Japan tries rock music to protect against bear attacks

·2 min read

Bear Jovi?

Residents on the northern Japanese region of the Iwate prefecture of the country are using rock music to keep themselves safe from bear attacks.

Amid a spike in bear sightings across the rural Japanese area, the local government has utilized a commissioned rock song that will be played across the region.

“So you think bear cubs are cute,” the song begins, accompanied by guitars and drums.

“Discard that naive way of thinking! Nearby that cub is a parent bear, and it’ll suddenly attack you! Roar, roar, roar, roar, roar, roar — it’ll suddenly attack you!”

The track was written by a duo of local rock artists who are in their 60s. Their song offers lots of advice to those who may encounter one of nature’s scariest animals like “never turn your back and run away,” and “trying to play dead doesn’t work.”

One of the artists, Yuuzen Taguchi, 69, said that his own advice might have saved him when he came across a bear while walking near a field, The Guardian reported.

“It’s very frightening when one just appears before you,” he said.

Taguchi attributes his knowledge to his grandparents who taught him about what to do if he runs into a bear.

“You want to run away, but my grandparents told me years ago that if you ever encounter a bear, don’t turn around and just back away slowly,” he said. “I was taught that rural knowledge that comes from coexisting with bears when I was a kid.”

In 2020, there were more than 3,000 bear sighting in Iwate prefecture. In 2017 that number was just 700.

The song will play in public areas including shopping centers until the end of October.

Kaoru Toudou, 61, wrote the song as a blues number originally.

“It’s said that bears are timid creatures, so I think if one heard the song playing outside it would run away,” Toudou said. “That’s the power of rock ’n’ roll.”

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