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Troubled NaturesWaste, Environment, Japan$
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Peter Wynn Kirby

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780824834289

Published to University Press Scholarship Online: November 2016

DOI: 10.21313/hawaii/9780824834289.001.0001

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date: 19 August 2017

Tokyo’s Vermin Menace

Tokyo’s Vermin Menace

Chapter:
(p.85) Chapter 5 Tokyo’s Vermin Menace
Source:
Troubled Natures
Author(s):

Peter Wynn Kirby

Publisher:
University of Hawai'i Press
DOI:10.21313/hawaii/9780824834289.003.0005

This chapter examines how karasu, swooping black jungle crows known for their voracious appetites and jarring cries, became a part of Tokyo's environment that most local residents did not want. The karasu population had ballooned largely in proportion to the pronounced increase of household waste in Japan since the high-speed growth of the 1980s. Karasu, which fed off of domestic waste left out for community collection, occasionally attacked residents. This chapter considers how karasu emerged as a nuisance out of Tokyo's waste predicament and how the local government addressed the problem. It also discusses the ways that karasu, as part of the archipelago's own emergent ecology, can easily subvert Japanese idealized constructions of “nature” and order. Finally, it illustrates the role of humans in creating and exacerbating the karasu epidemic.

Keywords:   karasu, Tokyo, environment, waste, Japan, ecology, nature

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