How can one word convey more than its meaning, or can it not? I have been astonished that we can sometimes sense an atmosphere just from the words uttered by others, even though it is ephemeral. My motives in research is to better understand the cognitive processes in which we humans use language to develop interpersonal relations, whether consciously or unconsiously.  
I have been fortunate to work with several distinguished and dedicated scientists and students to undertake collaborative experimental studies in search of answers. Our current projects include (1) East Asian sentence-final particles (SFPs) that, just on its one letter or mora (i.e., phonological unit that determines syllable weight in Japanese) with no substantial meanings,  arouse pleasant and unpleasant feelings in the addressees, as well as (2) Japanese Haiku, the shortest form of poetry in the world, with which poets pursue beauty by elaborate expressions so that they convey various emotions beyond the given literal meaning within the fixed form of 17 morae. 



(1) East Asian Sentence-Final Particle (SFP) / 東アジア言語の文末詞(終助詞)
Sentence-final particles (SFPs) have no obvious effect on the truth condition of a sentence, but encompass a diverse range of usages to arouse different emotions. I am exploring how native Japanese speakers use SFPs (e.g., -ne and -yo) to modulate interpersonal distance with the others, utilizing neuroimaging techniques such as EEG and MRI (e.g., Kiyama, Verdonschot, Xiong, & Tamaoka, 2018). My long-term goal is to provide cross-linguistic insights into how SFPs play roles in face-to-face communication among speakers of East-Asian Languages, with particular focus on its individual differences and developmental changes. I am using some auditory materials for my SFP experiments as the following example:
文末詞(終助詞)は、それ自体文の真偽状態を左右するものではありませんが、様々な用法で感情を伝えます。日本語母語話者が人とやりとりをする際に、「ね」や「よ」などの文末詞を使ってどのように相手との心的距離を調節しているかを、MRIや脳波などの脳機能イメージング手法を援用して調べています(例えば Kiyama, Verdonschot, Xiong, & Tamaoka, 2018)。長期的には、終助詞が東アジア言語話者の対面コミュニケーションに果たす役割を、その個人差や発達的変化とあわせて、通言語的に明らかにしたいと考えています。実験には、以下のような音声刺激を使っています。 

Orientation First turn Second turn
-ne Addressee 今度佐藤さんたちと温泉に行くんだ。

Kondo Satou-san-tati-to 
soon   Mr. Satou-others-COM 

onsen-ni iku-n-da.

‘(I)’m going to the spa with
Mr. Satou and others soon.’

Hontooni onsen-ga  
really      spa-NOM

suki-da-ne (-yo).

‘(You) really like the spa.’

 -yo  Addresser もうお昼ご飯食べた?

Moo      ohirugohan
already lunch


‘Did (you) already eat lunch?’

Kinjo-de      udon
nearby-LOC noodle

tabe-ta-yo (-ne).

‘(I) ate noodle nearby.’

 Notes:The abbreviations represent the followings. COM [Commitative case marker], DAT [Dative case marker], NMLZ [Nominalizer], COP [Copula], NOM [Nominative case marker], SFP [Sentence-final particle], PST [Past], LOC [Locative case marker]. Atypical marker is between parentheses.
 The previous turn of the addressee-oriented utterance  相手志向発話を作る先行発話: Sound file
 The addressee-oriented utterance ending with -ne 終助詞「ね」で終わる相手志向発話: Sound file
Kiyama, S., Verdonschot, R., Xiong, K., & Tamaoka, K. (2018). Individual mentalizing ability boosts flexibility toward a linguistic marker of social distance: An ERP investigation. Journal of Neurolinguistics, 47, 1-15.
(2) Haiku, the shortest form of poetry in the world / 俳句ー世界最短の定型詩ー
Haiku, which requires the inclusion of a kigo (season word), is composed based on an understanding of the richness of natural and cultural heritage of Japan, and entails peculiar humor or Haimi (taste of Haiku) thanks to some things that are better left unsaid. Composers and readers of Haiku enjoy the imaginative thoughts and feelings implied by the refined linguistic expressions via the traditional five-seven-five morae rhythm of Japanese folk song.
Our team, which includes cognitive neuroscientists and poets, is working together to obtain neural evidence for how Haiku enhances our quality of life, by examining the process of musical cognition of language that people undergo while they enjoy Haiku. In a day when cherry-blossom trees were in full bloom, we held a meeting to compose Haiku at the Tohoku University Botanical Garden, where students and citizens of Sendai shared the joy of creative activity. There, we collected and evaluated fantastic novel Haiku pieces, with which we are conducting neurolinguistic experiments utilizing fMRI and eye-tracker.  
A selection of my mediocre Haiku / 私の迷句選
     For soon-to-be-graduates in the early spring
Ryuu ten ni  wakaki ra tomo ni  noboru kana
The dragon and the young rise far away together in the sky.
      At campus woods during the rainy season
 Ao-gaeru kuroi hitomi ni utsuru ame
 It's raining in black eyes of green frogs.
  In the early summer, after the struggle of a Ph.D. candidate
 Kunpuu ya  hakase-ronbun mekuri-somu
 The aestival winds begin to turn over leaves of a dissertation.
  Exploring the Haiku Master in the eye in midsummer
  Dookoo o hirogeru kaku no kire suzushi
  The caesura of fine Haikenlarges the pupils. It's cool!
        In honor of our esteemed professors leaving our school
    Shi no fumi no iro utsuroishi haru-hikage
    The color of Professor's books has faded in the spring sunlight.
    Roorooto saishuu-koogi kan-akuru
    How sonorously the last lecture is delivered in the beginning of spring!
  In memory of semana santa in Antigua
    Guatemala no hana no juutan fukkatsusai
    In Guatemala, easter carpets composed of flowers!
  At the beginning of autumn on our Kawauchi Campus full of rustic charm
    Kyanpasu ni hyakki-yagyo ya shishi no ato
    Night parade of one hundred demons! Taces of wild boar on the campus
       New year, on the day my students submitted their dissertations
      Shukki mitsu, wakaki hakase-ra naran to shi
      Filled with the graceful atmosphere, the young are soon to be doctors
  Our paper on pupil responses to haiku has been published
       Ku no kire-ya dookoo hiraku haru-hikage
       In the spring sunshine, pupils dilate by the break of a fine haiku