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Japanese Natural Farming Guru Kawaguchi Yoshikazu

For decades now, Kawaguchi Yoshikazu has been challenging conventional agricultural wisdom by rejecting not only chemicals but also machinery, organic fertilizer, and tillage. We asked Kawaguchi to share his wisdom on natural farming and stewardship of the planet.

The Recovery of the Short-Tailed Albatross: A Preservation Success StoryIshi Hiroyuki

Once believed to be extinct, the short-tailed albatross was rediscovered by meteorological observatory staff on the remote island of Torishima. The discovery set in motion extensive efforts to protect and preserve the species, led by a man who has dedicated his life to the project.

Islands Apart: Three Ancient Woodland “Castaways”Takahashi Hiroshi

Japan’s far-flung islands are home to an impressive number of kyoju, or old-growth trees. Like the famed Jōmon Sugi on Yakushima, these sentinels of the forest have flourished in the warm climate and fresh ocean air, spreading root and limb over centuries to become burly giants. Below we visit three of these ancient titans.

The Short-Tailed Albatross: A Majestic Bird Driven to the Brink of ExtinctionIshi Hiroyuki

Its trusting nature and lack of agility on the ground has long made the albatross easy prey for humans. Whole colonies were once massacred for their soft down feathers, driving the species to near-extinction. The first of a set of articles on this bird looks at the early, disastrous history of its interaction with the Japanese.

Team Making Gaza Garbage into Fuel Wins Japanese-Hosted Contest (News)

Gaza, Aug. 16 (Jiji Press)—A team that developed a device to produce biogas and liquid manure from garbage has won a business contest hosted by young Japanese people in the self-governing Palestinian territory of Gaza. The team, Ecohome, was awarded a prize of ¥500,000. In Gaza, how to dispose of garbage has been a serious social problem amid a shortage of landfill areas. The contest, the se…

Cormorant Fishing: An Ancient Tradition to Mark Each New SummerSawabe Kai

Cormorant fishing, a method that involves lighting a fire to lure sweetfish and catching them with tamed cormorants, is today a popular tourist attraction that marks the beginning of summer in Japan. This is the story of the men and birds involved in Japan’s most famous cormorant fishing on the Nagara River.

Prized Visitors or Pests? Learning to Live with Japan’s Wild GeeseIshi Hiroyuki

The number of white-fronted geese increased 33-fold in half a century, but farmers saw them as a pest. A pioneering initiative in their largest wintering ground, Izunuma in Miyagi Prefecture, is helping geese and people to live side by side.

Another Fine Feathered Mess You’ve Gotten Us Into: Duck Family Makes Surprise Appearance at Chiba Train Station (Japan in Photos)

Employees and passengers at Shiroi Station, part of Chiba Prefecture’s Hokusō Railway web, were aflutter at the appearance of a family of spotbill ducks on July 31, 2017. Despite the unfamiliar surroundings, the mother duck confidently led her brood through the ticket gates, presumably on her way to a pond located down the line. Fearing things could turn foul, though, station attendants and po…

The Flight of the Wild GeeseIshi Hiroyuki

Wild geese were once a common sight throughout Japan, but overhunting since the late 1800s caused their numbers to decline drastically to just 5,000. Geese migrate to Japan from Siberia, and it was a letter from the Soviet Union that helped them in their time of crisis.

Stalking—and Saving—the Wild Eel: An Interview with Marine Biologist Tsukamoto Katsumi

Tsukamoto Katsumi has devoted most of his long career to the study of the Japanese eel and its spawning behavior. Now, with overfishing and other pressures threatening populations of freshwater eel worldwide, Tsukamoto has joined forces with colleagues from China, South Korea, and Taiwan in a race to unlock the secrets of these mysterious—and famously tasty—migratory fish and rescue them from extinction.

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