Research continuum


In the WISH Cage and the Research Resource Station, Chimpanzees are Moving and Foraging Freely

The Primate Research Institute, Kyoto University (KUPRI) was established in 1967 and has for the past five decades been promoting basic research on primates including humans.



At the KUPRI, 2 cages, called “WISH (Web for the Integrated Studies of the Human Mind) Cage(s)”, have been constructed. The WISH cages have a space of 20 ㎡ that are fifteen meters high*. Because of the facility, the chimpanzees at the KUPRI have been living more of a natural style from the academic year of 2011.
*The setup financially supported by Japan Society for the Promotion of Science.

Although wild chimpanzees often live in large, fifteen to one hundred or even more member groups, not every member facing at each other all the time. In the aim to simulate the life style of wild chimpanzees, fission-fusion emulation was made possible by connecting the WISH cages and the outdoor enclosure for our chimpanzees at KUPRI. With this setup individual chimpanzees can freely choose their “habitat” (cage/enclosure) and be with several group members (or stay alone if they prefer) at any given time, like chimpanzees in the wild.

A computer-operated system set up in the WISH cages enables ad libitum feeding. Any one chimpanzee of the group can come to any of the several touch-screen monitors at any preferred time and operate the computers at their will. Thus, they can obtain food rewards by doing a cognitive task at any time of the day during the 24 hour period. Using the automated face recognition system, we can automatically run personalized tasks for every chimpanzee. Additionally we can keep and accumulate record logs of all chimpanzees’ tasks automatically. There is also WISH Cage at Kumamoto Sanctuary, Wildlife Research Center, in Kumamoto Prefecture ( WEB


Research Resource Station

In 2006, the KUPRI also set up ten hectares facility to keep Japanese monkeys in an environment close to their natural habitat, and elucidate their behavioral characteristics. It is named Research Resource Station (RRS) and located about 2 km east of the KUPRI, Inuyama, Japan.

The institute contributes to National Bio-Resource Project (NBRP)† “Nihonzaru,” supported by Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT), which provides purpose-bred Japanese monkeys to research institutes all over Japan.
†The jurisdiction was transferred to Japan Agency for Medical Research and Development (AMED) from MEXT 2015.

Monkeys in the enclosure

The RRS staffs keep trying to improve monkeys’ welfare in captivity, providing various types of enrichment to encourage their natural behavior, such as climbing, leaping, resting, foraging and social interactions.

Hirohisa Hirai, PhD
Director and Professor, Primate Research Institute (KUPRI)

Shirahama Aquarium

Shirahama Aquarium opened to the public in 1930 as a part of the marine biological laboratory One of the few university-operated aquariums in Japan, it features exhibits of invertebrates and fish found in the Nanki Shirahama area. The aquarium holds one of the largest invertebrate collections in Japan, with over 500 species on display throughout the year.