2016 研究助成 Research Grant Program  /  (B)個人研究助成  
(Grant Number)
(Project Title)
Living with a "Troublesome" Species: Emerging ways and skills to coexist with yamabiru (mountain leech) in Japan
渡邉 悟史
Satoshi Watanabe
(Grant Amount)
企画書・概要 (Abstract of Project Proposal)


    In the "Anthropocene," many non-human species have changed or expanded their habitat due to ongoing environmental and social changes. As a result, new contact zones between human and non-human species have appeared around the world. Some non-human species are harmful or poisonous for humans. This research aims to study how humans are attempting to live with these "troublesome" species. Recently, yamabiru, or the mountain leech (Haemadipsa zeylanica japonica), have proliferated in prefectures across Japan. Since it is unlikely that they will disappear from the living spaces, fields, and forests that humans inhabit, humans have devised new ways and skills to coexist with them. By conducting fieldwork on this this problem, this research will (1) outline the roles played by experts and local governments and residents in dealing with this yamabiru problem, and (2) elucidate the emerging values, norms, and networks among people that enable them to coexist with yamabiru. For example, the people living in a district in Kanagawa prefecture, located in the west side of Tokyo, where I have been conducting my preliminary fieldwork, have started their own monitoring project to obtain the detailed information on yamabiru's mode of life so that they can avoid blood feeding and keep pesticides usage to a bare minimum. This preliminary research shows that this problem allows us to reconsider the concept of "coexistence." Coexistence with yamabiru, in this context, means not living separately and therefore harmoniously, but living with trouble in the contact zone, without making clear-cut borders between human and non-human zones. Insights from this research may bring to light new information that will be of value to contemporary Japanese society, where numerous borders that divide people and social groups are being drawn.

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