Emperor, Empress inspect Prince's research project; royals pan out across the capital
Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko of Japan visited Chulalongkorn University yesterday morning to inspect a Japan-Thai joint research project initiated
by their second son, Prince Akishino.
Japanese Emperor Akihito visits sonís science project at Chulalongkorn University.
The project, which studies multi-dimensional relationships between humans and chickens, features an exhibition of chicken specimens collected by Prince Akihito, who holds a PhD in ornithology, the study of birds.
It was Their Majesties' second visit to Chulalongkorn, the first being in 1964. On arrival, the Emperor and Empress were welcomed by the chairperson of the university's council, its president and vice president, and student representatives, displaying the flags of Japan and Thailand.
Also granted an audience with the Emperor and Empress were 59 distinguished guests from the Japan-Thai Politics Club and well-known figures who studied in Japan, including caretaker Finance Minister Thanong Bidaya, Dr Praves Wasi, Pichai Vassanasong, Kobkarn Kavitanond, and Prateep Ungsongtham Hata.
Escorted by Thai researchers led by Professor Pairash Thajchayapong and Associate Professor Wina Mekvichai, the Emperor and Empress were told that the project focuses on four major aspects of the relationship between humans and chickens: anthropology, biology and ecology, geography, and economics.
"The project is based on Prince Akishino's assumptions concerning the relationships between humans, domesticated chickens and wild fowl," Wina said.
The centrepiece of the project is Prince Akishino's chicken collection, gathered in the course of work on the project, which
began in 2003 under the
royal patronage of Her Royal Highness Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn.
Specimens were collected from the Mae Fa Luang, Mae Sai, and Mae Chan districts of Chiang Rai province.
They include skins, skeletons, and shanks of Gai Tang, or decoy chickens - a hybrid of red jungle fowl - and Gai Chon, or fighting cocks.
The project aims to help explain the multi-dimensional relationships between humans and chickens in various aspects such as genetic diversity, reproduction, culture, and economic impact.
The Emperor and Empress showed enthusiastic interest in the exhibition, especially when seeing photos of Prince Akishino interviewing local residents and collecting specimens during a visit last year.
The exhibition is on display at Chulalongkorn University's Natural History Museum. In August 2001, Prince and Princess Akishino officially visited the museum when Prince Akishino received an honorary doctorate in biological science from the university.