Hiromu Sakai

SAKAI, Hiromu (酒井 弘)
Professor, Faculty of Science and Engineering Center for English Language Education (CELESE)
Office: Bldg. 51-05-09B



B.A. Kyoto University, 1984
Ph.D. University of California - Irvine, 1996
  Derivational Uniformity: A Study on Syntactic Derivation in Parametric Setting

Research Areas and Interests

My main research interest is in the field of cognitive neuroscience of langauge and other human social behavior. Cognitive science, in essence, is a scientific study of human intellegence, including language processing, causal reasoning, decision making, problem solving, etc. I perform experimental and computational studies on neural mechanisms for these processes.

I use electroencephalography (EEG, 脳波計) as main research methodology. The technique called event-related brain potential (ERP, 事象関連電位) helps us understand real-time activities of human brain during intellegent processes. 

I also record participants' eye movenment using eye-trackers (視線計測器). Eye-movement data tells us how and when we interact with envilonment and/or other human participants in social contexts.

Although I am not belong to any majors in school of science and engineering, my cognitive neuroscience lab welcomes graduate/ undergraduate part-time members. If you are interested in the field of cognitive science and/or higher order human brain function, feel free to visit my office (51-05-09B) or call me at 73-3767.

Courses Taught at Waseda University

At Faculty of Science and Engineering, Undergraduate School

  • Communication Strategies
  • Academic Lecture Comprehension
  • Academic Reading
  • Special Topics in Functional English: Cognitive Neuroscience --An Introduction Focusing on Human Language

Responsibilities at CELESE and Faculty of Science and Engineering

  • Academic Lecture Comprehension course sub-coordinator
  • Academic Reading course sub-coordinator

Research Activities and Outputs


  • Wang, Y., Luo, Y., Momma, S., Sakai, H.: Unconscious translation from Japanese kanji to Chinese hanzi by Chinese-Japanese Bilinguals: An ERP investigation, IEICE Technical Report 116(159), 71-76, 2016. 
  • Nakaishi, Y., Saji, N., Imai, M., Sakai, H.: An experimental investigation of how L2 learners of Japanese comprehend the meaning of mimetics, Studies in Language Sciences 14, 184-205, 2015. (Written in Japanese) 
  • Yin, S., Sato, M., Luo, Y., Igarashi, Y., Sakai, H.: Do Chinese L2 learners of Japanese incrementaly use prosodic cues in word recognition?: Eye-tracking evidence, Journal of the Phonetic Society of Japan 19(3), 1-12, 2015. (Written in Japanese)
  • Kubo, T., Ono, H., Koizumi, M., Sakai, H.: Mechanisms for VOS sentence production in Kaqchikel: Evidence from animacy effects on choice of word order, Cognitive Studies: Bulletin of the Japanese Cognitive Science Society 22(4), 591-603, 2015. (Written in Japanese))
  • Kahraman, B., Sakai, H.: Relative clause processing in Japanese: Psycholinguistic investigation into typological differences, In M. Nakayama (ed.), Handbook of Japanese Psycholinguistics, Berlin:De Gruyter, 423-456, 2015.
  • Hara, Y., Kim, Y-J., Tamura, S., Sakai, H.: Projections of events and propositions in Japanese: A case-study of koto-nominalized clauses in causal relations. Lingua: International Review of Grneral Linguistics, Vol. 133, 262-288, 2013. 
  • Sato, M., Sakai, H., Wu, J., Bergen, B.: Towards a cognitive science of literary style: Perspective-taking in processing   omniscient versus objective voice. Proceeding of the 34th Annual Conference of Cognitive Science Society, 959-964, 2012.
  • Deng, Y., Ono, H., Sakai, H.: How function assignment and word order are determined: Evidence form structural priming effects in Japanese sentence production. Proceedings of the 34th Annual Conference of Cognitive Science Society, 1488-1493, 2012.
  • Sakamoto, K, Saji, N, Imai, M, Sakai, H.: How Do Children Map Conceptual Representations to Verbs?: Case particles as Cues for Japanese Children. Japanese Institute of Electronics, Information and Communication Engineers Technical Report, 111:170, 43-48, 2011.
  • Kahraman, B, Sato, A, Ono, H, Sakai,H.:Why object clefts are easier to process than subject clefts in Japanese: Frequency or expectation? Japanese Institute of Electronics, Information and Communication Engineers Technical Report, 111:170, 67−72, 2011.
  • Sato, M, Bergen, K. B, Wu, J, Sakai, H. : Empathy in mental simulation-- Can we experience emotional events through another person’s eyes? -- Japanese Institute of Electronics, Information and Communication Engineers Technical Report, 111:170, 73-78, 2011.

Invited Talks/Oral Presentations

  • What do gaze-patterns tell us about the design of human language?: A sentence and gesture production study in Kaqchikel, Facultados de Psicologia Collocuium, Universidad Autonoma de Madrid (Madrid: Spain), March 13, 2017.
  • 実験語用論研究の展望:言語は文脈といつ・どのように結びつけられるのか,Prosody and Grammar Festa, 国立国語研究所(立川市),2017年2月18日.
  • 話者の視線を通して探る思考と言語の相関性ー日本語・スペイン語・カクチケル語における文産出実験を通してー,NINJALコロキアム,国立国語研究所(立川市),2016年7月5日.
  • 言語の認知神経科学(導入),ワークショップ「理論言語学と認知神経科学:言語理論はどうすれば脳科学実験によって確かめられるのか?」,日本言語学会第152会大会,慶應義塾大学(東京都),2016年6月26日.

Other Professional Activities/Community Contributions

  • MAPLL (Mental Architecture for Processing and Learning for Language) Organization Committee

Research Grants

  • 「語用論的推論に関する比較認知神経科学的研究」 October 1, 2016〜September 30, 2019  国立国語研究所 「新領域創出型」共同研究プロジェクト 研究代表者
  • 「脳はどのように文法を生み出すのか―東アジア言語比較認知神経科学からの探求―」 April 1, 2015~March 31, 2020  学術振興会科学研究費 基盤研究(A) 研究代表者
  • 「言語の多様性と認知神経システムの可変性―東アジア言語の比較を通した解明―」 April 1, 2011~March 31, 2015  学術振興会科学研究費 基盤研究(A) 研究代表者

Research Institute and Professional Associations

  • 会員 日本認知科学会 [Japanese Cognitive Science Society]
  • 会員 日本心理学会 [Japanese Psychology Society]
  • 評議員 学会誌編集委員 日本言語学会 [The Linguistic Society of Japan]
  • 評議員 日本英語学会 [The English Linguistic Society of Japan]