Message from the Director of the Institute

Light metals are metals that have a low specific gravity of 5 or less. Magnesium, aluminum, and titanium are known as the three major light metal materials and are considered to have great potential as lightweight structural materials. Until now, there has been no research institute in Japan that has conducted comprehensive research into light metal materials.

There has however been an urgent need for a research and education center for comprehensive development of light metal materials that promotes research into magnesium, aluminum, and titanium individually as well as integrated research into these metals for developing multi-materials, and also promotes R&D for practical social applications and training people in the manufacture of light metal products.

For this reason, the Institute of Light Metals (ILM) was jointly established by the Magnesium Research Center of Kumamoto University and the Aluminium Research Center of the University of Toyama to comprehensively develop magnesium, aluminum, and titanium, taking into account the features of industries located in Kumamoto and Toyama prefectures.

Our aim is to establish a world-class international light metal research and education center that is the first of its kind in Japan and is equipped with a streamlined research structure that ranges from the development of materials to practical social applications. This institute is dedicated to bolstering magnesium and aluminum research through the exploration of complementary areas, fostering titanium research, promoting integrated magnesium, aluminum, and titanium research, training highly skilled workers in manufacturing, and contributing to the development of science, technology, and industry in Japan.

先進軽金属材料国際研究機構長 先進マグネシウム国際研究センター長 河村 能人

Director of the Institute of Light Metals
and Director of the Magnesium Research Center
Yoshihito Kawamura

Purpose and vision of the ILM


The aim is to establish an international research and education center for world-class light metal materials with its roots in the local community by integrating the advantages of both universities and using the universities’ resources effectively. The ILM will contribute to science, technology, and industry in Japan by leading the innovation of light metals through the accumulation, creation, and dissemination of global knowledge and resources related to light metals and by helping light metals researchers from all over the world to gather and interact as well as encouraging the influx of new light metals researchers.

Vision - four main areas of investigation -

  • Accelerating aerospace and mobility innovation
  • Bringing about a nation that leads the world in safety and resilience
  • Building a society centered on well-being, where everyone can experience health, comfort, and happiness
  • Revolutionizing light metal materials through kink strengthening

Deployment in three phases

Phase I - Strengthening light metal research (2021-2025) -

  • Enhancing the functions of the MRC and ARC as research hubs
  • Cultivating a titanium research center

Phase II - Enhancing light metal research (2026-2030) -

  • Establishing the Titanium Research Center (TRC)
  • Enhancing the functions of the MRC, ARC, and TRC as research hubs
  • Promoting integration of magnesium, aluminum, and titanium research

Phase III - Achieving excellence in light metal research (2031-2035) -

  • Expanding into an international research and education center
  • Leading global research into light metals
  • Generating light metal innovation


2019 May The proposal of the cooperation by professors to School of Sustainable Design attached advanced material research center of Kumamoto University MRC to University of Toyama.
June The examination start of the cooperation concept by the professor of main of both Universites.
November Public meeting with the president and commish of both Universites (research person in charge) @ Kumamoto University
December Conclusion of the scientific exchange agreement of MRC and School of Sustainable Design.
Exchange of opinions of the office work of both Universites @ University of Toyama
2020 April Established The Organization for Promotion of Research, the Center for Aluminium and advanced Materials Research and International Collaboration
May The ZOOM meeting by the president, the office work, and the professor of charge of both Universites.
July The organization maintenance budgetary request of "Establishment of Institute of Light Metals (ILM)"
The equipment maintenance budgetary request of "the craftsmanship and the analysis assessment system for titanium" (Kumamoto University)
October Foundation of a "Kumamoto light metal innovation study group" (Kumamoto University)
November Conclusion of "the statement of mutual agreement about Institute of Light Metals (ILM)
2021 February The joint application of” Joint Usage / Research Center "
Equipment maintenance rough adoption of "the craftsmanship and the analysis assessment system for titanium" (Kumamoto University)
March Conclusion at Toyama of the memorandum about an " Institute of Light Metals (ILM)"
Exchange-of-opinions @ Toyama with the light metal industrial world of Toyama Prefecture.
April Established International Organization for Institute of Light Metals (Both University)
July The equipment maintenance budgetary request of an "instrumentation-ized 2D hybrid friction stir joining apparatus" (Kumamoto University)
October Adoption of JST "Japanese-Visegrad-Four nation joint research" (Kumamoto University)
November New authorization of " Joint Usage / Research Center "
December Opening ceremony of an "Institute of Lite Metals(ILM)" @ Kumamoto


MRC Research Laboratory

New Research Plant

New Research Plant

Melting&Casting Plant

Melting&Casting Plant

Material Foming Plant

Material Foming Plant

ARC Research Laboratory

Academic Research&Industry-Academia Collaboration front office(Experiment Plant)

Academic Research&Industry-Academia Collaboration front office(Experiment Plant)

Aluminium Research Center(ARC)Office

Aluminium Research Center(ARC)Office