Primate Research Institute,
 Kyoto University, Japan

HOPE
Primate Origins of
Human Evolution

Max Plank Institute for
Evolutionary Anthropology, Germany

Exploring the evolutionary
foundation of human nature
 in nonhuman primates

Department of Anthropology,
 Harvard Univ., USA

Fieldwork in oversea stations

Four major areas

Mind

Body

Society

Genome

Analysis in laboratories

 


Message to the HOPE project from Prof. Motoyuki Ono, 
the president of JSPS

Dr. Kazuo Oike, President of Kyoto University, Dr. Nobuo Shigehara, Director of the Primate Research Institute, And ladies and gentlemen,

It is my great pleasure to be here at the opening of the first international workshop for the HOPE project. This HOPE project is supported under "JSPS Core-to-Core Program". Being launched in the fiscal year 2003, this program is the largest program since last October, when the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science became an independent administrative institution.

This new program aims to build and expand cooperative networks among core universities and research institutions in Japan and other academically advanced countries. It also aims at advancing research in leading-edge fields of science and promoting exchange among the next generation of scientists.

Under this program, co-chairs will be appointed in Japan and the counterpart nations for each designated field. Transcending their own affiliated institutions, the co-chairs will form research groups to advance collaborations that combine the three components of joint research activities, scientific meetings, and researcher exchanges.

Last October, we announced the initiation of the Core-to-Core program to Japanese universities and research institutions for the fiscal years 2003 and 2004. The period from announcement to the application deadline was rather short. It was only a month. Nevertheless, JSPS received as many as 118 proposals. This number was much higher than we had expected. I would 
like now to take opportunity to express my appreciation to those who applied to this program.

Among the 118 proposals, the HOPE project was chosen to be the first project ever to be supported under this program.
I have high expectations for the Primate Research Institute of Kyoto University and the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, because these two implementing institutions have enjoyed a long history of  exchange and have the best and brightest researchers in their respective countries. These two organizations have complemented each other especially in the fields of Comparative Cognitive Science, Primate Ecology, and Comparative Genomics. In addition, joint research on combined fields of wildlife conservation and welfare of nonhuman primates is expected to be carried out with the cooperation of American researchers in the near future.

At the German-Japan Summit held last August, German Chancellor Gerhard Schoroeder and Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi recognized the importance of enhancing economic ties and scientific cooperation between the two countries, particularly between young German and Japanese researchers. In this context, an agreement was reached at the meeting "To Strengthen Scientific Exchange among Younger Generations of German and Japanese Researchers".

The HOPE project is based on this new agreement between Germany and Japan. Now, I am very glad to inform you that Dr. Peter Gruss, President of Max Planck Gesellschaft (MPG), and myself were able to conclude the Memorandum of Understanding for the HOPE project on February 11 in Munich, Germany.

This year, 2004, just happens to be the "Year of the Monkey" in the oriental zodiac, so we can say it is the best year for launching the project. I believe that this HOPE project offers hope not only for JSPS, but also for the Kyoto University and Japan.

Finally, I sincerely hope that this workshop will contribute to the advancement of scientific exchange and joint research between the two organizations, and I wish every success to all the young researchers here.

Thank you.

(This is a speech by Prof. Ono, President of JSPS, at HOPE workshop on March 6th, 2004)


Message from Director of KUPRI

Ladies and gentlemen,
It is indeed a special honor to hold this symposium initiating the international project attended by President Oike of Kyoto University and Chief Director, Professor Ono of the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science. As a delegate of the Primate Research Institute of Kyoto University, I would like to say a few words to all of you.

Our institute was inaugurated in 1967, and during the past 37 years we have conducted basic research on various aspects of primates. It is our great pleasure to be given this opportunity to carry out joint research on the primate origins of human evolution with the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Germany. This is the first project of the new Core-to-Core Program. We feel very honored to be able to participate in a project of such international scale. At the same time, we feel a great
responsibility to conduct the research project successfully.

The Max Planck Institute of Evolutionary Anthropology is one of the most renowned institutions for this field in the world today. As Professor Matsuzawa will tell you later, we have recently visited the institute in Leipzig and were very impressed by its wonderful setting and facilities. We hope that this new collaboration between our two institutes will lead to many new discoveries and advancements in the field. This being facilitated through the promotion of close cooperation and by supplementing and stimulating each other's active areas of research. I also expect that the academic exchange between Germany and Japan in this field will become more and more active through this joint research program.

I would like to express my gratitude to JSPS and the Max Planck Society for giving us such a great opportunity. I would also like to express my deep appreciation to Kyoto University for supporting the program. I hope the symposium today will be a success and be a good starting point for this project. 

Thank you.

* This is a speech to the first HOPE international workshop "Evolutionary neighbors: from genes to mind", Mar 6th, 2004


Message to the HOPE project
Kazuo OIKE, President of Kyoto University 

Ladies and gentlemen,
It is my honor to be here to join the first international workshop of HOPE, a core-to-core program supported by the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science. As the president of Kyoto University, it is my pleasure to welcome you to the renovated "international hall of centennial clock tower", a new landmark for the university.

Kyoto University was founded in 1897. It is the second oldest national university in Japan, and is regarded as a prestigious large-scale research university, which houses 15 graduate schools, 10 faculties, 12 research institutes, and 21 other centers.
Through its history spanning more than 100 years, the university has gained an excellent reputation for its scientific achievements and academic activities in various disciplines. A dedication to fieldwork is one of the unique features of Kyoto University. The Primate Research Institute is a key center for field sciences within the university.

Japan has a clear advantage in terms of the study of nonhuman primates in their natural habitat. There are no monkeys or apes in North America and Europe. However, we have an indigenous species: the Japanese monkey. Thanks to the country's unique natural environment, Japanese primatologists have made significant contributions to scientific research on nonhuman primates, revealing many aspects of the evolutionary origins of human nature.

The late Kinji Imanishi of Kyoto University can be regarded as the spiritual father of Japanese primatology. Imanishi began his study of wild Japanese monkeys in 1948, when he was a lecturer at this university. He collaborated with several of his undergraduate students who later became distinguished figures in the discipline themselves, such as Jun'ichiro Itani, Shunzo Kawamura, and Masao Kawai. The sweet-potato washing of Koshima monkeys first found in 1953 remains one of the best-known cultural behaviors among nonhuman animals.

Following on from their 10-year study of wild monkeys, in 1958 Imanishi and Itani traveled to Africa to launch their field project on the African great apes. This was two years before Jane Goodall arrived on the same continent to begin her study of wild chimpanzees. The pioneering activities of Imanishi and his students in the field resulted in the foundation in 1967 of the Primate Research Institute of Kyoto University, a national and international center for primate studies.

The pioneering fieldwork may have had at its root the most outstanding feature of Kyoto University's academic traditions: a respect for the spirit of freedom and independence. These notions may have arisen due to the university's location. Kyoto was the country's capital for almost 1,200 years, and has retained a degree of independence from Tokyo, the current capital, 500 km away. The university has cultivated unique cultural and philosophical traditions since its founding.

Respect for the spirit of freedom and independence is also deeply woven into research and study today. The university's researchers vigorously pursue original research in the spirit of academic freedom, and have produced globally significant results in a multitude of fields.

The HOPE project is a collaboration between the Primate Research Institute of Kyoto University and the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology. It aims to clarify the primate origins of human evolution. This line of research began at Kyoto University and its spiritual descendants have been continuously promoting the scientific understanding of primates, including humans, for more than 5 decades.

I sincerely hope that the HOPE project will add a new page to the history of pioneering work at Kyoto University. And I want to give my fundamental question to you, Prof. Matsuzawa, and especially young scientists of future generations, expecting you can give a clear answer from the development of this joint study. On the behalf of human beings, my question is,"Where did we come from?"
Thank you for your attention.

* This is a speech to the first HOPE international workshop "Evolutionary neighbors: from genes to mind", Mar 6th, 2004


Aims and scope of HOPE project

The human mind is as much a product of evolution as the human body. Where did we come from? What is human nature? To answer such fundamental questions, we must address the question of how humans have evolved. Humans (scientific name Homo sapiens) are a species of primate, a species of mammal, and a species of vertebrate. The HOPE project aims to study the "Primate Origins of Human Evolution" focusing on apes and monkeys as our evolutionary neighbors. HOPE is an anagram of our research title, and also expresses a hope for conservation. All primate species other than humans are designated as endangered or threatened in CITES (Washington convention on endangered animals and plants). Therefore, in parallel to advanced studies of primates, we must also make concentrated efforts for the conservation of monkeys and apes in tropical forests, as species symbolic of biological diversity and the global environment.

 Japan is unique among the advanced countries of the world in having an indigenous species of nonhuman primate. Thanks to the country's natural and cultural background, Japanese primatological study has made unique contributions to the world. The late Kinji Imanishi (1902-1992) and his colleagues began the study of wild monkeys in Koshima, Miyazaki, Japan, in 1948. The study of Koshima monkeys continues to be conducted by the Primate Research Institute of Kyoto University (KUPRI) to the present day. Fifty-five years have passed, throughout which researchers kept records of monkeys of eight generations: the history of a monkey kingdom. Japanese primatologists embarked on fieldwork on great apes in Africa in 1958. While this work also continues, a new line of captive research on the chimpanzee mind is being promoted in parallel by KUPRI. Japanese researchers founded an English-language primatological journal titled "Primates" - the oldest one in the discipline - which is now published in collaboration with Springer-Verlag of Germany.

 Germany also has a long tradition in the study of chimpanzee intelligence, originated by Wolfgang Koehler (1887-1967). One of Germany's most recent major contributions to the academic world was the founding of the Max Plank Institute of Evolutionary Anthropology (MPEVA) in 1997. This brand new facility focuses on the study of humans and apes, and is laying the foundations for a new discipline: Evolutionary Anthropology. MPEVA has already established itself as a core institution in Europe for the study of the primate origins of human evolution.

 HOPE is a core-to-core program established between Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS) and Max-Plank-Gesellschaft (MPG). The HOPE project has two core institutions, one in Japan (KUPRI) and one in Germany (MPIEVA). These two institutions will serve as focal points for scientific collaborations relating to Primatology and Evolutionary Anthropology in the two countries. Researchers in Japan and Germany will collaborate to explore the evolutionary origins and genomic basis of the human mind, body, and society through comparative studies of primates. This work should proceed with the following basic question in mind: What is uniquely human? The answers may provide biologically relevant guidance toward solutions to many of the problems we are facing in modern human societies.

 KUPRI has several long-running research sites of wild Japanese monkeys, chimpanzees, and bonobos. It also serves as a national center for various disciplines within the field of primate studies. Similarly, MPIEVA maintains long-running research sites of great apes in the wild: chimpanzees, bonobos, and gorillas. It also has a research facility for captive apes: the Wolfgang Koehler Primate Research Center collaborated with the Leipzig Zoological Garden. MPIEVA has already made major contributions to the study of wild apes, comparative cognitive development, and comparative genomics. The two institutions complement each other fully, and a collaboration between them will catalyze scientific progress and create new frontiers in the study of the Primate Origins of Human Evolution.

For that purpose, the HOPE project will promote collaborative research, facilitate exchange between young scientists, and hold international workshops and symposia. HOPE will also build up a database of primatology and evolutionary anthropology, and will run an internet web site showcasing these topics. In addition, HOPE plans to produce a series of English-language publications to provide the public with feedback on scientific achievements.

 The HOPE project's present schedule is planned as follows. In 2004, the two institutions will participate in a meeting in Leipzig to draw up an agenda and action plans for the next two years. Then, a number of symposia organized by KUPRI and/or MPIEVA will be held: "Evolutionary origins of human language", "Apes and disease", "Feeding ecology", "Evolution of intelligence for tool use", "Research, welfare, and conservation of the great apes". In 2005, HOPE will organize a satellite workshop at the HUGO (Human Genome Organization) international symposium in Japan.

 In addition to the exchange of information, HOPE will also promote the exchange of young scientists of future generations through collaborative visits to the respective institutions. Illuminating the unique features of MPIEVA, HOPE will focus on exchanges in the following three advanced fields: "Developmental processes of cognition and language", "Ecology of apes in their natural habitat", and "Comparative genomics". Moreover, HOPE will focus on two additional fields that can not be fully covered by the Japan-Germany collaboration: "The study of fossils" and "The study of wildlife conservation and animal welfare". For that purpose, HOPE will maintain a perspective for future collaborations with institutions in the USA which address all of the above topics, with particular emphasis on the latter two. Throughout its continuing efforts of collaboration, HOPE will aim to clarify the primate origins of the human mind, body, and society, as well as the genomic bases thereof.

by Tetsuro Matsuzawa, Co-chair of HOPE


HOPE Organization

HOPE Commttee in KUPRI 2004-2005:
Tetsuro Matsuzawa, Comparative Cognitive Science, chair
Nobuo Shigehara, Paleontology
Michael Huffman, Sociology and Ecology
Osamu Takenaka, Molecular Biology
Takashi Kageyama, Molecular Biology

HOPE Commttee in KUPRI 2005-2006:
Tetsuro Matsuzawa, Comparative Cognitive Science, chair
Nobuo Shigehara, Paleontology
Hideki Endo, Morphology
Michael Huffman, Sociology and Ecology
Chie Hashimoto, Sociology and Ecology
Motoharu Hayashi, Neuroscience
Takashi Kageyama, Molecular Biology
Hirohisa Hirai, Genetics and Molecular Biology

HOPE Committee in KUPRI 2006-2009:
Tetsuro Matsuzawa, Comparative Cognitive Science, coordinator
Nobuo Shigehara, Paleontology
Hideki Endo, Morphology, chair of the organizing committee
Michael Huffman, Sociology and Ecology
Chie Hashimoto, Sociology and Ecology
Motoharu Hayashi, Neuroscience
Takashi Kageyama, Molecular Biology
Hirohisa Hirai, Genetics and Molecular Biology
Tomoko Matsui, Linguistics

Members:
Faculty members of Primate Reseach Institute, Kyoto University

Japanese Collaborators:
Unit for Mind: Cognitive Science, Ethology, Linguistics, and Neuroscience
Juichi Hasegawa, University of Tokyo
Kazuo Fujita, Department of Psychology, Kyoto University
Atsushi Iriki, Tokyo Medical and Dental University & RIKEN
Unit for Body: Physiology, Morphology, and Paleontology,
Gen Suwa, University of Tokyo
Masato Nakatsukasa, Department of Zoology, Kyoto University
Unit for Society: Sociology, Ecology, Wildlife management, and Animal welfare
Juichi Yamagiwa, Department of Zoology, Kyoto University
Gen Yamakoshi, Asia/Africa Area Studies, Kyoto University
Unit for Genome: Genomics, Genetics, and Molecular Biology
Asao Fujiyama, National Institute for Informatics
Naruya Saito, National Institute for Genetics
Miho Murayama, Gifu University

Core institution of Germany (from February, 2004)
Max Plank Instittute for Evolutionary Anthropology (MPIEVA)
Michael Tomasello, Department of Developmental and Comparative Psychology
Christophe Boesch, Department of Primatology
Svante Paabo, Department of Evolutionary Genetics
Jean-Jacques Hublin, Department of Human Evolution

Core institution of USA (from 2004)
Deapartment of Anthropology, Harvard University
Richard Wrangham, Primatology
Daniel Lieberman, Skeletal Biology
Marc Hauser, Primate Cognition
David Pilbeam, Paleoanthropology

Core institution of Italy (from 2006, scheduled)
Institute for Science and Technology of Cognition
Istituto di Scienze e Tecnologie della Cognizione (ISTC)
Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche (CNR)
Elisabetta Visalberghi
Giovanna Spinozzi
Patrizia Potì
Giacomo Rizzolatti (Parma University, Istituto di Fisiologia Umana)