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The Return of the Crested IbisIshi Hiroyuki

Kin, Japan’s last crested ibis born in the wild, died in 2003. Her demise did not mean the extinction of the species, however, as researchers in China were successfully breeding other wild crested ibises that they had discovered earlier. This article explores the relationship between the Japanese people and the crested ibis, Nipponia nippon.
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Autumn Crown of Gold: Three Ancient Japanese Ginkgo TreesTakahashi Hiroshi

Ichō (ginkgo) provide spectacular late autumn leaf viewing, putting on vivid displays of golden foliage. Japanese have long valued this unique, hardy species of tree, and impressive old-growth specimens are found across the country in such settings as Shintō shrines, public parks, and along roadways. Below we visit three ancient specimens decked out in their seasonal yellow splendor.
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Autumn in Tokyo: A Yellow Canopy at Meiji Shrine (Japan in Photos)

A man and child stroll under the deep yellow autumn leaves of ginkgo trees at the Meiji Shrine outer gardens in Tokyo on November 13, 2017. The annual ginkgo festival will be held at the gardens from November 17 to December 3. (© Jiji)
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Crane on the Rubbish Heap: The Challenges of Continuing ConservationIshi Hiroyuki

Hokkaidō now has the world’s largest population of red-crowned cranes, but this has also created a dilemma. While the birds are no longer endangered, they are proving a menace to farmers who complain that they are destroying their crops. Is there a way for the cranes and human beings to coexist?
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Ancient Colors: Three Old-Growth Trees in AutumnTakahashi Hiroshi

In autumn, Japan’s wooded areas delight the eyes with a vibrant display of seasonal colors. Old-growth giants, known as kyoju, also join the spectacle and frequently steal the show, brightening shrines, public parks, and roadways with their stunning foliage.
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A Thousand Cranes Take FlightIshi Hiroyuki

The red-crowned crane has long been revered in Japan as an auspicious bird. Once the cranes could be found throughout the country, but overhunting in the early years of Japan’s modern era decimated their numbers until they disappeared altogether on the main island of Honshū. Fortunately, extensive conservation efforts have brought back the beloved bird from near extinction. Where at one point there were only 33 red-crowned cranes confirmed in Japan, there are now 1,800.
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In Photographic Pursuit of Hokkaidō’s Rare Owls (Photos)Tanaka Hiroshi

The shimafukurō, one of the world’s largest owl species, was once thought extinct in Japan and is still considered endangered. Tanaka Hiroshi has been focusing his camera on these magnificent raptors in his native Hokkaidō for over two and a half decades.
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Naming the PandasNippon.com Staff

A panda cub at Tokyo’s Ueno Zoo has been seizing Japanese headlines ever since its birth in June 2017. Amid much fanfare, its name was announced on September 25 as Shan Shan. Or should that be Xiang Xiang? As symbols of Sino-Japanese cooperation, the animals’ names fall into something of a gray area between the two languages. Ueno Zoo now has three pandas. The cub’s mother is Shin Shin and the …
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Taiji in Wakayama Prefecture: The World in Miniature

Filmmaker Sasaki Megumi’s latest work was seven years in the making. A Whale of a Tale is a documentary about the town of Taiji in Wakayama Prefecture, notorious for its annual dolphin slaughter. The film sheds new light not only on the controversy about Japan’s whaling program but also on the nature of the clashes and polarizations between different worldviews in recent years.
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Wind and Rain: Three Ancient Trees in Typhoon SeasonTakahashi Hiroshi

Autumn brings stunning shades of foliage. But it is also the bearer of typhoons, those age-old and ruthless scourges of the forest. Ancient trees in regions where storms frequently pass have over the centuries girded themselves against the tempests by sending their roots out broad and deep and strengthening their limbs against the wind and rain. In our ongoing series on old-growth trees, we visit three venerable specimens that have been shaped by typhoons.
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