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History of JES

History of the Japan Ergonomics Society
– From its very beginning to the foundation of the Japan Ergonomics Society as a general corporate juridical body

Ergonomics is a practical and useful technology for society. When a discipline concerned is practical, its course of introduction and development is more influenced by factors such as climate, custom, education and industry in each region to which the discipline is applied. However, the idea of human-centered design, which is the principle of ergonomics, is not limited to where this technology may be applied. This is well represented in the title of the most widely read ergonomics textbook in the world by Professor Grandjean, “Fitting the task to the man (Taylor & Francis).” The idea suggests that tasks or machines should be designed by fitting them to human characteristics, and is the key of ergonomics.

The first issue of the society’s journal “Ergonomics” (1965)

The Japan Ergonomics Society (JES) held its inauguration on December 1, 1964. Those days Japan’s economy was growing by leaps and bounds with average annual economic growth rates of 10%. In 1964, the Tokaido Shinkansen started its operation on October 1 and the Tokyo Olympic Games were opened on October 10. The first issue of the JES journal, “Ergonomics”, (Vol. 1, No. 1) published in January, 1965, featured “Ergonomics in Tokaido Shinkansen.”

The following chronological table shows the events and actions organized by the JES from its very early days in the 1960s, when the JES was founded, to recent times. During this period, the ISO/TC159 ergonomics committee was set up in 1974 to discuss the issue on international standardization of ergonomics, and Japan has greatly contributed to the establishment of these standards as its P member with voting rights since 1986. Besides that, the JES has actively participated in international activities. Tokyo hosted the 8th conference of the International Ergonomics Association (IEA) in 1982, and one of the JES directors, Sadao Sugiyama, was appointed as IEA president in the same year. In 2009, effected by the drastic reform of the public service corporation system in Japan, the JES made a fresh start as a general corporate juridical body, which is an academic society expected to provide public service. It is continuing its efforts to realize a safe and healthy society.

History of the Japan Ergonomics Society

Year events/actions
Sep 1963 Promoters’ meeting for establishment of the JES was held
Dec 1963 General assembly to promote the establishment of the JES and its 1st
workshop were held (Tokyo)
May 1964 The 2nd workshop was held (Osaka)
Dec 1964 The JES was established
Koichi Motokawa was appointed as president
The 3rd workshop was held (Tokyo)
Members: around 530
Jan 1965 The 1st issue of the JES journal “Ergonomics” was published (quarterly)
May 1965 The 4th conference of the JES was held (Sendai)
May 1965 Joined the International Ergonomics Association (IEA) and Masamitsu Oshima assumed its director’s post
Dec 1965 The 5th conference of the JES was held (Tokyo)
Members: around 1000
Jun 1966 The 6th conference of the JES was held (Nagoya)
1974 TC159 (ergonomics committee) was set up in the ISO (International Organization for Standardization) 
Jun 1975 Safety ergonomics group was formed 
Kunie Hashimoto was appointed as its chair
1977 ISO 1503: 1977 “Geometrical orientation and directions of movements,” which the JES played a leading role in proposing, was published as an international standard
Mar 1981 Nursing ergonomics group (preparation group) was formed
Susumu Tsukahara was appointed as the chair of this preparation group
Jun 1981 ISO 6385:1981″Ergonomic principles in the design of work systems, ” an international standard regarding basic principles forergonomic design, was published.
1982 The 8th conference of the IEA was held in Tokyo
1983 The number of universities that have an ergonomics division (or laboratory) or those that provide lectures reached 12 (13 laboratories) and 27, respectively, with a total of 34 different courses (“Ergonomics,” vol. 19 (5) )
Oct 25 1985 Lecture meeting commemorating the 20th anniversary of the JES was held (at Nihon University Kaikan)
“Ergonomics” commemorating the 20th anniversary of the JES was issued(vol21(6) 1985)
1986 Japan became a P member (a member with voting rights) of the ISO/TC159
The JES was assigned to be a domestic institution for deliberation of ISO/TC159 related issues
ISO/TC159 Japan Ergonomics National Committee (JENC) was established in the JES
1987 ISO 1503: 1977 “Geometrical orientation and directions of movements,” which the JES played a leading role in proposing, was published as JIS (Z 8907: 1987)
May 1996 Japan-Korea joint symposium was held for academic exchange between the ergonomics societies of Japan and Korea
1998 Pioneering conference for academic exchange between Japan and Korea was attempted via the internet although internet-based communication was still in its early stage (The 38th conference of the JES)
Aug 2003 Started a certification system for ergonomics specialists
Jun 2009 Conference commemorating the 50th anniversary of the JES was held(Tsukuba)
Jul 2009 The Japan Ergonomics Society as a general corporate juridical body was founded
Mar 2010 All the issues of the JES journal “Ergonomics” from the very first edition became accessible online from the Journal@rchive site
Jun 2010 The 1st annual general meeting of members was held (during the 51st conference of the JES at Hokkaido University)
Mar 2011-
Aug 2011
Messages were sent out to the Tohoku Earthquake victims by the JES.
May 2011 Safety committee of the JES expressed an official statement on the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster.
Feb 2012 Yushi Fujita assumed the vice president & Treasurer of the International Ergonomics
Association (IEA)

Successive presidents

 (from “Outline of movements in members during the 20 years of the JES,” Ergonomics, vol. 21 (3))
 order name term
1st Ko-ichi Motokawa Dec 1 1964 – Mar 31 1967
2nd Ko-ichi Motokawa Apr 1 1967 – Mar 31 1969
3rd Ko-ichi Motokawa Apr 1 1969 – Feb 3 1971
4th Kan-ichi Takagi Apr 13 1971 – Mar 31 1973
5th Masamitsu Oshima Apr 1 1973 – Mar 31 1975
6th Masamitsu Oshima Apr 1 1975 – Mar 31 1977
7th Masamitsu Oshima Apr 1 1977 – Mar 31 1980
8th Masamitsu Oshima Apr 1 1980 – Mar 31 1983
9th Masamitsu Oshima Apr 1 1983 – Mar 31 1986
10th Masamitsu Oshima Apr 1 1986 – Mar 31 1989
11th Masamitsu Oshima Apr 1 1989 – Mar 31 1992
12th Masamitsu Oshima Apr 1 1992 – Mar 31 1995
13th Yoshio Hayashi Apr 1 1995 – Mar 31 1998
14th Takao Okubo Apr 1 1998 – Mar 31 2001
15th Takao Okubo Apr 1 2001 – Mar 31 2004
16th Takao Okubo Apr 1 2004 – Mar 31 2007
17th Susumu Saito
(A general corporate juridical body, 
the Japan Ergonomics Society,was founded on Jul 1, 2009.)
Apr 1 2007 – Jun 30 2009

President of the board

President of the board
order  name term
1st Susumu Saito Jul 1 2009 – Jun 19 2010
2nd Susumu Saito Jun 19 2010 – annual general meeting of members in 2012


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