Saturday, September 28, 2013

"How a children's cartoon destroyed Japanese agriculture"

An article by that title was just sent to me by Christopher Blosser. It relates how a popular anime TV program in Japan called Araiguma Rasukaru, about a kid and his adorable raccoon sidekick (based on the popular Disney movie Rascal), led to a disastrous surge of imports of North American racoons as intended pets in Japan, which, in turn, led to one of the worst invasive species events in Japan, with estimated agricultural damage of approximately US$300,000 per year on the island of Hokkaido alone.

However, Japanese interest in the lowly raccoon antedates the anime by upwards of a century. Sapporo's famed shopping arcade Tanuki Koji, named for the animal and with a shrine honoring it in the middle of the arcade, is commonly known as Sapporo's oldest shopping area, dating from the late 1800s. Some shops there have been in business for 100 years. It's an amazing place, burgeoning wish all sorts of shops, from clothing stores to the nationally famous "Sapporo Ramen" and "Jingisukan" shops.

How amusing.

[Hat tip to C.B.]


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