Imanishi thought that direct observation of animals based on individual identification was essential for recording animal interactions.
After several trials using the method with different mammals, Imanishi and his colleagues selected Japanese macaques as study subjects of animal society. They scattered sweet potatoes, wheat, and soybeans in an open area to attract the macaques. This is called “provisioning”: feeding study subjects so that researchers observe them in close proximity.*
*After the war, Imanishi returned to Kyoto University as an unpaid lecturer and, in 1947 he began behavioral observation with identification of semi-wild horses in Cape Toi. He encountered groups of wild Japanese macaques there, and found that the macaque groups made more suitable subjects for his research. In 1952, his students succeeded in provisioning of macaques at Kojima Island in Miyazaki and Takasaki Mountain in Oita, where sociological studies of Japanese macaques based on individual identification began. [Editorial note]
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