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Miyazaki Yoshifumi Explores the Healing Power of the Forest

Shinrin-yoku, literally “forest bathing,” is a Japanese term that means relaxing in the forest to improve health. The term was first coined in the 1980s, but is now attracting increasing attention around the world. Miyazaki Yoshifumi has been researching shinrin-yoku for three decades and is the author of a new book detailing the scientific evidence for this and other nature therapies.
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 Japan’s Forests: From Lumber Source to Beloved ResourceIshi Hiroyuki

The threat of a burgeoning forestry industry posed to destroy even such places as Shirakami-Sanchi and Yakushima—both later to become World Heritage Sites—triggered a powerful movement to save native forests. This movement was to mark a turning point in the relationship between the Japanese people and their forest lands.
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Protecting the ForestsIshi Hiroyuki

More than two-thirds of Japanese territory is forestland. This has fostered a culture of reverence and appreciation for forests and trees. Presented here is an overview of the history of forest conservation in Japan.
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Season of Renewal: Three Old-Growth Trees in Early SpringTakahashi Hiroshi

Spring, according to the Japanese calendar, arrives in early February, a time when much of the country is still feeling the bite of frigid, wintry weather. Even as snow falls and the cold north wind blows, Japan’s old-growth trees are slowly awakening from their brumal slumber and preparing for the coming season of renewal.
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Human-Animal Ties: Japanese Takes in Both Life and DeathIshi Hiroyuki

Animal graves and memorial markers are to be found throughout Japan, a reflection of a Japanese sensibility that does not distinguish between humans and animals but perceives both as equal elements of nature.
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Japanese Perceptions of LifeIshi Hiroyuki

A complete examination of wildlife in Japan must include consideration of the Japanese people’s views of the fauna. In this article, Ishi Hiroyuki examines Japanese attitudes towards animals and the historical origins of those attitudes.
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Cloaked in White: Three Japanese Old-Growth Trees in WinterTakahashi Hiroshi

A blanket of snow provides an enchanting backdrop to admire the slumbering forms of towering old-growth trees. Below we visit three of these impressive giants at the height of winter.
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Seeking Balance with the BearIshi Hiroyuki

The Japanese black bear (Ursus thibetanus japonicus) has vanished from the islands of Shikoku and Kyūshū in southwestern Japan, but on the main island of Honshū they remain plentiful and in some areas pose a serious threat to farm crops and human life. We see here a conflict between humans and wildlife that runs deeper than the simple dichotomy of hunting and preservation.
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One Dead, 11 Injured as Volcano Erupts in Eastern Japan (News)

Kusatsu, Gunma Pref., Jan. 23 (Jiji Press)—A volcano in Gunma Prefecture, eastern Japan, erupted on Tuesday, killing one Self-Defense Forces member and injuring 11 other people, including ski resort visitors. The eruption occurred on 2,171-meter-tall Mount Motoshirane, one of volcanoes collectively called Mount Kusatsu-Shirane, at around 9:59 a.m. (12:59 a.m. GMT), the Meteorological Agency sai…
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Rebellion of the WildIshi Hiroyuki

So far, this series has focused on wild bird species and their recovery from near-extinction. But protection can at times go too far, upending the natural balance and sending animal populations to dangerous levels. Japan’s deer offer a prime example of this.
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