Assistant Professor

Department of Geography, Archaeology, and Cultural Heritage

E-mail: leahrieusui[at]

Research Fields

My research interests lie in the overlapping areas of Animal Geography and Human-Animal Studies. How do we place animals in relation to physical and conceptual space, and what ethical implications can we draw from such placement of animals in a society? These are some essential questions that lead my research. I conduct fieldwork mainly in Japan while focusing on a wide range of free-ranging ‘wild’ animals such as monkeys, deer and rabbits.

Research Keywords

Research Outline

I study human-animal relations, particularly focusing on free-ranging ‘wild’ animals in tourism space. During my doctoral research, I analyzed how ‘wildlife’ is socially constructed using the concept of boundary. In my current research, I examine tourist-rabbit interactions at Ōkunoshima Island and try to provide ethical insight into contemporary tourism activities. Besides my individual research, I have been conducting collaborative research at Takasakiyama and Jigokudani, where monkeys are the subject of tourism. I am also interested in developing an improved methodology for better understanding of human-animal relations.

Research Achievements

  • Usui, R. & Funck, C. (2017). Not quite wild, but not domesticated either: contradicting management decisions on free-roaming sika deer (Cervus nippon) at two tourism sites in Japan. In I. Borges de Limar & R.J. Green (Eds.). Wildlife tourism, Environmental Learning and Ethical Encounters, Geoheritage, Geoparks and Geotourism. Springer Publisher: Switzerland. pp. 247-261.
  • Usui, R. & Funck, C. (2018). Analysing food-derived interactions between tourists and sika deer (Cervus nippon) at Miyajima in Hiroshima, Japan: implications for the physical health of the deer in an anthropogenic environment. Journal of Ecotourism 17(1), 67-78.
  • Usui, R., Wei, X., & Funck, C. (2018). The power of social media in regional tourism development: a case study from Ōkunoshima Island in Hiroshima, Japan. Current Issues in Tourism 21(18), 2052-2056.
  • Usui, R., Sheeran, L.K., Li, J.H., Sun, L., Wang, X., Pritchard, A.J., DuVall-Lash, A.S., & Wagner, R.S. (2014). Park rangers’ behaviors and their effects on tourists and Tibetan macaques (Macaca thibetana) at Mt. Huangshan, China. Animals 4, 546-561.
  • Adewumi, I., Nguyen, V.H., Funk, C., & Usui, R. (2019). A cross-national comparative study on collaborative management of national parks. Parks 25(1), 69-82.