The core-to-core program of JSPS

Introduction to the P.R.I.

Introduction to the Primate Research Institute, Kyoto 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 that houses 15 graduate schools, 10 faculties, 13 research institutes, and 20 other associated centers (in April, 2004). 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 of Kyoto University (KUPRI) 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, since there are no monkeys or apes
native to North America and Europe, but 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 about nonhuman primates, revealing many aspects of the evolutionary origins of human nature. The late Kinji Imanishi (1902-1992) and his colleagues began the study of wild monkeys in Koshima, Miyazaki, Japan, in 1948. Since then, the study of Koshima monkeys continues to be
conducted by the Primate Research Institute 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. In 1958, Japanese primatologists expanded their fieldwork to include great apes in Africa. While this work continues as well, a new line of research on the chimpanzee mind is being promoted in parallel at KUPRI. Japanese researchers also founded an English-language primatological journal titled "Primates," the oldest one in the discipline. KUPRI has several long-running research sites with Japanese monkeys, chimpanzees, and bonobos in the wild. It also serves as a national center for various disciplines within the field of primate studies such as morphology, paleontology, psychology, ethology, cognitive science, neuroscience, physiology, molecular biology, genetics, genomics, veterinary medicine, bioethics, sociology, ecology, and conservation biology. The institute has promoted the scientific progress and created new frontiers in the study of the evolutionary origins of human nature