TSUTOMU SAWAI

Last Updated :2024/04/04

Affiliations, Positions
Graduate School of Humanities and Social Sciences, Professor (Special Recognition)
Web Site
E-mail
tstmswhiroshima-u.ac.jp
Self-introduction
My current research interests lie primarily in issues concerning new and emerging technologies in practical ethics, particularly topics pertaining to synthetic embryology, in vitro gametogenesis and organogenesis, human-animal chimera research, genome/epigenome editing, artificial intelligence. Additionally, I am deeply invested in the methodology known as "empirical bioethics," which harmonizes theoretical and practical aspects to derive normative conclusions for real-world bioethical dilemmas. In the realm of bioethics, I am currently engaged in a comprehensive meta-analysis of various ethical debates, alongside analytical philosophical reflections on the aforementioned topics. As for empirical bioethics, I am in the process of developing an innovative methodology for bioethics research. This methodology is being applied to address a pressing issue in the field of practical ethics, with the aim of generating normative recommendations that are firmly rooted in research practice. My overarching goal is to establish ethical frameworks that can guide both research and clinical applications. Given the pressing nature of contemporary bioethical issues that are emerging globally, my work holds significant potential for advancing the field of bioethics both within Japan and on an international scale. Furthermore, it contributes to the resolution of real-world social and ethical problems that are emerging in tandem with advancements in biomedical research.

Basic Information

Major Professional Backgrounds

  • 2023/09, Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine, National University of Singapore, Centre for Biomedical Ethics (CBmE), Visiting Associate Professor
  • 2023/04, Doctoral Program for World-leading Innovative & Smart Education, Hiroshima University, The Frontier Development Program for Genome Editing, Program Faculty
  • 2023/04, Center for Collaborative Science, ELSI Unit, Unit Leader
  • 2022/04, 2024/03, Kyoto University, KUIAS Institute for the Advanced Study of Human Biology, Associate Inestigator
  • 2019/07, 2022/03, Kyoto University, KUIAS Institute for the Advanced Study of Human Biology, Assistant Professor
  • 2018/04, 2019/06, Center for iPS Cell Research and Application, Uehiro Research Division for iPS Cell Ethics, Assistant Professor
  • 2014/10, 2018/03, Center for iPS Cell Research and Application, Kyoto University, Uehiro Research Division for iPS Cell Ethics, Research Fellow

Educational Backgrounds

  • Kyoto University, Japan, 2010/04, 2016/09
  • Kyoto University, Japan, 2008/04, 2010/03

Academic Degrees

  • MA (Human and Environmental Studies), Kyoto University
  • PhD (Human and Environmental Studies), Kyoto University

Educational Activity

  • [Bachelor Degree Program] School of Integrated Arts and Sciences : Department of Integrated Arts and Sciences : Integrated Arts and Sciences
  • [Master's Program] Graduate School of Humanities and Social Sciences : Division of Humanities and Social Sciences : International Peace and Co-existence Program
  • [Master's Program] Graduate School of Humanities and Social Sciences : Division of Humanities and Social Sciences : Integrated Arts and Human Sciences Program
  • [Doctoral Program] Graduate School of Humanities and Social Sciences : Division of Humanities and Social Sciences : International Peace and Co-existence Program
  • [Doctoral Program] Graduate School of Humanities and Social Sciences : Division of Humanities and Social Sciences : Integrated Arts and Human Sciences Program

Research Fields

  • Humanities;Philosophy;Philosophy / Ethics
  • Humanities;Philosophy;Religious studies

Research Keywords

  • Ethics / Applied Ethics (Bioethics) / Ethical, Legal and Social Issues (ELSI) of life science and healthcare / Responsible Research and Innovation (RRI) / Philosophy of Disease / Ethics in Religion / Modern and Contemporary Japanese Philosophy and Ethics

Affiliated Academic Societies

  • The Japanese Society for Regenerative Medicine
  • The Japanese Association for Philosophical and Ethical Researches in Medicine
  • Japanese Association for Religious Studies
  • The Japanese Society for Ethics
  • Japan Association for Bioethics

Educational Activity

Course in Charge

  1. 2024, Liberal Arts Education Program1, 1Term, Communication IIA
  2. 2024, Liberal Arts Education Program1, 4Term,
  3. 2024, Liberal Arts Education Program1, 4Term, Ethics
  4. 2024, Liberal Arts Education Program1, 1Term, Ethics
  5. 2024, Undergraduate Education, 1Term, Bioethics
  6. 2024, Undergraduate Education, 1Term, Seminar in Applied Ethics
  7. 2024, Undergraduate Education, 4Term, Ethics, Killing and Violence I
  8. 2024, Undergraduate Education, 4Term, Ethics, Killing and Violence II
  9. 2024, Graduate Education (Master's Program) , 1Term, Science and Technology in Society
  10. 2024, Graduate Education (Master's Program) , 4Term, Practical Ethics

Research Activities

Academic Papers

  1. The ethical and legal challenges of human foetal brain tissue-derived organoids, EMBO reports, 20240304
  2. Stem cell-derived embryo models: Moral advance or moral obfuscation?, Journal of Medical Ethics, 20240301
  3. ★, The Donation of Human Biological Material for Brain Organoid Research: The Problems of Consciousness and Consent, Science and Engineering Ethics, 30(1), 20240205
  4. Beyond the personhood: An in-depth analysis of moral considerations in human brain organoid research, The American Journal of Bioethics, 24(1), 54-56, 20240118
  5. Is epigenome editing non-inheritable? Implications for ethics and the regulation of human applications, Stem Cell Reports, 23(14), 00405-00408, 20231102
  6. Animus: Human-Embodied Animals, Journal of Medical Ethics, 1-4, 20231006
  7. ★, The Ethics of Human Brain Organoid Transplantation in Animals, Neuroethics, 16(3), 1-15, 20231004
  8. The technology, opportunities and challenges of synthetic biological intelligence, Biotechnology Advances, 68, 108233-108233, 20230807
  9. Human Genome Editing in Clinical Applications: Japanese Lay and Expert Attitudes, Frontiers in Genetics, 14, 1205092-1205092, 20230817
  10. Are human brain organoids cloned human individuals? An ethical analysis, Molecular Psychology: Brain, Behavior, and Society, 2(18), 1-8, 20230718
  11. Should we really eat human-pig chimeras? A reply to Bobier, Food Ethics, 8(18), 1-5, 20230704
  12. Genome editing of human embryos for research purposes: Japanese lay and expert attitudes, Frontiers in Genetics, 14, 1205067-1205067, 20230622
  13. Global governance of human brain organoid research and applications: A role for the World Health Organization?, Molecular Psychology: Brain, Behavior, and Society, 2(11), 20230530
  14. What implications do a consciousness-independent perspective on moral status entail for future brain organoid research?, AJOB Neuroscience, 14(2), 163-165, 20230425
  15. A teleological approach to the ontological status of human cerebral organoids, AJOB Neuroscience, 14(2), 204-205, 20230425
  16. ★, The legal personhood of human brain organoids, Journal of Law and the Biosciences, 10(1), lsad007-lsad007, 20230403
  17. The importance of accurate representation toward the public engagement in human brain organoid research, Trends in Biotechnology, 23, S0167-7799, 20230322
  18. Personal ethical settings for driverless cars and the utility paradox: An ethical analysis of public attitudes in UK and Japan, PLOS ONE, 17(11), e0275812-e0275812, 20221115
  19. ★, The regulation of human blastoid research: A bioethical discussion of the limits of regulation, EMBO reports, e56045, 20220914
  20. Human Brain Organoids and Consciousness, Neuroethics, 15(1), 20220204
  21. Public attitudes in Japan toward the creation and use of gametes derived from human-induced pluripotent stem cells, Future Science OA, 7(10), FSO755, 20211023
  22. Public attitudes in Japan toward the reproductive use of gametes derived from human-induced pluripotent stem cells, Future Science OA, 7(10), FSO754, 20211023
  23. Promises and rules: The implications of rethinking the 14-day rule for research on human embryos, EMBO reports, 22(9), e53726, 20210906
  24. ★, Mapping the Ethical Issues of Brain Organoid Research and Application, AJOB Neuroscience, 13(2), 1-14, 20210326
  25. The American Public Is Ready to Accept Human-Animal Chimera Research., Stem cell reports, 15(4), 804-810, 20200914
  26. Ethical Framework for Next-Generation Genome and Epigenome Editing, The American Journal of Bioethics, 20(8), 32-36, 20200802
  27. ★, The moral status of human embryo-like structures: potentiality matters?, EMBO reports, 21(8), e50984, 20200727
  28. Japan Significantly Relaxes Its Human-Animal Chimeric Embryo Research Regulations., Cell stem cell, 24(4), 513-514, 20190404
  29. The Japanese Generally Accept Human-Animal Chimeric Embryo Research but Are Concerned About Human Cells Contributing to Brain and Gametes., Stem cells translational medicine, 6(8), 1749-1750, 201708
  30. Public attitudes in Japan towards human-animal chimeric embryo research using human induced pluripotent stem cells., Regenerative medicine, 12(3), 233-248, 201704
  31. Risk of Tumorigenesis and Patient Hope, AJOB Neuroscience, 6(1), 69-70, 201502
  32. The moral value of induced pluripotent stem cells: a Japanese bioethics perspective on human embryo research., Journal of medical ethics, 40(11), 766-9, 201411
  33. Ishida Baigan's Views of Life and Death : His Experiences of Apprehension and His Self-Consciousness as a Confucian, Journal of religious studies, 87(3), 549-571, 2013
  34. "Habits of the heart" in Sekimon-Shingaku: with special focus on Ishida Baigan's experience of "self-awakening" and his thought, Forum on history of education, 25-41, 201103

Publications such as books

  1. 2024/03/05, Developments in Neuroethics and Bioethics, Moral dimensions of synthetic biological intelligence: Unravelling the ethics of neural integration, Academic Press, 2024, 3, Scholarly Book, Joint work, eng, Masanori Kataoka, Christopher Gyngell, Julian Savulescu, Tsutomu Sawai
  2. 2021/09, To What Extent Can We Manipulate Life: Lecture on Applied Ethics, Keio University Press, 2021, 202109, Scholarly Book, Single work, 日本語, Tsutomu Sawai, 978-4766427684
  3. 2017/10, Intersection of the Wisdom of Science and Humanities: Thinking about Ethical Issues of iPS Cell Research, Intersection of the Wisdom of Science and Humanities: Thinking about Ethical Issues of iPS Cell Research, Kobundo, 2017, 201710, Scholarly Book, Joint work, jpn, Sawai Tsutomu, 9784335750175, 368, 119-146
  4. 2017/03, Ethics of Human Induced Pluripotent Stem Cell Research, Ethics of Human Induced Pluripotent Stem Cell Research, Kyoto University Press, 2017, 3, Scholarly Book, Single work, jpn, Sawai Tsutomu, 4814000774, 245

Invited Lecture, Oral Presentation, Poster Presentation

  1. Ethics of New and Emering Technologies, Tsutomu Sawai, Faculty of Humanities Course "Ethics of globalization and human rights", 2024/02/20, With Invitation, English, Universidade da Coruña, Conference Hall (Salón de Actos), School of Humanities, Universidade da Coruña
  2. Kitaro Nishida's Philosophy and Bioethics, Tsutomu Sawai, XVII International Congress of Philosophy on the Way of Santiago, 2023/11/17, Without Invitation, English, Universidade de Santiago de Compostela, Santiago de Compostela, Spain
  3. Unraveling the Ethical Complexities of Human Brain Organoid Transplantation in Animals, Tsutomu Sawai, The Uehiro-Oxford-Melbourne-Japan Conference, 2023/10/14, With Invitation, English, Dr Christopher Gyngell, Tokyo
  4. Human Brain Organoid Research: An Ethical Analysis of Public Attitudes in Japan, Tsutomu Sawai, Mayu Koike, Masanori Kataoka, SPT 2023: The 23rd Biennial Conference in Tokyo, 2023/06/07, Without Invitation, English
  5. Human Brain Organoid Transplantation in Animals: An Ethical Analysis of Public Attitudes in Japan, Masanori Kataoka, Mayu Koike, Tsutomu Sawai, SPT 2023: The 23rd Biennial Conference in Tokyo, 2023/06/07, Without Invitation, English
  6. The Ethics of Heritable Genome Editing: Overview, Tsutomu Sawai, International Workshop (Ethics and Regulations of Heritable Genome Editing), 2022/12/05, Without Invitation, English
  7. ELSI overview, Tsutomu Sawai, International Bioethics Symposium (Ethical, Legal, and Social issues of Human Brain Organoid Research and Application), 2022/12/02, Without Invitation, English
  8. Public Attitudes Toward Human Brain Organoid Research: Current Status and Prospects for Empirical Studies, Masanori Kataoka, Tsutomu Sawai, 2022 Annual Meeting of Japan Association for Bioethics, 2022/11/20, Without Invitation, Japanese
  9. Mapping the Social Issues of Human Brain Organoid Research and Application, Tsutomu Sawai, Masanori Kataoka, CiRA 2022 International Symposium, 2022/02/17, Without Invitation, English
  10. The Ethics of Human Brain Organoid Research, Tsutomu Sawai, IMS Seminar, 2023/07/18, With Invitation, English, RIKEN Center for Integrative Medical Sciences
  11. The Ethics of Human Epigenome Editing, Tsutomu Sawai, 2023 Uehiro-Carnegie-Oxford Ethics Conference (Ethics of Cell and Gene Therapy), 2023/06/30, With Invitation, English, Singapore
  12. The Moral Significance of Consciousness in Human Brain Organoid Research, Tsutomu Sawai, ICC Workshop on the Moral Significance of Consciousness in Japan: Religious, Cultural, and Clinical Contexts, 2023/05/20, With Invitation, English, Organized and chaired by Edward Drott (FLA/ICC) and Laura Specker-Sullivan (Fordham University/ICC Visiting Fellow), Sohpia University
  13. The Ethics of Human Brain Organoid Research, Tsutomu Sawai, PMC Fall 2022 Colloquia, 2023/01/13, With Invitation, English, The Institute of Philosophy of Mind and Cognition, National Yang Ming Chiao Tung University
  14. Bioethics in the Advancement of Science and Technology: Present and Future, SAWAI Tsutomu, Online Seminar, The Legal Training and Research Institute of Japan, 2022/12/26, With Invitation, Japanese, The Legal Training and Research Institute of Japan
  15. Bioethics in Mathematics, SAWAI Tsutomu, The 2nd ASHBi workshop for Mathematical Human Biology, 2022/11/18, With Invitation, English, Institute for the Advanced Study of Human Biology, Kyoto University
  16. Ethical issues in brain organoid research, SAWAI Tsutomu, Public Symposium "Ethical Issues in Neuroscience", 2022/08/27, With Invitation, Japanese, Science Council of Japan
  17. Ethical Issues raised by Genome Editing Technologies, SAWAI Tsutomu, The 7th Annual Meeting of the Japanese Society for Genome Editing, 2022/06/07, With Invitation, Japanese
  18. Ethics of ectogenesis, SAWAI Tsutomu, RIKEN Innovation Design Office Forum, 2019/07/22, With Invitation, Japanese, RIKEN Innovation Design Office, Japan
  19. Japanese perspectives on human germline genome editing, SAWAI Tsutomu, International Dialogue on Bioethics and Ethics in Science and Technologies (IDBEST), 2019/10/16, With Invitation, English, European Commission, Brussels, Belgium
  20. Ethics and regulations of human-animal chimera research, SAWAI Tsutomu, Open Round Table on Gene Editing, 2019/10/26, With Invitation, English, European Commission, Brussels, Belgium
  21. Public survey in Japan on human genome editing for clinical purposes, SAWAI Tsutomu; AKATSUKA Kyoko; HATTA Taichi; FUJITA Misao, ISSCR 2019 Conference, 2019/06/27, Without Invitation, English, ISSCR (International Society for Stem Cell Research), USA
  22. Public attitudes in the United States towards human-animal chimeric embryo research using human induced pluripotent stem cells to generate human organs for transplantation, Low, W.; Shen, F.; Brown, J.; Ruiz-Estevez, M.; Voth, J.; Sawai, T.; Hatta, T.; Fujita, M.; and Crane, A., ISSCR 2019 Conference, 2019/06/28, Without Invitation, English, ISSCR (International Society for Stem Cell Research), USA
  23. Public survey in Japan on human genome editing for research purposes, AKATSUKA Kyoko; SAWAI Tsutomu; HATTA Taichi; FUJITA Misao, ISSCR 2019 Conference, 2019/06/27, Without Invitation, English, ISSCR (International Society for Stem Cell Research), USA
  24. Attitudes toward the creation and use of human induced pluripotent stem cell-derived gametes: A survey of the general population in Japan, HATTA Taichi; SAWAI Tsutomu; FUJITA Misao, ISSCR 2017 Conference, 2017/06/15, Without Invitation, English, ISSCR (International Society for Stem Cell Research), USA
  25. Expectations and concerns regarding the creation and use of human induced pluripotent stem cell-derived gametes: A survey of the general population in Japan, SAWAI Tsutomu; HATTA Taichi; FUJITA Misao, ISSCR 2017 Conference, 2017/06/14, Without Invitation, English, ISSCR (International Society for Stem Cell Research), USA
  26. The ethics of human-animal chimera embryo research: A Japanese bioethical perspective, SAWAI Tsutomu, ASBH (American Society for Bioethics and Humanities) meeting 2016, 2016/10/06, Without Invitation, English, ASBH (American Society for Bioethics and Humanities), USA
  27. Acceptability of human-animal chimeric embryo research using human induced pluripotent stem cells: A survey among the public and researchers, HATTA Taichi; SAWAI Tsutomu; FUJITA Misao, ISSCR 2016 Conference, 2016/06/24, Without Invitation, English, ISSCR (International Society for Stem Cell Research), USA
  28. Humanized animals harboring human brain neurons and Germ Cells: A survey among the public and researchers, SAWAI Tsutomu; HATTA Taichi; FUJITA Misao, ISSCR 2016 Conference, 2016/06/22, Without Invitation, English, ISSCR (International Society for Stem Cell Research), USA
  29. Public and researcher attitudes towards human-animal chimeric embryo research using human induced pluripotent stem cells, SAWAI Tsutomu; HATTA Taichi; FUJITA Misao, IAB (International Association of Bioethics) 2016 Conference, 2016/06/16, Without Invitation, English, IAB (International Association of Bioethics), Edinburgh, UK
  30. The ethics of research on stem cell-derived gametes: A Japanese bioethical perspective, SAWAI Tsutomu; Akatsuka Kyoko; SULLIVAN SPECKER Laura, ASBH (American Society for Bioethics and Humanities) meeting 2015, 2015/10/22, Without Invitation, English, ASBH (American Society for Bioethics and Humanities), USA
  31. Confucian views of genetic enhancement, SAWAI Tsutomu, Kyoto-Bristol Workshop (The Ethics of Human Enhancement: Comparing the British and Japanese Debate), 2014/05/01, With Invitation, English, Kyoto University, Japan
  32. Ecological ethics for a sustainable world: A comparison of 'Civil Religions' in America and Japan, SAWAI Tsutomu, The Tenth East-West Philosophers' Conference, 2011/05/19, Without Invitation, English, University of Hawaii, Manoa, USA
  33. 'Habits of the Heart' in Sekimon-Shingaku: Ishida Baigan's religious experience, SAWAI Tsutomu, The 20th World Congress of International Association for the Study of History of Religion, 2010/08/19, Without Invitation, English, University of Toronto, Canada
  34. Difference of values and value of differences: A reconsideration of Bellah's 'Civil Religion', SAWAI Tsutomu, 2010 Uehiro Cross-Currents Philosophy Conference, 2010/03/19, Without Invitation, English, University of Hawaii, Manoa, USA

Awards

  1. 2020/01, The Second CiRA Encouragement Award, Center for iPS Cell Research and Application, Kyoto University
  2. 2016/07, Outstanding Poster Award, CiRA Retreat 2016, Center for iPS Cell Research and Application, Kyoto University

External Funds

Acceptance Results of Competitive Funds

  1. Research Grant, Research on ethical issues related to human development research, 2023/04/01, 2024/03/31
  2. The 54th Kurata Grants (Promotion of Academic Research, Science and Technology), Reconsideration of the concept of intractable diseases in modern societies with developing science and technology, 2023/03/01, 2024/02/29
  3. JST RISTEX, Responsible Innovation with Conscience and Agility, Experimental ELSI Research Toward the Future of Brain Modifications, 2022/10/01, 2026/03/31
  4. KAKENHI Grant-in-Aid for Young Scientists, 2021/04/01, 2024/03/31
  5. AMED Brain Mechanisms and Integrated Technologies for Mental Health and Disease Studies (Brain/MINDS Health and Diseases), National Research Program for Neurological Disorders and Mental Health, Research for Ethical, Legal, and Social Implications (ELSI) of Human Brain Organoid Research, 2021/07, 2024/03
  6. The Mitsubishi Foundation, Research Grants in the Humanities, Research on ethical issues associated with human brain organoid research, 2022/04, 2023/03
  7. KAKENHI Grant-in-Aid for Young Scientists (B), 2017/04/01, 2020/03/31
  8. KAKENHI Grants-in-Aid for Scientific Research Grant-in-Aid for Scientific Research (A), A study on ethical, legal and social issues of stem cell medicine, 2014/04/01, 2017/03/31

Social Activities

History as Committee Members

  1. Member, 2023/11, Asian Bioethics Network (ABN), Bioethics Advisory Committee (BAC) Singapore
  2. Council Member, 2023/10, 2026/10, The Japanese Association for Philosophical and Ethical Researches in Medicine

Organizing Academic Conferences, etc.

  1. International Workshop: Ethics and Regulations of Heritable Genome Editing, 2022/12, 2022/12
  2. International Bioethics Symposium "Ethical, Legal, and Social issues of Human Brain Organoid Research and Application", 2022/12, 2022/12
  3. ASHBi Bioethics-Biology Fusion Workshop (Ethics of Early Developmental Research), 2021/11, 2021/11

History as Peer Reviews of Academic Papers

  1. 2023, Journal of Medical Ethics, Others, Reviewer, 2
  2. 2023, Oxford Open Neuroscience, Others, Reviewer, 2
  3. 2023, Molecular Psychology: Brain, Behavior, and Society, Others, Reviewer, 3
  4. 2022, Science and Engineering Ethics, Others, Reviewer, 1
  5. 2022, Journal of Applied Ethics and Philosophy, Others, Reviewer, 1
  6. 2022, NeuroSci, Others, Reviewer, 1
  7. 2022, Gene and Genome Editing, Others, Reviewer, 1
  8. 2021, Journal of Medical Ethics, Others, Reviewer, 1
  9. 2021, Cell Regeneration, Others, Reviewer, 1
  10. 2021, Neuroethics, Others, Reviewer, 1
  11. 2020, BMC Medical Ethics, Others, Reviewer, 1
  12. 2020, Journal of molecular medicine, Others, Reviewer, 1