Research Trip Report, 3rd Unit

“Toward the Kyosei of Humanity, Society, and Nature”

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On May 27, 2014, the 3rd Unit of the Ircp hosted a talk by Yamamura (Seki) Yoko (Ircp Postdoctoral fellow) titled, “Toward the Kyoseiof Humanity, Society, and Nature” at the Toyo University Hakusan Campus (Building6, Meeting room of School of Literature). As part of her research on kyoseimainly as it relates to agriculture and forestry, Yamamura made a trip to Wakayama and Mie Prefectures from May 21–24, 2013, and a second trip to Hyogo and Mie Prefectures from February 11–24, 2014.

Yamamura’s talk summarized her activities and preliminary findings. On her trip to Tanabe City, Wakayama Prefecture, Yamamura collected documents, made observations, and interviewed relatives of Minakata Kumagusu (1867–1941) to learn how his scientific ideas and the protest movement that he launched against shrine consolidation were received by the local community at the time.

 In Iga City, Mie Prefecture, Yamamura reported her observations of an area where local residents had succeeded in addressing the negative impacts of Japanese macaques and reducing the damage done to crops and their livelihoods through “Chasing away by village” , where an entire village unites to remove damages. This strategy is an effective technique for mitigating damage caused by macaques, while at the same time also appeared to provide an opportunity to reorganize the communal society essential to regional creation. In light of the present-day situation, where questions are being raised anew about the establishment of civil society, neoliberal economic development (bearing in mind that the emergence of wildlife damage is a consequence of modernization), and the significance of the connections among humans and between them and nature, wildlife damage management appears to contain a social significance that goes beyond that of simply resolving an issue of agriculture and forestry.

 In Toyooka City, Hyogo Prefecture, Yamamura spoke with people about the status of community farming regarding “Oriental White Stork Friendly Farming Method” and about policies for on reintroducing storks to the wild. One case in particular seemed deeply interesting for thinking about the kyosei (co-existence)between human beings and wild animals. In a community where farmlands devastated by wildlife damage have been recovered and converted into wetlands (registered under the Ramsar Convention) that provide white storks with a feeding ground, there are Japanese deer whose feeding behaviors have helped to sustain those wetlands. However, these deer have also caused tremendous damage to surrounding farmlands, forests, and the surrounding vegetation. These deer pose the dilemma of being animals that are beneficial for economic development on the one hand, but at the same time are also pests.

 In Sasayama City, Hyogo Prefecture, Yamamura conducted observations and interviews regarding communities that have been working to convert wildlife damage and countermeasures against it into positive resources for regional development and redevelopment.

 Yamamura also expressed her gratitude to the many individuals and institutions from whose assistance she benefited on her trips, including the Minakata Kumagusu Archives; the Mie Prefecture Agricultural Research Institute; Division of the Oriental White Stork and Humans, Toyooka City Hall; and the Kobe University Sasayama Field Station. Finally, she thanked Toyo University for providing the venue for her to make her report. Kyosei study for Wildlife management will contribute much to the Kyosei research of 3rd Unit. 2