LOPEZ, Mario Ivan

Position: Associate Professor

MAIL: marioivanlopez [at] cseas.kyoto-u.ac.jp

Research Department

Global Humanosphere Studies


Cultural Anthropology, Southeast Asian Studies, Migration Studies, Indicators Research

Research Interests

Humanosphere Potentiality Index Research
Transnational Migration and Care in Super-aging societies

Humanosphere Potentiality Index Research
Since 2007, researchers at CSEAS and other Japanese universities have worked on developing the Humanosphere Potentiality Index (HPI). The index addresses the co-existence of environmental sustainability and the welfare of human beings, based on an analytical framework named the humanosphere and demonstrates the significance of tropical countries for global sustainability. This led to the development of a publicly accessible online database. At present, I work with a group of researchers based in Kyoto university and other Japanese universities, through a scaling down analysis to focus on Monsoon Asia. It is hoped that this will produce a detailed comparative empirical study through a focus on India, the Philippines, Japan and Ethiopia. This research will offer a deeper breakdown of environmental sustainability within nations and present a richer and more dynamic approach to employ across others.

Transnational Migration and Care in Super-aging societies
I have continued to work on a project examing the transnational flow of nurses and care workers from the Asia Pacific region to others in response to the demand for care workers and nurses in and for rapidly aging societies. I have worked on a comparative project comparing regional nursing systems as part of an effort to provide a policy response to reformulating the Japanese government’s current mechanism for accepting nurses and care givers from Southeast Asia. This has worked toward offering policy suggestions to Japanese ministries involved in managing care-workers and nurses accepted from the Philippines, Indonesia and other nations. In order to provide examples for creating a more flexible inter-regional “win-win” scheme in managing the flows of skilled labor, I have focused on Europe’s infrastructure for circulating skilled migrant labor on three levels. 1. On countries which are E.U. members and allow for the free movement of labor. 2. On countries which are in the E.U. but place restrictions depending on the political and market needs for skilled labor. 3. On countries which are outside of the E.U. but free to accept and send skilled labor both within the region and accept from outside of it.

Ultimately, based on observations of the regulatory mechanisms in place in the E.U., along with other research members, I hope to provide specific suggestions for the consideration of an ASEAN + Japan mechanism; one that can flexibly respond to the labor market’s needs for highly skilled health care personnel attuned to the current political and social conditions of Japan and the sending and receiving nations.



  • Shinsuke Tomita, Mario Ivan Lopez, and Yasuyuki Kono. 2018. The Role of Small-Scale Farming in Familial Care: Reducing Work Risks Stemming from the Market Economy in Northeast Thailand. International Journal of Social Quality. 8(1): 88–109.
  • Mario Ivan Lopez, Jafar Suroyomenggolo. (2018). Introduction: Environmental Resources Use and Challenges in Contemporary Southeast Asia (pp 1-18). In Environmental Resources Use and Challenges in Contemporary Southeast Asia: Tropical Ecosystems in Transition. 255 pp. Asia in Transition Series: Springer Academic.



  • Translation. Shimizu, Hiromu. 2017. Reflections on the “Anthropology of Response-ability” through Engagement: A Long and Winding Road from Fieldwork to Ethnography, Commitment and Beyond. 11th JASCA Award Lecture 2016. Japanese Review of Cultural Anthropology. 18(1):6-36.
  • Lopez, Mario. 2017. The Visual Documentary Project. IIAS Newsletter, No. 77:41.



  • Takahiro Sato, Mario López, Taizo Wada, Shiro Sato, Makoto Nishi, and Kazuo Watanabe. 2016.
    Humanosphere Potentiality Index Appraising Existing Indicators from a Long-term Perspective. International Journal of Social Quality 6(1): 32-66.
  • Translation. Hamamoto, Mitsuru. 2016. Lethal Narratives and Anthropological Knowledge; Circulation of Narratives around the Death of a Promising Kenyan Youth. 2015 10th JASCA Award Lecture. 2015. Japanese Review of Cultural Anthropology. 17(1):3-27.



  • Mario Lopez, Ohno Shun. 2015. Acceptance of Migrant Nurses in Germany: Examining the “Triple Win Project” In Nursing in Japan and Asia: The Experience of Sending and Receiving Countries of Nurses through the Economic Partnership Agreements. Psyche & Culture. Vol 14(2): 123-131.




  • Visual Documentary Project  https://vdp.cseas.kyoto-u.ac.jp/en/

    The Visual Documentary Project (VDP)was set up in 2012 to make use of visual forms of expression and documentaries to complement academic literature on Southeast Asian societies, promote the richness of cultures in the region and build bridges between academia and documentary filmmakers. Since 2012, it has featured documentaries from and by Southeast Asian filmmakers on contemporary issues in the region, such as urban life, politics and everyday life, human flows, people and nature, and care and aging and urban life. Since 2014, the Japan Foundation Asian Center has been a partner in organizing this event.

  • Interview: Kyoto University ASEAN Center
  • Interview: Dr. Mario Ivan Lopez introduces the 2014 Visual Documentary Project “People and Nature in Southeast Asia” (Kyoto University)
  • Interview: 2018. Searching for Southeast Asia’s Future from the perspective of Anthropology. Kurenai 33: 9-12. (in Japanese)