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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.

A Summer Rainbow Descends on Hokkaidō (Japan in Photos)

Fields of lavender, peppermint, baby’s breath, and other flowers come into full bloom beneath the summer skies of Nakafurano, Hokkaidō, in this photo from July 15, 2017. The annual spectacle at the Farm Tomita spreads over nine hectares and draws thousands of visitors to the town. Peak viewing runs through July and lasts until the lavender is harvested in August. (© Jiji)

Mount Fuji and the Sumida River: Japan’s Reviving EnvironmentIshi Hiroyuki

The author launched his career as a science journalist at a newspaper just when Japan was entering an era of heavy industrial pollution. His investigations of domestic pollution soon expanded to environmental research in 130 countries. After years of reporting on degradation around the world, the author has turned his attention back to Japan in this new series.

A Peek into the Pearl Culture of Mie PrefectureJulian Ryall

It takes human talent, a gift from nature, and more than four years to produce the perfect pearl. We visited a community famed for these lustrous treasures to learn more about their production and the prospects for their future.

Early Summer Dew: Three Ancient Trees in the Season of RainTakahashi Hiroshi

In our ongoing series on Japanese old-growth trees, naturalist Takahashi Hiroshi visits three kyoju at the height of the rainy season. Tsuyu is an important time for these ancient plants, bringing respite after spring’s exacting renewal and nurturing rainfall ahead of the heat of summer.

Landfill Reborn as Butterfly Reserve (Japan in Photos)

Great purple emperor butterflies rest on leaves at the site of the Yatozawa landfill in Hinode, Tokyo, on June 20, 2017. The reintroduction of the violet-hued ōmurasaki, the Japanese national butterfly, is part of restoration efforts at the now shuttered facility by the Tama Regional Association for Waste Management and Resource Recycling, which uses the insects to help assess recovery of the …

Number of Released White Storks in Japan Reaches 100 (News)

Kobe, June 20 (Jiji Press)—The number of white storks, a government-designated special natural treasure, released into the wild in Japan has reached 100, 12 years after such efforts began. The Hyōgo Park of the Oriental White Stork in the western Japan city of Toyooka, Hyōgo Prefecture, said Monday it has confirmed that one white stork newly made its departure from its nest in the city. Whit…

Thunder Birds Are Go! (Japan in Photos)

A ptarmigan in its snow-white winter plumage in the foothills of the Tateyama mountain range in Toyama Prefecture. The bird’s Japanese name, raichō, literally means “thunder bird.” (© Jiji)

Spring Immemorial: Ancient Trees in a New Season of GreenTakahashi Hiroshi

As the pale pink hues of cherry blossom season pass, spring deepens as wooded areas come alive with newly sprouted foliage. In a timeless ritual, ancient kyoju—Japan’s venerable old-growth trees—return to life, adorning their aged limbs in youthful coats of leaves. Standing beneath these giants, one is filled with eagerness for the coming days and months.

Listening to the Voices of Trees: The Bonsai World of Kawabe TakeoTakemori Ryōichi

Ōmiya-based Kawabe Takeo is a bonsai artist with a difference. His groundbreaking approach has overturned the conventions of bonsai and brought him international acclaim. We talked to him about his search for a more natural approach to bonsai aesthetics.

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