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Deer Planet

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In March 2011, two weeks after the Great East Japan Earthquake, I visited Nara, the ancient capital of Japan, for the first time in a while. What I saw there were stags fighting with antlers in front of a hotel, and a couple of deer standing dignifiedly in the middle of an intersection. Acting majestically, they seemed to be the masters in the town after human beings have disappeared.


The Sika deer in Nara are considered a divine servant of the Kasuga shrine and are protected as a special national treasure.  However, in various other regions of Japan, the deer’s feeding habits damage seriously to agriculture and forestry.  As such, the government encourages to practice population management of deer in these affected areas.  All over Japan, more than 574,500 deer are killed in addition to 150,500 hunted in 2021.


It is human convenience that deer are protected as natural monuments or exterminated as pests depending on their habitat. In a sense, deer are like mirrors that reflect human contradictions. However, the deer cross the boundaries drawn by human with light steps and live vigorously. Looking through the lens at the deer roaming freely in the town, I dream a "Deer Planet" spread out there.

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