LIFE WITH THE YAMABIRU (LAND-DWELLING LEECH) AFTER THE FAILURE OF A FENCE IN RURAL JAPAN

Satoshi Watanabe

Abstract


In recent years, Haemadipsa zeylanica japonica, a land-dwelling leech referred to as a “yamabiru” in Japanese, has proliferated in the countryside of Japan, because wild animals are a vector of the yamabiru. In some areas, the yamabiru suck the blood of people even in houses. This paper explores how residents living in a yamabiru “hot spot,” where the number of yamabiru is large, have coexisted with the creature which, though troublesome, is almost impossible to avoid. Z City in Kanagawa Prefecture attempted to maintain a long fence to prevent wild animals from entering the “human domain,” although this did not work as expected. Instead, the daily contact between people and the yamabiru generated various relationships other than a simple, hostile relationship: kill-or-be-killed. The trouble caused by the yamabiru encourages the interviewees to rethink their society and history, though coexistence with the yamabiru can never do away with the dream of extermination. Coexistence with yamabiru, in this context, means not living separately, but living with trouble in the contact zone, without making clear-cut borders between human and non-human domains. This paper attempts to demonstrate that people can make efforts to create various relationships even with “real,” not metaphorical, parasites. Insights from this research may bring to light new information that will be of value to contemporary society, where numerous borders that divide people and social groups are being drawn.

Keywords


Coexistence; Yamabiru (Land-dwelling leech); Extermination; Parasite; Japan

Full Text:

PDF

References


Dower, John W. 1986. War without Mercy: Race and Power in the Pacific War, New York: Pantheon Books.

Fuujita, Shozo. 1995. Zentaishugi no Jidaikeiken (Experience in Totalitarianism). Tokyo: Misuzu Shobo.

Ginn, Franklin, Beisel Uli, and Barua Mann. 2014. Flourishing with Awkward Creatures: Togetherness, Vulnerability, Killing. Environmental Humanities. 4, pp. 113–123.

Haraway, Donna J. 2016. Staying with the Trouble: Making Kin in the Chthulucene. Durham: Duke University Press.

Iwami, Mitsukazu and Seiji Takahashi. 2009. Tanzawasanchi ni okeru Yamabiru no Seisokubunpu to Seisokukankyo (Distribution and Habitat of Land Leeches (Haemadipsa zeylanica japonica) in the Tanzawa Mountains). Bulletin of the Kanagawa Prefecture Natural Environment 6, pp. 22–3.

Kaji, Koichi, and Shinsuke Koike eds. 2015. Yaseidobutsu no Kanri Shisutemu (System for Managing Wildlife) Tokyo: Kodansha.

Kirk, Robert G.W. and Neil Pemberton. 2013. Leech. London: Reaktion Books.

Kirksey, Eben. 2015. Emergent Ecologies. Durham: Duke University Press.

Kobe Shinbun. 2014. Kyuketsu Yamabiru ni Gochui! Seisokuiki Nanka, Rokkousankei ni Semaru (Be Careful of Blood Sucking Yamabiru: The Habitat Is Going South). https://www.kobe-np.co.jp/news/backnumber/201412/0009829321.shtml (accessed October 27, 2017)

Lorimer, Jamie. 2015. Wildlife in the Anthropocene. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.

Matsumura, Masaharu, and Ryo Kohsaka. 2010. Seibutsutayousei, Satoyama no Kenkyudouko kara Kangaeru Ningen-Shizenkei no Kankyoshakaigaku (Review of Biodiversity and Satoyama from the Perspective of Environmental Sociology in Human and Natural Systems). Journal of Environmental Sociology 16, pp. 179–96.

Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries. 2014. Zenkoku no Yaseichoju niyoru Nosakumotsu Higaijokyo ni tsuite (On the Present Situation of Agricultural Damage by Wild Animals).

http://www.maff.go.jp/j/seisan/tyozyu/higai/h_zyokyo2/h26/ (accessed May 8, 2017).

Ministry of the Environment. 2015a. Tokeishuhou niyoru Zenkoku no Nihonjika oyobi Inoshishi no Koaisusuitei to ni tsuite (On the Estimation of the Population of Sika Deer and Wild Boar Using Statistical Methods). http://www.env.go.jp/press/files/jp/26914.pdf (accessed May 12, 2017).

----. 2015b. Zenkoku no Nhonjika oyobi Inoshishi no Seisokubunpukakudaijokyo Chousa. (Research on the Expansion of the Habitat of Sika Deer and Wild Boar). http://www.env.go.jp/press/files/jp/26915.pdf (accessed May 12, 2017).

----. 2017 Satonabi (Navigation for Satoyama). http://www.env.go.jp/nature/satoyama/satonavi/satochi/ (accessed May 5, 2017).

Nagy, Kelsi, and Phillip Johnson D. eds. 2013. Trash Animals: How We Live with Nature’s Filthy, Feral, Invasive, and Unwanted Species. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.

Oshima, Masato, Seto Takahiro, and Seki Kazumasa. 2011. Yamabiru no Kagaku Bunseki (Chemical Analysis of the Land Leech). Bulletin of Tokyo Polytechnic University 34(1), pp. 52–7.

Raffles, Hugh. 2010. Insectopedia. New York: Pantheon Books.

Rigby, Kate. 2011. Getting a Taste for the Bogong Moth. Australian Humanities Review 50, pp. 77–94.

Rose, Deborah. B. and Thom van Dooren. 2011. Introduction. Australian Humanities Review 50, pp. 1-4.

Sankei News. 2017. Gunma no Yamabiru Seisokuchi, 7nen de 1.3bai Yaseidoubutsu Zouka ga Kankei ka (The Yamabiru Habitat Became 1.3 Times as Large as It Was Seven Years Ago in Gunma Prefecture). http://www.sankei.com/region/news/170325/rgn1703250054-n1.html (accessed in 27 October, 2017).

Sasaki, Osamu, and Shigekazu Tani. 2008. Sika Deer and Wild Boar are Possible Host Animals of the Land Leech Haemadipsa Zeylanica Var. Japonica (Whitman) in Kanagawa Prefecture Based on a PCR-SSCP Snalysis of 28S rRNA. Medical Entomology and Zoology 59(1), pp. 25–28

Setoguchi, Akihisa. 2009. Gaichu no Tanjo: Mushi kara Mita Nihonshi (The Birth of Pests: A History of Japan by Bugs). Tokyo: Chikuma Shobo.

van Dooren, Thom, Eben Kirksey, and Ursula Münster. 2016. Multispecies Studies: Cultivating Arts of Attentiveness. Environmental Humanities 8(1), pp. 1–23.

Yamabiru Research Group. 2017a. Yamabiru Chuiho (Yamabiru Warning). http://www.tele.co.jp/ui/leech/region.html (accessed May 15, 2017).

----. 2017b. Yamabiru towa Donoyona Ikimono nanodeshoka? (What is the Yamabiru?: Differences in Ways of Blood Sucking). http://www.tele.co.jp/ui/leech/yamabiru/suckblood.html (accessed May 15, 2017).

Yamamoto Kozo, et al. 2005. Shorei Hokoku Kanjokohan to Zenshinshojo wo teishita Hiru Kosho no 1rei (A Case of a Leech Bite With Erythema Annulare and Constitutional Symptoms). Japanese Journal of Clinical Dermatology 59(12), pp. 1161–4.


Refbacks

  • There are currently no refbacks.



website hit counters