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Promoting participation and contribution to society


Theme Leader :
Yoshinori Fujiwara, M.D., Ph.D.
Researcher :
Hiroyuki Suzuki, Ph.D., Kumiko Nonaka, Ph.D., Ryota Sakurai, PT, PhD.
Adjunct Researcher :
Susumu Ogawa, Ph.D., Motoki Tanaka, Ph.D., Tomoya Takahashi, Ph.D., Sachiko Murayama, M.A., Hiroko Matsunaga, Ph.D., Ai Iizuka, MD, Toyo Ashida, Ph.D., Masami Hasebe, Ph.D., Hiroshi Murayama, Ph.D., R.N., P.H.N.


Social participation, Productivity, Intergenerational exchange, Multi-generational co-creation, Social isolation, Social capital

Major Research Titles

  1. 1.Elucidation of the social factors that promote and inhibit health and subjective well-being of the elderly.
  2. 2.Verification of the effect of social capital and intergenerational exchange towards a multigenerational society.
  3. 3.Development of social contribution programs to meet the diverse needs of the elderly.
  4. 4.Development of a multi-layered integrated community care system for the prevention of social isolation.


1. A nationwide longitudinal study has been conducted in collaboration with the University of Michigan, the University of Tokyo, and others since 1987, targeting the elderly across the country (random sampling). The 8th wave survey was conducted in 2012 in which a new sample aged 60-92 was added. We will continue to clarify the determinants and consequences of social participation in later life and how they change by cohort and age.
2. An intergenerational school volunteer project "REPRINTS" has been developed since 2004 to evaluate the long-term and multi-faceted effects of both organizational and individual volunteer levels. Furthermore, we conducted a randomized controlled trial to develop a cognitively stimulating program consisting in learning story-telling by applying components of "REPRINTS".
3. We launched an observational study "ESSENCE" to demonstrate the effects of a comprehensive employment support project "Active Senior Employment Support Center" for the elderly's purpose in life. This project keeps track of employment status and the relevant factors of its users.
4. From 2008, the following three studies have been conducted in order to present the multilayered preventive measures of social isolation of community-dwelling elderly.
(1) Longitudinal researches have been conducted to examine the relationship between social isolation and social capital of the elderly living in Wako city, Saitama and Ota city, Tokyo.
(2) We launched 3 intervention programs that aims at creating multigenerational mutual support networks, in Kita city of northern Tokyo and Kawasaki city, a suburb of Tokyo; 1) the Greeting Campaign to develop weak ties among neighbors from different generations, 2) intergenerational exchange programs to develop strong ties among neighbors from different generations, 3) the web-based multi-generational mutual support system to facilitate exchanges of instrumental supports among neighbors. These programs are developed and managed in cooperation with the community council, which is consisted of stakeholders of the communities.
(3) People with Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI) tend to be socially isolated. To screen MCI, we developed a Japanese version of the Montreal Cognitive Assessment (MoCA-J) (http://www.mocatest.org/) . While it is used in clinical practice, we are considering the possibility for regional application.


  1. 1. Sakurai R,Suzuki H,Fujiwara Y,Yasunaga M,Takeuchi R,Murayama Y,Kobayashi K,Kanosue K,Ishii K: Neural basis for the relationship between frequency of going outdoors and depressive mood in older adults. International Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry,In press.
  2. 2. Sakurai R, Montero-Odasso M. Apolipoprotein E4 Allele and Gait Performance in Mild Cognitive Impairment: Results From the Gait and Brain Study. J Gerontol A Biol Sci Med Sci. 2017 May 6. doi: 10.1093/gerona/glx075.
  3. 3. Fujiwara Y,Nishi M,Fukaya T,Hasebe M,Nonaka K,Koike T,Suzuki H,Murayama Y,Saito M,Kobayashi E: Synergistic or independent impacts of low frequency of going outside the home and social isolation on functional decline: A 4-year prospective study of urban Japanese older adults. Geriatrics & Gerontology International,In press.
  4. 4. Sakurai R,Fujiwara Y,Yasunaga M,Suzuki H,Sakuma N,Imanaka K,Montero-Odasso M: Older adults with fear of falling show deficits in motor imagery of gait. The Journal of Nutrition Health and Aging, 2017;21(6):721-726.
  5. 5. Yasunaga M,Murayama Y,Takahashi T,Ohba H,Suzuki H,Nonaka K,Kuraoka M,Sakurai R,Nishi M,Sakuma N,Kobayashi E,Shinkai S,Fujiwara Y: The multiple impacts of an intergenerational program in Japan: Evidence from the REPRINTS Project. Geriatrics Gerontology International 2016,16 (Suppl 1):98-109.
  6. 6. Sakurai R,Kawai H,Yoshida H,Fukaya T,Suzuki H,Kim H,Hirano H,Ihara K,Obuchi SCFujiwara Y: Can you ride a bicycle? The ability to ride a bicycle prevents reduced social function in older adults with mobility limitation. Journal of Epidemiology,2016C26: 307-14.
  7. 7. Sakurai R,Yasunaga M,Murayama Y,Ohba H,Nonaka K,Suzuki H,Sakuma N,Nishi M,Uchida H,Shinkai S,Rebok G,Fujiwara Y: Long-term effects of an intergenerational program on functional capacity in older adults: results from a seven-year follow-up of the REPRINTS study. Archives of Gerontology and Geriatrics,2016,64: 13-20.
  8. 8. Sakurai R,Fujiwara Y,Yasunaga M,Suzuki H,Murayama Y,Imanaka K,Kanosue K,Ishii K: Neural correlates of older adults'self-overestimation of stepping-over ability. AGEC2016 ;38(4):351-361.
  9. 9. Sakurai R,Fujiwara Y,Ishihara M,Yasunaga M,Ogawa S,Suzuki H,Imanaka K: Self-estimation of physical ability in stepping over an obstacle is not mediated by visual height perception: a comparison between young and older adults. Psychological ResearchCPsychol Res. 2016 Jun 11.
  10. 10. Minami U, Suzuki H, Kuraoka M, Koike T, Kobayashi E, Fujiwara Y: Older Adults Looking for a Job through Employment Support System in Tokyo. PLoS One, 2016, 21;11(7), e0159713, 2016.Jul 21
  11. 11. Fujiwara Y, Shinkai S, Kobayashi E, Minami U, Suzuki H, Yoshida H, Ishizaki T, Kumagai S, Watanabe S, Furuna T, Suzuki T: Engagement in paid work as a protective predictor of BADL disability in Japanese urban and rural community-dwelling elderly residents: An 8-year prospective studyC2016, 16(1):126-134Cdoi: 10.1111/ggi.12441.
  12. 12. Suzuki H, Kawai H, Hirano H, Yoshida H, Ihara K, Kim H, Chaves P, Minami U, Yasunaga M, Obuchi S, Fujiwara Y: One-year change in Montreal Cognitive Assessment performance and related predictors in community-dwelling older adults. J Am Geriatr Soc. 2015, 63(9):1874-1879
  13. 13. Minami U, Nishi M, Fukaya T, Hasebe M, Nonaka K, Koike T, Suzuki H, Murayama Y, Uchida H, Fujiwara Y. Effects of the Change in Working Status on the Health of Older People in Japan. PLOSONE, 2015 Dec 3;10(12)
  14. 14. Kobayashi E, Liang J, Sugawara I, Fukaya T, Shinkai S, Akiyama H : Associations between social networks and life satisfaction among older Japanese: Does birth cohort make a difference? Psychology and Aging, 2015, 30(4), 952-966.
  15. 15. Suzuki H, Kuraoka M, Yasunaga M, Nonaka K, Sakurai R, Takeuchi R, Murayama Y, Fujiwara Y : Cognitive intervention through a training program for picture-book reading in community-dwelling older adults: a randomized controlled trial. BMC Geriatrics, 2014.Nov, 14(122), doi:10.1186/1471-2318-14-122
  16. 16. Sakurai R, Fujiwara Y, Yasunaga M, Takeuchi R, Murayama Y, Ohba H, Sakuma N, Suzuki H, Oda K, Sakata M, Toyohara J, Ishiwata K, Shinkai S Ishii K.: Regional Cerebral Glucose Metabolism and Gait Speed in Healthy Community-Dwelling Older Women..J Gerontol A Biol Sci Med Sci., First published online July 14, 2014
  17. 17. Murayama Y, Ohba H, Yasunaga M, Nonaka K, Takeuchi R, Nishi M, Sakuma N, Uchida H, Shinkai S, Fujiwara Y: The effect of intergenerational programs on the mental health of elderly adults. Aging & Mental Health,2014, 18, 1-9.
  18. 18. Sakurai R, Fujiwara Y, Sakuma N, Suzuki H, Ishihara M, Higuchi T, Imanaka K: Influential factors affecting age-related self-overestimation of step-over ability: Focusing on frequency of going outdoors and executive function. Arch Gerontol Geriatr., 2014,59(3), 577-583.