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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 Hawaii Scholarship Online: November 2016

DOI: 10.21313/hawaii/9780824834289.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM HAWAII SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.hawaii.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Hawaii University Press, 2018. All Rights Reserved. Under the terms of the licence agreement, an individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in HSO for personal use (for details see www.universitypressscholarship.com/page/privacy-policy).date: 22 November 2018

Tokyo’s Vermin Menace

Tokyo’s Vermin Menace

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

Peter Wynn Kirby

University of Hawai'i Press

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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