Why don’t the Japanese do more about crows?

In the most extreme example of this, the woman who is in charge of the bins for our block of flats was standing almost next to a crow ripping apart rubbish bags to get at some food without doing a single thing about it. Considering that you can get rid of a crow simply by pretending to throw a stone and that they sometimes attack people’s heads as well rip open rubbish bags, it seems strange that the Japanese don’t do more about these pests.

I think it’s partly a (Buddhist?/ Zen?) attitude of letting nature get on with its natural business, as also seen with the Japanese generally swatting at flying bugs much less than I do. More than that, though, I think it’s mainly not taking the initiative and doing anything unless you’re told to – if the government announced that crows were the enemy I’m sure you’d soon see an almost Cultural Revolution-style attack on them…



  1. johnnystarfish said,

    December 28, 2014 at 12:19 am

    Not sure if you’re on the right track with this one.

    A lot of the train stations have beds of nails lining ledges and other places where birds would otherwise hang out. So there is some preventative measure taken.

    New York subways are rat infested. You see them come out every now and then but its not in your best interest to engage them. Pissing them off might get you bit, which would be a guaranteed day trip to the hospital. And in the end, its all for nothing– do what you will to chase them off but they’ll be back as soon as you’re gone.

    Same for crows I’m sure. After a lifetime of dealing with pests, you just can’t be bothered anymore.

    It is strange she would allow it to continue making a mess though. Presumably she would be responsible for cleaning it up.

    • alexcase said,

      December 28, 2014 at 12:41 am

      Good point about them having had to deal with crows their whole lives, unlike me, and that may well be the biggest reason. I still think the other two things are influences though, as the preventative measures you mention are ones taken by people in authority. The most extreme one I mention is not of course generally that way even in Japan, but when I see a crow ripping up a rubbish bag I’ll chase it away and then put the bag somewhere it can’t be messed up any more (if I can do so without getting too messy myself), and I don’t think I’ve ever seen a Japanese person do that. I’ve also seen the opposite extreme – an old guy taking a sling to the park to shoot stones at crows!

      Although they’ll always be around, I do think making them a little more scared of humans would help them be less of a nuisance.

  2. crella said,

    January 7, 2015 at 8:46 am

    One other thing is that the damned crows remember faces! A woman in our neighborhood shooed the crows away from the gomi station with the broom that is left there for cleaning, and they flew at her head and chased her for weeks afterwards.

  3. alexcase said,

    January 7, 2015 at 12:41 pm

    A student of mine told me a similar story. I must say that would make me more like the guy with the sling who is out to get them, but that’s probably just me…

  4. crella said,

    January 7, 2015 at 1:16 pm

    Oh, I’ve been tempted!

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