
  5. Palaeopathology
  6. Relationship between social stratification and bone morphology in the Edo period
  7. Periodontal disease in the Jomon
  8. 3-dimensional analysis of the bone morphology of the past populations
  9. Report on human skeletal remains excavated from archaeological sites
  10. Study of burnt bones excavated from archaeological sites
  11. Clarification of kinship and burial process of Jomon
  12. Stress marker of the past population

Teaching Staff

Takashi Nara / Professor / Ph. D. (Chair)
Research on the extinction of Neanderthals and the emergence of modern humans.

Junmei Sawada / Professor / Ph. D.
Through anthropological studies of human remains excavated from archaeological sites, we are trying to find out people's lives in the past.

Yasuo Hagihara / Assistant Professor / Ph. D.
Reconstructing the activity patterns of the past population from the human bone morphological analysis.

Aiko Saso / Assistant Professor / Ph. D.
Reconstructing the health status, lifestyle, diet, mortality, gender, and social institutions of people in the past through traces of various activities, ancient diseases and injuries, artificial injuries.