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Books > History > Asia > Japan > 0295988142
  1. The Lost Wolves of Japan (Weyerhaeuser Environmental Books)
    The Lost Wolves of Japan (Weyerhaeuser Environmental Books)
    The Lost Wolves of Japan (Weyerhaeuser Environmental Books)
    The Lost Wolves of Japan (Weyerhaeuser Environmental Books)
    Image(s) provided for illustrative purposes and may differ from the actual product
  2. The Lost Wolves of Japan (Weyerhaeuser Environmental Books)

    [0295988142]
    Delivery: 10-20 Working Days
    Customer Ratings (5 reviews)
    Price R682.00

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Additional Information

Many Japanese once revered the wolf as Oguchi no Magami, or Large-Mouthed Pure God, but as Japan began its modern transformation wolves lost their otherworldly status and became noxious animals that needed to be killed. By 1905 they had disappeared from the country. In this spirited and absorbing narrative, Brett Walker takes a deep look at the scientific, cultural, and environmental dimensions of wolf extinction in Japan and tracks changing attitudes toward nature through Japan's long history.

Grain farmers once worshiped wolves at shrines and left food offerings near their dens, beseeching the elusive canine to protect their crops from the sharp hooves and voracious appetites of wild boars and deer. Talismans and charms adorned with images of wolves protected against fire, disease, and other calamities and brought fertility to agrarian communities and to couples hoping to have children. The Ainu people believed that they were born from the union of a wolflike creature and a goddess.

In the eighteenth century, wolves were seen as rabid man-killers in many parts of Japan. Highly ritualized wolf hunts were instigated to cleanse the landscape of what many considered as demons. By the nineteenth century, however, the destruction of wolves had become decidedly unceremonious, as seen on the island of Hokkaido. Through poisoning, hired hunters, and a bounty system, one of the archipelago's largest carnivores was systematically erased.

The story of wolf extinction exposes the underside of Japan's modernization. Certain wolf scientists still camp out in Japan to listen for any trace of the elusive canines. The quiet they experience reminds us of the profound silence that awaits all humanity when, as the Japanese priest Kenko taught almost seven centuries ago, we "look on fellow sentient creatures without feeling compassion."

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Specifications

Country
USA
Author
Brett L. Walker
Binding
Paperback
EAN
9780295988146
ISBN
9780295988146
IsEligibleForTradeIn
1
Label
Univ of Washington Press
Manufacturer
Univ of Washington Press
NumberOfItems
1
NumberOfPages
360
PublicationDate
2008-03-14
Publisher
Univ of Washington Press
Studio
Univ of Washington Press
Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Great book. It places a cultural study of Japanese wolves in a carefully considered historical context from which the reader is allowed to draw some significant concerns about America's own treatment of wolves and exactly what that treatment implies about our national character (or lack of character) and our entire relationship with nature since our arrival on this continent. It is an informative and intriguing read even for those who don't think about the plight of wolves very often.
We don’t always get the book we expect. I expected Walker’s book to be something like the 1880 classic “British Animals Extinct Within Historic Times”, in which J. E. Harting bemoans the disappearance “beyond recall” of wild boars, bears, and wolves. (He was wrong: wild boars are back in Great Britain, and there is talk of reintroducing the wolf.) In lively writing Harting describes the animals, their range and habits, humans’ wars against them, and accounts of both real and legendary last individuals. He never blames anyone but the British for wiping out their large animals.

Walker takes a different tack. Reading like a 1993 term paper for an environmental studies class, blame for the demise of Japanese wolves is laid almost entirely on the West. This relies on the easy answer that modern humans – and especially modern humans viewed as “technological” – are solely responsible for extinctions and other... Read more
If you are interested in wolves, the mechanics of extinction, or the relationship of the Japanese people to the environment, this is a fascinating read. The spiritual and cultural relationship between the Japanese wolf and the Japanese people is explored in this well-written volume. Illustrations enhance the text, and the author's own experiences with wolves in the American west are relevant and provide a contrast to his experiences researching the history of the disappearance of wolves and wild dogs in Japan.
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