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A Case Study on Ikenobo > Chapter 2: Research Methodology-3

This thesis is dedicated to...

People who wish to bring true peace to this world,

The Japanese people, who have created and possess such a great culture,

All living things.


We are all one.

Mari Katsui


Can Japanese Culture Contribute to Sustainability for Peace? A Case Study on Ikenobo


Chapter 2: Research Methodology-3


Research Approach



To my knowledge, the question of how Japanese culture can contribute to sustainable peace has never before been the subject of a research project.

Therefore, the traditional model of research, in which the researcher chooses an existing theoretical framework and then collects data to test whether or to what degree the theory explains a phenomenon, is not suited to this project’s research question.

This research project is not theory testing. It is theory building.


For theory building, qualitative case study research is one recommended approach.

Case studies are especially appropriate when attempting to answer “How?” questions.(My research question is: How can Japanese culture, as exemplified in the beliefs and practices of Ikenobo, contribute to sustainable peace?)


Key Knowledge Areas and Definitions

In theory-building research, one generally does not start with a review of existing literature (see Chapter 3).

But it is useful to start with a set of key knowledge areas and definitions in order to plan and guide the data gathering.


Concepts and Knowledge Areas

Key knowledge areas used in this research design include the following:

  • Background information about Japan and the Japanese people

  • Japanese society and Japanese culture

  • Sustainability in Japanese culture

  • Japanese management systems

  • Flowers and flower arrangement

  • The Japanese people’s relationship with nature

  • Sustainability of peace

  • Natural disasters

  • Religion: Shintoism

  • The Jomon period of ancient Japanese history

  • The Japanese language

  • The Japanese people, peace, and Article 9 of the Constitution (the “Peace Constitution”)



to be continued...



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