Japan: rock music to protect inhabitants from bears

(AFP) – Can rock and roll protect against bear attacks? This is the hope of a region in northern Japan, which has commissioned a hymn to caution to warn residents of the threat posed by these animals, which are increasingly numerous in rural areas.

“Do you think cubs are cute?” start the lyrics of the song, to a background of drums and guitar riffs.

“Forget that naive way of thinking! Right next to this cub, there is a parent bear, and it will suddenly attack you! Roar, roar, roar, roar, roar, roar, roar (English for ‘Grrrr’) – he will suddenly attack you! “

In response to the increase in the number of bears seen in rural areas of northern Japan, the Iwate Prefecture government commissioned this rock song which will be broadcast throughout the region.

The track was written and performed by two local rockers in their sixties and gives advice on behavior to adopt when encountering a bear, such as “never turn your back and run away” and “playing dead doesn’t walk. “.

Singer Yuuzen Taguchi, 69, said the advice came in handy the day he encountered a bear near a field.

“It is very scary when he appears in front of you,” he told AFP.

“You want to run away, but my grandparents told me years ago that if you meet a bear, don’t turn around but back off slowly,” he added.

Bears are widespread in Japan and regularly set off frantic hunts when they venture into cities, where they have attacked and even killed residents.

More than 3,300 encounters with bears were reported in Iwate Prefecture last year, up from just 700 in 2017.

Authorities hope the song, which will be played in local roadside malls until October 31, will teach people about safety precautions.

Songwriter Kaoru Toudou, 61, said he originally wrote it as a blues song.

But Yuuzen Taguchi, who has performed in bands for the past 50 years, gave the song its rock touch.

“They say bears are shy creatures, so I think if any of them heard the song, they would run away,” Kaoru Toudou said.

“It’s the power of rock and roll.”