|Academic Interest Grows in the Relationship
Between Humans and Companion Animals
-Recipients of First "Scholarships for Research on the Relationship
Between Humans and Companion Animals" Selected
Three Scholarship Recipients Selected from 44 Applicants
At the end of last year, the Companion Animal Information and
Research Center offered the first of its "Scholarships for Research on the Interrelationship
Between Humans and Companion Animals." Three people have now been chosen as scholarship
recipients. They and their research themes are as follows.
Yoshiko Uchida (36, assistant professor, Rakuno Gakuen University, resides
in Ebetsu City, Hokkaido)
Research theme: "On Choosing Dogs Used in Animal-Assisted Therapy"
Yukiko Arakawa (21, student, Azabu University, resides in Sagamihara City,
Research theme: "Research and Study of the Problem Behavior of Dogs in Grooming
Masaru Uechi (28, doctoral student, Tsukuba University Graduate School,
resides in Tsukuba City, Ibaraki Prefecture)
Research theme: "The Effects of Companion Animals on the Health of Elderly People
Living at Home - Using IADL (Instrumental Activities of Daily Living) and Biological
Indicators as Criteria"
The selection committee for the first "Scholarships for Research on the Relationship
Between Humans and Companion Animals," which was composed of three members
Mitsuko Masui, professor, Azabu University; Yoshihiro Hayashi, professor, the
University of Tokyo; and Yoichi Shoda, professor emeritus, the University of Tokyo
and president of the Companion Animal Information and Research Center met
on May 19 and, from 44 applicants (15 times the number of available scholarships),
painstakingly made its selections.
The Need for Research on "The Relationship Between Humans and Companion Animals" Is Growing
of the Companion Animal Information and Research Center are given
for research on "The Relationship Between Humans and Companion Animals."
Why has such research become necessary? This question was also vigorously
discussed by the committee members.
"I was extremely
surprised by the large number of applicants," said Ms. Masui. "This
kind of fierce competition for zoological scholarships is rare. It
made me feel keenly that, given current trends in the world, there's
a great need for research on the relationship between humans and companion
animals, and that this is indeed an important field of study."
of applicants was extremely large," said Mr. Hayashi. "And as was
clear from their resumes, they came from diverse fields. That so many
people want to do research in this field is heartening to me as chairman
of the Society for the Study of Human Animal Relations. It also made
me recognize anew the social need for such research. And I also think
that this scholarship system can be highly evaluated, not just in
terms of its bringing latent research needs to light, but also in
that it covers research subjects not covered by other customary systems.
I feel that it's going change the way that research is done in the
interest in research on the interaction between humans and companion
animals is increasing. Such research is progressing in countries throughout
the world, clarifying the social, psychological and biological effects
of companion animals on people. As you know, however, the study of
the relationship between humans and companion animals is an extremely
new field in the science of zoology. While it is indispensable for
achieving a more satisfying society, it has not yet been firmly established
as an academic field. There are also not many researchers in it. The
Companion Animal Information and Research Center believes that, in
order to deepen knowledge and understanding about companion animals,
it is urgently important to establish the study of the relationship
between humans and companion animals as a full-fledged academic field
and, towards that end, to assist excellent young researchers. Hence
the "Scholarships for Research on the Relationship Between People
and Companion Animals" were created.
Evaluations Based on Urgency, Importance and Originality,
Not Just Past Accomplishments
The applicants for the latest scholarships comprised a diverse
group. They included undergraduate students, graduate students, people who already
had research achievements to their name, people in the field of children's education,
freelance writers, and more. Their ages ranged from 20 to 39. "These scholarships,"
said Mr. Hayashi, "are also excellent in that they are open to a wide range of
people, not just people with achievements in research." Given the large number
of applicants and the fact that they wanted to do such different, incomparable
types of research, the judging and selection were extremely difficult. "The majority
of the research plans were solid, and of a very high level," said Mr. Shoda. "In
choosing, however, priority was given to plans that exhibited a high degree of
urgency, importance and originality, to themes that cannot be researched except
in this field, and to people who might otherwise have no other forum for presenting
The committee members were asked about the criteria by which they evaluated the
research plans of the three scholarship recipients. Yoshiko Uchida, who was selected
to research the subject, "On Choosing Dogs Used in Animal-Assisted Therapy," is
a doctor of veterinary medicine. "Ms. Uchida's research is on the stress experienced
by animals used in animal-assisted therapy," said Ms. Masui. "I think this research
is important because of its focus on the well-being of animals on preventing
them from becoming overworked. Its methodology is also clearly spelled out, and
it can be expected to produce important results."
Ms. Yukiko Arakawa, who will receive a scholarship for "Research and Study of
the Problem Behavior of Dogs in Grooming Parlors," is an undergraduate student
majoring in the study of the relationship between humans and animals. "The target
of Ms. Arakawa's research is clear," said Mr. Hayashi. "She will be conducting
the research together with trimmer, and it can be expected to produce clear results.
When young people do research, it's important that, like Ms. Arakawa, they do
one thing at a time, rather than trying to do a lot of things all at once."
Masaru Uechi, whose research will be on "The Effects of Companion Animals on the
Health of Elderly People Living at Home Using IADL and Biological Indicators
as Criteria," is a doctoral student studying medical information science. "With
the graying of society," said Ms. Masui, "there is a growing need to conduct research,
including research related to animals, on how the elderly can lead fuller lives.
Mr. Uechi's project is thus, I believe, of considerable urgency and importance."
As an overall evaluation, Mr. Shoda said, "Most of the research plans submitted
were in two fields: animal-assisted therapy and animal behavior. Of the three
selected, two were from the field of animal-assisted therapy; the other was from
the field of animal behavior. Of the two from animal-assisted therapy, one involves
a veterinarian studying the effects of animal-assisted therapy on animals, while
the other involves a medical researcher studying the effects of companion animals
on the elderly. All three have originality. The results should be very interesting.
I'm looking forward to them."
Scholarship Recipients Will Be Sent to "8th International IAHAIO Conference" in Prague
scholarship recipients will each be paid 300,000 yen to conduct their
research. In addition, they will be provided with funds to attend
the international conference of the International Association of Human-Animal
Interaction Organizations (IAHAIO), which will be held in Prague in
September. The IAHAIO is an international organization comprised of
associations interested in the relationship between animals and people,
and of related organizations. Held every three years, IAHAIO international
conferences attract animal researchers and other interested parties
from throughout the world.
return, the scholarship recipients will report on the international
conference. At the end of the research period, they will also report
on the course and results of their research. (Interviews of the scholarship
recipients will be presented in the next newsletter.)
Profiles of Selection Committee Members
- Mitsuko Masui,
professor of applied animal science, Department of Veterinary Medicine,
Doctor of veterinary medicine. Was formerly director of the Tama Zoo and director
of the Ueno Zoo. Main books include "How Do Animal Parents Raise Their Young?"
and "Animals in the City."
- Yoshihiro Hayashi,
professor, the Faculty of Agriculture, the University of Tokyo
Doctor of agricultural science. Was formerly visiting professor at La Plata University,
etc. Chairman of the Society for the Study of Human Animal Relations'. A member
of the International Nature Protection Alliance, the World Nature Protection Fund,
and the International Whaling Commission. Books include "Veterinary Anatomy."
- Yoichi Shoda,
professor emeritus, the University of Tokyo, president of the Companion
Animal Information and Research Center.
agricultural science. Formerly a professor at the University of Tokyo.
Is currently director of the Tokyo Zoological Park Society, councilor
of the Yamashina Institute for Ornithology and auditor of Society
for the Study of Human Animal Relations. Books include "Animals Created