Akifumi Iwabuchi is a Professor of Maritime Anthropology and Nautical Archaeology at Tokyo University of Marine Science and Technology, which is an institution of the UNESCO Underwater Archaeology Unitwin Network. He received his BA in Archaeology from Waseda University in 1983, his MA in Sociology from the University of Tokyo in 1985, and his DPhil in Social Anthropology from the University of Oxford in 1990. He is the ICOMOS-ICUCH (International Committee on the Underwater Cultural Heritage) national representative for Japan, acknowledged by the ICOMOS Japan. In addition, he is a director of the Japan Society for Nautical Research which is the only academic association of maritime history in Japan, being a part of the International Maritime History Association, a director of the Asian Research Institute of Underwater Archaeology (ARIUA) which is the only one active learned society for underwater cultural heritage in Japan, and a director of the Forum of the Innovative Oceanic State of Japan.
On the basis of fieldwork and maritime research conducted in Southeast and East Asia, the South Seas, and Europe since 1986, he published numerous articles and books, which deal mainly with the insular people, their material culture, and their colonial history, including The People of the Alas Valley: A Study of an Ethnic Group of Northern Sumatra (Clarendon, 1994), The Sea Possessing Cultural Heritage: An Introduction to Underwater Archaeology (Kagaku-dojin, 2012), ‘Underwater Archaeology in Indonesia’ (Archaeology Quarterly 123, 2013), ‘The Shipwreck of Takachiho, Japanese Cruiser Sunk off China 1914’ in Underwater Cultural Heritage from WWI (UNESCO, 2014), or ‘The Stone Tidal Weir as Underwater Cultural Heritage’ in Underwater Cultural Heritage: History from the Sea (Bensei, 2017). The book titled The Sea Possessing Cultural Heritage is the first comprehensive introductory book of underwater archaeology written in Japanese. Current academic interests include the underwater cultural heritage of stone tidal weir, Japanese shipwrecks, and human remains from WWI and WWII, or some conventional underwater cultural heritage sites in Japan, Vietnam, and Indonesia. At the Asia-Pacific Regional Conference on Underwater Cultural Heritage (APCONF), he organizes the East Asian session, being a member of its organizing committee.