Letter from CAIRC
July 2006 Vol.10 No.2

Recipients Chosen for the 9th CAIRC Research Scholarship Program on
Study of Human-Animal Interactions

The non-profit organization CAIRC (Companion Animal Information and Research Center - Chairman: Yoichi Shoda, Professor Emeritus at the University of Tokyo, Offices: Shibuya-ku, Tokyo) conducts various activities to further the development and understanding of the coexistence between people and companion animals, and since 1998 has had a scholarship program based on the Study of Human-Animal Interactions. This was the 9th round and the following projects were selected from among the 30 applications. The selection committee members were: Mitsuaki Ohta, Professor at Azabu University; Yuji Mori, Professor at the University of Tokyo; and Yoichi Shoda, Professor Emeritus at the University of Tokyo and chairman of CAIRC.

Research theme:
"Effect of the space composition in a house on the communication between the companion-animal and human"
Shino Okuda (Lecturer, Department of Human Life Studies, Faculty of Human Life and Science, Doshisha Women's College of Liberal Arts)

Research theme:
"The attachment with dogs enhances the health of middle aged people"
Miho Nagasawa (Post-graduate student, Graduate School of Veterinary Medicine, Department of Animal Science and Biotechnology, Azabu University)

Research theme:
"Research for the improvement of guide-dog training efficacy based on information of genetic polymorphisms"
Sayaka Arata (PhD student, Laboratory of Veterinary Ethology, The University of Tokyo)

On the reasons given for the selection, CAIRC Chairman Shoda said, "There are still not a lot of researches in the area of pets kept in detached houses in Japan, so I look forward to seeing a new approach to the coexistence of humans and animals from the perspective of the housing environment through Ms. Okuda's research." Professor Mori added, "As our society is aging, there is a focus on the importance of preventive medicine, and Ms.Nagasawa's idea of demonstrating the relationship between our health and the attachment people have with their dogs is quite innovative. Her methodology uses a physiological indicator, and so I look forward to the results." And Professor Ohta stated, "Regarding the assessment of guide-dogs' personality traits, there has been numerous questions need to be looked at carefully. I look forward to seeing new guidelines arising from Ms. Arata's multi-faceted research that includes behavioral experiments and genetic polymorphisms. It's been a long desire to see an improvement of guide-dog training efficacy, so I look forward to the results."

CAIRC Chairman Shoda, who also served as the head of the selection committee said, "I felt the further broadening of the study of humans and companion animals. The next International Conference on Human-Animal Interactions, a triennial event, will be held in October of 2007 in Tokyo, and so I hope this will be a great opportunity to further the development of this scholarly field in Japan."

¦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 Agricultural Department of Osaka Prefecture University as an associate professor. His research has focused on animal-assisted therapy and activities. He currently serves as Chairman 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", "The Illustrated Encyclopedia of the cat", "Animal Rescue in the Great Hanshin Earthquake", and editorship of Japanese translations including that of "Kindred Spirits: How the remarkable bond between humans and animals can change the way we live".
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 an Executive Director of the Japanese Society of Veterinary Science. 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:
Professor Emeritus, the University of Tokyo, Chairman of CAIRC
Dr. Shoda is a doctor of agricultural science. After serving as a professor at the University of Tokyo, he is presently an Adviser of the Tokyo Zoological Park Society and is a board member of the Yamashina Institute for Ornithology. His major publications include "Animals Created by Man."