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Chimpanzee Culture WarsRethinking Human Nature alongside Japanese, European, and American Cultural Primatologists$
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Nicolas Langlitz

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9780691204284

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: May 2021

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691204284.001.0001

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Japanese Syntheses

Japanese Syntheses

Chapter:
(p.194) 5 Japanese Syntheses
Source:
Chimpanzee Culture Wars
Author(s):

Nicolas Langlitz

Publisher:
Princeton University Press
DOI:10.23943/princeton/9780691204284.003.0007

This chapter details how Pan and Homo came to share a life in the Japanese laboratory. Tetsuro Matsuzawa's Ai Project, named after his most famous nonhuman “research partner,” began as the Japanese ape language project in 1976. But it soon morphed into a much broader comparative cognitive science program that provided a new face to Japanese primatology in the post-Imanishi era. For both methodological and ethical reasons, Matsuzawa sought to square tight experimental control with maximizing the captive chimpanzees' freedom to show spontaneous behavior. The often violent nature of chimpanzee social life strictly limited how much humans could take part. At Kumamoto Sanctuary, however, younger researchers from Matsuzawa's lineage had repurposed participant observation to apply delicate measuring instruments such as EEG caps or head-mounted eye tracker goggles to otherwise unruly apes. Thus, a new generation of Japanese primatologists integrated high-tech laboratory experiments, field observations in the laboratory, and participant observation — and eventually extended this synthetic primatology to the field.

Keywords:   Tetsuro Matsuzawa, Ai Project, Japanese ape language, Japanese primatology, chimpanzees, chimpanzee social life, Kumamoto Sanctuary, Japanese primatologists, synthetic primatology

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