Letter from CAIRC
June 2004 Vol.8 No.1

The science of human-companion animal relationships
Deepening interest in contributing to education and social welfare

Four recipients chosen for the 7th CAIRC Research Scholarship

CAIRC has selected the four following researchers as recipients of the 7th CAIRC Research Scholarship Program for Advancing the study of Human-Companion Animal Relationships. Each recipient will receive a 500,000 scholarship and will present their findings in one year.

- Research topic: Effects of companion animals on depression or job stress among industrial workers
Kyoko Suzuki (PhD student, Department of Health Education, Graduate School of Health Sciences, Tokyo Medical and Dental University)

- Research topic: The influence on local communities of contact with ponies in urban spaces
~A consideration of the significance and role of parks that feature ponies~

Satoshi Fukano (Manager and instructor, Pony Department, Tokyo Riding Club)

- Research topic: "A study on the pet owners' awareness of pet-caring norms and prevention of socially disruptive behavior"
Takuya Yoshida (Masters student, Graduate School of Education and Human Development, Nagoya University)

- Research topic: A trial of animal assisted education at a school using a dog
Taro Yoshida (Religious Education Director, St. Margaret's Elementary School)

The committee consisted of Professor Mitsuaki ohta of Azabu University, Professor Yuji Mori of the University of Tokyo, and Dr. Yoichi Shoda, CAIRC chairman and professor emeritus at the University of Tokyo.

The challenge of an expanding field of research

CAIRC is working to further scientific study of the relationships between humans and companion animals, as well as to deepen overall understanding of companion animals. As part of our efforts to establish this as a field of scientific inquiry, we offer support for excellent up-and-coming researchers through the CAIRC Research Scholarship program for Advancing the Study of Human-Companion Animal Relationships. First offered in 1998, the scholarship provides three to five scholars with an average of 500,000 each in research assistance.

For this scholarship, a total of 30 applications were received from workers and scholars in diverse fields including veterinary medicine, forensic medicine, education, social psychology, social welfare, occupational therapy, physics, and lifestyle management. The increasingly wide range of the research themes shows the growth in this field.

"The depth of content of the research projects in this, the seventh scholarship, is a clear sign of how this field is taking hold in Japan," said Dr. Shoda. "This year, the fields of education and social welfare account for nearly half of the applications. The fact that these fields, with their strong emphasis on social issues, have become so involved is an indication of the broad recognition of the relationships with and contributions made by companion animals. In October this year, a major international conference on the study of human-animal relations, which is regularly held once every three years, will take place in Glasgow, Scotland. We look forward to seeing the further development of this field in Japan as well as its increasing recognition on the world stage."

CAIRC will continue to provide the scholarship to promising young researchers in the science of human-companion animal relationships in order to promote further discoveries and expanded knowledge in this field.

Selection Committee Members:

- Mitsuaki Ohta
Professor, Animal and Human Bonds, School of Veterinary Medicine, Azabu University

Prof. Ohta has been in his current position since 1999, until which he worked at Osaka Prefecture University College of Agriculture as an associate professor. His research has focused on animal-assisted therapy and activities. He currently serves as Director of the Secretariat of the Society for the Study of Human-Animal Relations, as well as an organizer of the New Institute of Animal Science. His publications include"The Illustrated Encyclopedia of the dog" (Irasutodemiru Inugaku) ,"Animal Rescue in the Great Hanshin Earthquake" (Daishinsai no Hisai Doubutsu wo Sukuu Tame ni), and editorship of Japanese translations including that of"Kindred Spirits: How the remarkable bond between humans and animals can change the way we live" (Hito wa naze Doubutsu ni Iyasareruka).

- Yuji Mori
Professor, Veterinary Ethology, Veterinary Medical Science/Animal Resource Science, the University of Tokyo

Prof. Mori has been in his current position since 1997, after serving as an associate professor at the University of Tokyo. He currently serves as Vice President of the Society for the Study of Human Animal Relations, as well as the representative of the Japanese Veterinary Society for the Study of Animal Behavior. His publication activities include"The Clinical Manual for Behavior Problems of Dogs and Cats"and editorship of Japanese translations including that of James Serpell's"The Domestic Dog: its evolution, behavior and interactions with people."

- Yoichi Shoda
CAIRC Chairman and Professor Emeritus at the University of Tokyo

Dr. Shoda is a doctor of agricultural science. After serving as a professor at the University of Tokyo and other universities, he currently directs the Tokyo Zoological Park Society and is a board member of the Yamashina Institute for Ornithology. His major publications include "Animals Created by Man."