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Since 1957

Primates is the oldest English-language Primatology journal, published by the Japan Monkey Centre (JMC) through Springer in collaboration with Primate Society Japan.

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Kawakami F, Tomonaga M, Suzuki J (2016) The first smile: spontaneous smiles in newborn Japanese macaques (Macaca fuscata).

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October 29, 2016
World lemur festival has started in Madagascar in 2014, and ever since it has cerebrated each year all around the world. It takes place the last week of October every year for one week. People can learn and come to like the lemurs even more through the workshop and other events. Japan Monkey Centre support this idea, and this year we are going to have our own World lemur festival at Japan Monkey Centre.
September 08, 2016
Exclusive Guided Tour by and for Mountain Enthusiasts
Prof. Tetsuro Matsuzawa gave an exclusive tour to an honored guest: Mr. Isamu Tatsuno, the founder of Montbell and ... (Continue reading)
September 06, 2016
Joint International Symposium
The 6th International Symposium on Primatology and Wildlife Science and The 5th CCT-Bio International Workshop on Tropical Biodiversity and Conservation

Journal Monkey
In celebration of its 60th anniversary, the Japan Monkey Centre (JMC) proudly announces the revival of the '(re)brand-new' journal Monkey. Monkey, first appeared in 1957 and was published regularly by the JMC until 2001. In 2016, the 60th year since the founding of the JMC, the center will recommence publishing the journal Monkey, subtitled 'From Primatology to Wildlife Science.' The revitalized journal format will comprise 20+ pages featuring many color photographs. The new Monkey, with editions to appear quarterly, promises to be even more fascinating, informative, and fun. To subscribe, and/or for further information, please visit: j-monkey.jp

Please visit j-monkey.jp for further information

Symbolic Representation and Working Memory in Chimpanzees

Video clip for AAAS lecture "Ai and Ayumu" / 4 min 50 sec long ©Primate Research Institute, Kyoto University
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Izumi, A Former-JMC Monkey Became A Mother

A baby Japanese macaque was born March 18, 2016 at Regenstein Macaque Forest, Lincoln Park Zoo, Chicago. Congratulations! See adorable photos of the baby cuddling with Izumi on http://www.lpzoo.org/

Photos © Jillian Braun / Lincoln Park Zoo

Zoo-danamo (Zoouniversity 6)

Mar. 24 Updated: many thanks to all who supported and attended at Zoouniversity 6, and HERE's the photo report. Please check it out.

The Japan Monkey Centre (JMC) is proud to host this year's annual meeting of the Zoouniversity, on Sunday, March 20th, 2016. JMC hopes many of you will attend.

The 60th annual conference

Date: January 30th - 31st, 2016
Venue: Visitor Center and Seminar House Hakutei@ Japan Monkey Centre

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The Latest News, Direct from the JMC Zoo

Our Zoo caretakers are running a large number of projects aimed at improving the living space of our captive primates, and so to maximise their physical/psychological well-being. Here we report the latest news from our ongoing projects.

Melon the infant siamang: successfully reunited with her parents
April 23rd, 2015

The Japan Monkey Centre has housed siamangs (Symphalangus syndactylus) for over half a decade, since 1959. The family lineage stretches back across four generations. In November 2014, a female infant siamang named ‘Melon’ was transferred to be human-reared when she was two months old. Melon's father began carrying her from very early on, and this actually made it more difficult for her mother to care for her. Her father was careful with Melon, but at that age she needed milk from her mother to sustain her. Her mother did not try to take her back and so could not offer breast-feeding. As a result, Melon became severely weakened. We have been trying very hard, recently, to reunite her with her parents.
June 10th, 2015

Melon, the infant siamang, and her parents have gradually made progress, step by step. They got used to the outdoor enclosure (Melon's former home), and to spending time together, a little bit at a time. Meanwhile, our Zoo caretakers increased the number of hanging supports in the enclosure (made out of fire-hose). Mimicking hanging vines (etc.) in their natural environment, the hanging loops of fire-hose provide flexible structure that the siamangs can easily grab and brachiate between. Brachiation is the natural movement siamangs use to move through the tree-tops: swinging from hold to hold by their long arms. The fire-hose increases the complexity of the enclosure, especially high-up and it also provides a good surface for the young siamang to grip onto securely. Finally, Melon is spending all day every day with her family. For the last three days all has gone well.

Director's Welcome

The discipline of Primatology started in Japan on December 3rd, 1948. The late Kinji Imanishi (1902-1992) and his two students, from Kyoto University, went to Koshima Island to observe wild Japanese monkeys. By studying the social behavior of this monkey they aimed to understand the evolutionary origins of human society.

Most people may not realise that there are no species of monkeys or apes native to North America or Europe. Among G7 member state countries, Japan is unique. Japan has an indigenous species of monkey, called the Japanese or snow monkey, benefiting the study of nonhuman primates here.

Primatology is the scientific study of all primates, including humans. In order to understand ourselves as humans, it is essential to study our closest living relatives; people are keen to discover more about apes, monkeys, and prosimians such as lemurs.Thanks to the pioneering efforts of Kyoto University scholars, primatology in Japan began uniquely through fieldwork on the native wild monkeys.

Japanese primatologists worked together to help create the Japan Monkey Centre (JMC). It was founded on October 17th, 1956. The JMC aims to promote research, education, conservation, welfare, and communication to the public regarding nonhuman primates. JMC became a 'Public Interest Incorporated Foundation' from April 2014.

The JMC is also a registered museum, since 1957 producing the journal, “Primates”, now the oldest Primatology journal written in English. Primates is a leading journal in the discipline, published by Springer in collaboration with Primate Society Japan (PSJ). The JMC also runs a unique zoo, specializing in nonhuman primates, with over 1,000 individuals representing 67 (as of 2014) different species.

This is the official website of JMC, with information about ongoing projects and news updates, in English. Join us for a window onto the world of nonhuman primates. Through observing nonhuman primates we can develop a better appreciation of our place within nature, a keener desire to understand the evolutionary origins of human society and behavior.

October 15th, 2014 in Kyoto
Tetsuro Matsuawa
General Director, Japan Monkey Centre
Editor-in-chief, PRIMATES
Professor, Kyoto University
President, International Primatological Society


Kazuo OIKE
General Director
Museum Director
Gen'ichi IDANI (Itani)
Zoo Director

Our History

60th Anniversary
Koshima, the Beginning of Primatology in Japan

The discipline of Primatology started in Japan on December 3rd, 1948. The late Kinji Imanishi (1902-1992) and his two students, from Kyoto University, went to Koshima Island to observe wild Japanese monkeys.

Photo © Primate Research Institute, Kyoto University / Itani Junichiro Archives

Sweet-Potato Washing

Sweet-potato washing among Koshima monkeys was first observed.

Photo © Primate Research Institute, Kyoto University / Itani Junichiro Archives

The Japan Monkey Centre (JMC)

JMC was founded on October 17th to promote research, education, conservation, welfare, and communication to the public regarding nonhuman primates.

The first Annual Meeting of Primates Studies held.

Photos © Primate Research Institute, Kyoto University / Itani Junichiro Archives

Journal of Primatology PRIMATES

The Japan Monkey Centre (JMC) began the journal, "Primates", now the oldest Primatology journal written in English.

First Time Africa

The JMC initiated the first expedition to Africa to study wild gorillas and chimpanzees in the February of this year.

An additional aim of the expedition was to meet with researchers at many different institutions around the world.

Photo: Dr. Carpenter (right), holding the very first issue of the Journal Primates, with Dr. Imanishi (left).

Photos © Primate Research Institute, Kyoto University / Itani Junichiro Archives

Drs Itani and Goodall

The JMC sent Dr. Junichiro Itani on the third expedition to Africa. On September 29th, Dr. Itani arrived at Gombe and met with Dr. Jane Goodall.

Photo: from left to right: Drs Azuma, Imanishi, Itani, and Goodall (1961).
© Primate Research Institute, Kyoto University / Itani Junichiro Archives


Dr. Toshisada Nishida succeeded in establishing the, now, second longest running wild chimpanzee research site at Mahale Mountains in western Tanzania.

Primate Research Institute
Primate Research Institute

The Primate Research Institute (PRI) was established near to the JMC, with the help of JMC researchers. They joined PRI and played a vital role in managing PRI in the early days.

© Primate Research Institute, Kyoto University / Takeshi Furuichi


The JMC funded Dr. Kosei Izawa to launch the first Japanese expedition to the Amazon .

Beginning of a New Endeavor

The Japan Monkey Centre (JMC) became a 'Public Interest Incorporated Foundation ' from April 2014. JMC is now in the 59th year and still getting better.

Since 1957


The oldest English-language Primatology journal

Primates is the oldest English-language Primatology journal, published by the Japan Monkey Centre (JMC) through Springer in collaboration with Primate Society Japan. The object of this journal is to facilitate the research on the entire aspect of nonhuman primates in connection with man. Museum section of JMC is taking on the role of delegating editorial board members/advisory board members/editor-in-chief, hosting editorial board meeting, and editorial operation of the journal PRIMATES.

Afterword of Volume 1, Issue 1 of Primates, October 25, 1957

Currently, there is no journal specializing in primatology; I declare that this is the very first primatology journal. Isn't this exciting? First of all, primatology department is non-existent in any university of the world, and therefore there is nothing such as an academic society for primatology. The modification in the operation of academic authority is evidenced by the fact that the Japan Monkey Centre (JMC) introduced the publication of this specialized journal, skipping the normal course of development, which is to begin by establishing a department at a university, followed by organizing an academic society, and then publishing a journal. The term "primatology" can be translated as "reichourui-gaku" in Japanese. But, we do not prefer such a difficult, orotund name. The primatology that we envision is a new scholarly endeavor to comprehensively investigate, so to speak, the genealogical history of humankind, by comparatively studying primates situated in various phylogenetic statuses, from various academic fields from the perspectives of not only morphology and development, but also physiology, psychology, ecology, sociology, and so forth.

It is from this standpoint that we conceived, an idea of gathering various primate species from around the world in a zoo that is expected to be built under the supervision of the JMC; we do not recklessly expand our research focus to include animals that do not share recent common genealogy with humankind. In this first volume, only articles that are based on naturalistic observations of Japanese monkeys could be included, but this journal seeks to gradually fulfill all the aforementioned ambitions. On the other hand, I request contributions from outside the country and promotion of the journal, until it achieves global recognition. I might have made too many irresponsible remarks, but I just want things to proceed in a lively manner, anticipating a bright future for us. Therefore, I sincerely ask your support and cooperation.

Kinji Imanishi


Plan Your Visit

Become a Member

Tomo-no-kai membership

Sign up as a Member: Tomo-no-kai

Tomo-no-kai membership provides great benefits and privileges throughout the year. As a member you get free admission to the JMC, free parking, and special access to members-only events.

Admission Prices

Adult600 yen

Elementary and junior high school student
400 yen

Preschool child (age 3 and over)
300 yen

Under 2'sFree


Regular vehicle

From Mar to mid-Dec1,000 yen

From mid-Dec to Feb500 yen

Bus/microbus1,500 yen


Opening Hours

November - February10:00 - 16:00

March - October10:00 - 17:00

Days Closed Tuesday and Wednesday

Japan Monkey Centre (JMC) is closed every Tuesday and Wednesday. Additionally, JMC is closed weekdays in February. * Open on public holidays.



Address: 26 Kanrin, Inuyama, Aichi 484-0081 JAPAN

20-minute walk from Inuyama Station on the Meitetsu Inuyama Line.

To Inuyama Station
From Meitetsu-Nagoya Station
About 25 minutes by the Rapid Limited Express (Kaisoku Tokkyu) or Limited Express (Tokkyu).
From Central Japan International Airport Station
About 55 minutes by μSKY Limited Express (Myu Sukai)

For further info, see Map and Transportation Guide @ INUYAMA Tourists Information Center Website



Visitor Center

Experienced staff are always on-hand to tell visitors about the JMC and to answer any questions. We have information displays and also taxidermist specimens and skeletons of nonhuman primates. We hold special exhibitions on a wide variety of different themes.

Madagascar House

This outdoor enclosure is in the form of an island ringed by a deep moat, allowing the inhabitants to roam freely. Living on the island-enclosure are three different species of lemurs found in the wild only in Madagascar: brown lemurs, black lemurs, and ruffed lemurs.

South American House

Here you can see the tiny Callitrichidae monkeys that come from South America. The indoor enclosure is maintained at a temperature of about 25°C to simulate tropical jungle conditions. There is also a special room where day and night are reversed: during our daytime it is their night-time. Nocturnal monkeys can be seen moving about energetically during our daytime.

Asian House

Japanese macaques, also known as the snow monkeys, and living at the northern limit of the global range of all nonhuman primates, can be seen here, along with other Asian monkeys such as rhesus macaques.

Wao Land

You can enter this outdoor enclosure and experience a close encounter with free-moving ring-tailed lemurs.

African Center

One of the star attractions at the JMC is a family of chimpanzees, rejuvenated recently by birth of baby chimpanzee, Mamoru, last year. Around sunset, you can see gorillas gathering to search for their evening meal, parts of which will have been hidden earlier in various places within the enclosure by the staff. You can also see nocturnal monkeys here.

African House

Here you can see brightly-colored monkeys including, hamadryas baboons. Colobus monkeys show their strikingly beautiful black and white markings.

Castle of Baboons

Over seventy Anubis baboons can be watched from this rooftop viewing deck.

Monkey Valley

From this observation platform, you can see 160 Japanese Yaku-macaques living in a 4,000 m2 valley. From the winter solstice until the end of February, on weekends and holidays, see Japanese Yaku-macaques warming themselves by a real bonfire. The tradition of lighting bonfires for the monkeys began in 1957, after Japanese Yaku-macaques were observed to gather around the fires lit by staff to burn fallen trees following the Isewan Typhoon. This new ‘bonfire-season’ soon became established as a well-known, and cherished, annual event.

Big Loop
Monkey skyway
Squirrel monkey land

Monkey Scramble

Here, you can see siamangs brachiating (moving by swinging arm by arm) at a height of 15 meters (Big loop), Geoffroy's spider monkeys moving back and forth across a 100 meter long suspension bridge (Monkey skyway). Our Zoo caretakers regularly hand out information under the ‘Monkey skyway’. Don't forget to look up to see one of the must-see sights at the JMC. However, don't forget to keep an eye out for and avoid falling monkey excrement! Bolivian squirrel monkeys can be seen moving freely within the dense undergrowth on a small, nearby island (Squirrel monkey land).

Gibbons' House

Here you can see four different species of gibbons found in the wild in Southeast Asia: agile gibbons, capped gibbons, white-handed gibbons, and muller's gibbons.

Petting Zoo KIDS ZOO

You can enjoy petting about thirty different species of cute/creepy animals.

Educational Activities

In 1957 the Japan Monkey Centre (JMC) was registered as a museum, officially recognized under Japanese law. From that year on, the JMC has carried out a huge variety of different educational projects to promote nonhuman primates. We have aimed these projects at a wide range of audiences: children and students of all ages, teachers, zoo staff, and academic researchers.
Lectures on particular themes are held regularly by our experienced curators in lecture-theatres seating up to 200 people. The JMC also offers a number of zoo-based activities: guided tours, craft workshops, and other ‘hands-on’ events. There are even some programs available allowing students to gain valuable work experience.


By veteran curators, free 30 minute talks introducing their research themes

PRIMATES Conference

Annual Meetings of Primates Studies, Hosted by JMC
Next: The 61th
The 61st Primates Conference will be held from Saturday January 28 to Sunday January 29, 2017. See Detail
The 60th in 2016

January 30th - 31st, 2016

Read More
The 59th in 2015

January 31st - February 1st, 2015

Read More


Database of Captive Primate Collection
As a museum, the Japan Monkey Centre (JMC) is dedicated to maintain and catalogue stored specimens of the remains of dead animals. The database of our Captive Primate Collection (CaPriCo) will eventually provide detailed information for over 6,300 individual specimens stored at the JMC.
A sub-set of the information on skeletal specimens is already available. We are currently attempting to secure additional funding, to allow us to input and make available all data on skeletal and formalin-preserved specimens of brains, digestive organs and parasite specimens.
Observing the Daily Life of Wild Nonhuman Primates
One of our foremost goals is to introduce visitors to the world of wild nonhuman primates. In our view, it is essential that all JMC staff be familiar with the life of nonhuman primates in the wild. The JMC sends staff members to many locations where populations of nonhuman primates live in the wild, including: Koshima Island, Japan; Yakushima Island, Japan; and Tanzania, Africa.
Through observing wild nonhuman primates in their natural habitat, we gather ideas of how best to enhance our captive animals' living environment: by bringing the possible actions as close as possible to that of their counterparts living in the wild.
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