Supports for Desert Culture research efforts of Motoko Katakura Foundation

motoko katakura

Supports for Desert Culture research efforts of Motoko Katakura Foundation

  • 06 April 2017
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Within the framework of Saudi Aramco’s Corporate Social Responsibility Program (CSR), Aramco Asia Japan has partnered with Motoko Katakura Foundation for Desert Culture (MOKO-FDC) to promote research and study of desert culture and introduce desert arts & culture through lectures, exhibitions and symposia through the donation agreement signed between the two parties on Dec.18, 2014.

Leveraging the agreement, a delegation of MOKO-FDC recently visited the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia where they were received by a team representing King Abdulaziz Center for World Culture, a great example of Saudi Aramco’s corporate vision to create a thriving knowledge society in the Kingdom and the world at large. Scheduled to open in 2016, the center is designed to become the hub for knowledge, innovation, and artistic creativity as well as a cross-cultural window between the Kingdom and the World. Both teams have exchanged views and ideas for future collaboration programs to cultivate the understanding of Saudi Culture particularly in the area of desert cultural heritage. The MOKO-FDC’s delegation also visited Saudi Aramco’s technical information center where historical materials are being archived.

The visit to Wadi Fatima, located near the city of Jeddah, gave them a fresh look and feel to re-evaluate the research by late Prof. Motoko Katakura on desert culture in the Kingdom. Prof. Motoko Katakura, a female cultural anthropologist, had carried out the research there, nearly a half century ago. The Foundation is planning several missions to the Kingdom to reconsider her research from the perspective of fifty years interval.

The MOKO-FDC was founded in November 2013 on the will of late Prof. Motoko Katakura, who had pioneered researches in the Middle East and the Islamic world. Her research included more than decade-long fieldwork at Wadi Fatima which offered enormous insights on the culture of the Middle East, such as indigenous Arab culture including their unique sense of values built up by the nomadic life.

Although the scenery of Wadi Fatima had changed a lot, the delegation confirmed what Prof. Motoko Katakura disclosed in her research was still alive. They were able to find the actual sites intact and to actually meet her old acquaintance from some 40 years ago at sites where late Prof. Katakura conducted her studies since the early 1970s.

For more information on Motoko Katakura Foundation for Desert Culture at:

Motoko Katakura was a Japanese anthropologist specialized in Islamic and multi-culture of desert.
Katakura’s main field of study was focused on the Islamic world including bedouin, and multicultural studies. In the late 1960s, she visited bedouin camps in Saudi Arabia for her first field research in Islamic culture, while the Katakuras lived there. Abdur-Rahim Al Aḥmadī was the best supporter for Katakura’s fieldwork in Saudi Arabia since the early stage of her research in the late 1960s. He witnessed that Katakura went into the nomad society of Wadi Fatima (western Saudi Arabia) and lived among those people for a period, and she visited them several times over the years. Katakura proceeded on-site research while winning the trust and affection of those people, observing the cultural heritage of their society. Working as a lecturer at her alma mater Tsuda College between 1973 and ’74, she obtained PhD. of Geology at Graduate School of University of Tokyo, faculty of Science in 1974. Promoted as an associate professor, she continued working at Tsuda College, and her hard work and tenacity on research and field work were rewarded when she published the survey results in her first book under the title of “Bedouin Village” in 1977. She appreciated the contribution and support Abdur-Rahim Al Ahmadi had offered her and asked him writing the preface to the Arabic version of that title.

Motoko Katakura Foundation for Desert Culture

Motoko Katakura Foundation for Desert Culture


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