This chapter has examined the literature relevant to the two main aspects of the human relationship with the bear in Japan, both in the wild and in captivity. Firstly, the literature relating to the emerging, multi-disciplinary field of ‘human dimensions’ in wildlife management was examined. Particular reference was made to the way the field informs our understanding of how people perceive animals, and the possible ‘human-related’ barriers that arise to thwart a society’s attempts to successfully manage or conserve wildlife. The human dimension has become an important consideration in the management of carnivores/predators in particular, as they tend to elicit higher levels of fear among humans than other groups of animals, and are therefore more complex to manage from the human- dimensions perspective. The literature highlights some concepts useful in the examination of the phenomenon of human-bear conflict in Japan: for example, the concept of ‘endangered pest’, a species which is endangered, but at the same time causes pestilence, and the recognition that universally, human-wildlife conflict is particularly marked in forest-edge communities. As will be seen in the following chapters, this is also common feature of much human-bear conflict in Japan.

The ethical aspects of human-animal relationships were also examined and the difference in the development of Western and Japanese framework for understanding this aspect were discussed. While in the West a concept of stewardship developed from the notion of there being an unequal relationship between humans and animals, in Japan, where the view of animals was informed by animistic and Buddhist ideas whereby the relationship between animals and humans was equal, the concept of a moral obligation to protect the welfare of animals did not develop. Thus, for example, there is relatively little moralising connected with the treatment of bears and other animals kept in captivity in Japan, and, as will be discussed further in Chapter Five and Ten, people tend instead to empathise with an animal in a more anthropopathic way, using human emotions or descriptors to interpret and comment on what they see. An understanding of the basis of this lack of moralising is important to ensure that when making observations of Japanese attitudes and behaviour relating to bears— particularly of their treatment in captivity—Western values do not become the sole standard by which behaviour and attitudes are judged.


The English literature concerning bear management and conservation is dominated by that relating to North America. A literature search in languages other than English is likely to produce a more varied distribution of literature. While the present author endeavoured to utilise literature from as geographically varied sources as possible, this is a limitation that needs to be noted.


Hoare (1995), Kangwana (1995), Tchamba (1995), Barnes (1996), Western (1997), as cited in Naughton-Treves & Treves, 2005: 253.


This is the definition offered by Manfredo, Vaske & Sikorowski, 1996: 54. As with many concepts, there is no universally accepted definition of the concept of ‘human dimensions’ in wildlife management.


Manfredo et al, 1996: 53; Decker & Chase, 1997: 1. 5

Decker & Chase, 1997: 1. 6

Morris, 1998: 1. 7

Kellert et al, 1996: 987. 8

Naughton-Treves & Treves, 2005: 252. 9

Martin (1995), as cited in Mullin, 1999: 202. 10 Mullin, 1999: 202. 11 Mullin, 1999: 217. 12 Knight, 2000a: 10 13 Rye, 2000: 111. 14

Balmford & Whitten (2003), as cited in Woodroffe, Thirgood, & Rabinowitz, 2005: 405. 15

Reading & Millar, 2000. 16

Knight, 2000a: 13. 17

Knight, 2000a: 2–3. The phenomenon of wildlife subsisting in human spaces is sometimes referred to as ‘commensalism’, and the spaces involved are referred to as ‘commensal habitats’.


Knight, 2000a: 6. 19

Woodroffe, Thirgood, & Rabinowitz, 2005: 389. 20 Gray, 1993. 21 Kellert et al, 1996: 978. 22 Gore et al, 2006b: 37. 23

Kellert (1994), cited in Gore et al, 2006b: 37. 24

Gray, 1993: 116. The ten attitudes Kellert identified are: naturalistic, ecologistic, humanistic, moralistic, scientistic, aesthetic, utilitarian, dominionistic, negativistic and neutralistic.


Gray, 1993: 127. In respect to large predators in North America, Kellert et al (1996) cite research which has found that farmers and ranchers have consistently expressed the most negative attitudes, generally motivated by fear of economic loss (Kellert (1985, 1986, 1991), Brown (1986), and Reading and Kellert (1993), as cited in Kellert et al, 1996: 987). 26 Wolch et al, 1997. 27 Breitenmoser, 1998. 28

Reading & Miller, 2000: 210. 29

Gray, 1993: 126. 30

Hungerford & Volk (1990), as cited in Kellert et al, 1996: 986. 31

Murray (1975), Hook & Robinson (1982), and Kellert (1986), as cited in Kellert et al, 1996: 986. 32

Marker et al, 2003: 1290, 1296–8. 33

Naughton-Treves et al, 2003: 1508. Incidentally, their research on bears and coyotes in the United States indicates that between 11 and 71 per cent of the carnivores killed by trained wildlife-control agents showed no evidence of having been involved in depredations. (Nevertheless, such cullings serve the function of placating the aggrieved victim of pestilence, whether the individual animal was responsible or not.) This result, it is suggested, calls into question the idea of ‘precision’ killings of ‘guilty’ carnivores (Naughton-Treves et al , 2003: 1509).


Knight, 2000a: 10. 35

Zuidema (1985), and Malinowski (1935), 119, as cited in Knight, 2000a: 17. 36

Knight, 2000a: 9–10. 37

Watanabe & Ogura, 1996. 38

Kanzaki et al, 2003: 4, 6, 8. 39

Kanzaki et al, 2003: 8. 40

Approaching the issue from an anthropological perspective, Knight (1999) also explores human-monkey conflict in Japan, focusing particularly on its ‘natural symbolism’.

41 Taylor, 2003: 33–4. 42 Taylor, 2003: 34. 43 Steiner, 2005: 117. 44

Seidensticker, 1989: 17; Tellenbach & Kimura, 1989: 153–4; Stewart-Smith, 1987: 49. 45 Wright, 1969/1970: 248. 46 Stewart-Smith, 1987: 50. 47 Stewart-Smith, 1987: 49. 48 Saitō, 1983: 224; Stewart-Smith, 1987: 49. 49 See Knight, 2003: 39; 79; 185–186. 50

Yoshida, Keene (trans.), 1967: 101–4. 51

Yoshida, Keene (trans.), 1967: 107–8. 52

Taylor, 2003: 45. 53

Hazumi Toshiro , personal communication, June 3, 2005 (Kawasaki). 54

Maita, 1998: 44. 55

Mano & Moll, 1999: 128. 56

Inada, 1977: 605. 57

NHK, June 2003. 58

See Huddle & Reich, 1975; McKean, 1981; Hatakeyama, 2005: 5. 59

Such as the hosting of the CITES (Convention on International Trade of Endangered Species) conference in Kyoto in 1992.

Chapter Three: The bear in culture—global patterns

3.1 Introduction

This chapter will examine how the bear has been perceived and treated by humans throughout history, focusing firstly on bear symbolism and ritualism in Boreal hunting cultures. By examining perceptions and symbolism in a global context, insights can be gained into how the cultural understanding of the bear in Japan fits within cultural perceptions of the bear worldwide. Spiritual significance has been assigned to the bear by northern hemisphere cultures since pre-history, and continuity in bear imagery and rituals has been identified across a wide geographical area. A summary of this literature, predominantly archaeological and anthropological in nature, will be covered in section 3.2. Naturally, the history of the human-bear relationship has not only been one of reverence and symbolism—exploitation and persecution of the bear has also featured prominently in history, and literature relating to this aspect of the human-bear relationship will be addressed in section 3.3. This will be followed by a discussion of the literature concerning the bear, and particularly the bear’s cultural significance, in Japan.

In document The bear as barometer: the Japanese response to human bear conflict (Page 33-36)

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