LAR tokyo and surroundings tokio Ueno Queuing for 2 hours? 4 Reasons Why The Japanese Are Obsessed With Pandas
Publication date: July 21, 2019
Last updated: June 25, 2021
Pandas are one of the most beloved symbols of the Japanese. In fact, Japan is the only place where people are so excited about pandas, more than anywhere else. So why exactly do the Japanese have such a strong affinity for these creatures?
To unravel the mystery, Dr. Tadaaki Imaizumi, zoologist of the successful and popular "Zannen na Ikimono Jiten (Encyclopedia of Unhappy Animals)", which analyzes the seemingly unfortunate and inconvenient abilities, ecology and habits of various kinds of animal creatures, discusses the reasons why he thinks so many people in Japan love pandas.
Professor Tadaaki Imaizumi, Zoologo
Why does it seem like only Japan loves pandas so much?
“I think there are people all over the world who love pandas. In the past, pandas were very popular in the UK and France. However, no one was as enthusiastic about them as we saw people in Japan."
We even asked a foreign official in our editorial department, who also agreed that "foreigners don't seem to be that enthusiastic about pandas," even though there has been a panda boom abroad in the past as well. According to Imaizumi, it took a while for Japan to welcome pandas to the country, so while the excitement may have waned in other countries, they were still new enough to Japan to keep that excitement going.
The panda is a fantastic creature!
“The panda was first recorded as having been discovered in China in the 1860s by a missionary from France. The name "panda" also comes from French. Pandas were brought to the United States and Great Britain in the 1930s, but by the time they arrived in Japan, about 40 years had passed. However, people in Japan had already heard of it, saying things like, 'I heard that some cute new animals are becoming popular abroad!' and 'I hope they bring them to Japan soon!'”
After what seemed like a long wait, they finally brought the panda to Japan! That relief from the wait probably made it even more exciting. Pandas were first introduced to Japan inUeno Zoo Gardenand they were considered “fantastic animals”.
In 2017, for the first time in 29 years, a new baby panda named Xiang Xiang was shown to the public atUeno! With this event, it seemed like the panda boom in Japan reached new levels of excitement, more than ever.
The Japanese value of all cute things!
“I think the image of animals is quite different in Japan and in Western countries. Particularly in America and Europe, people seem to have an affinity for what they consider to be "cool", like lions and horses. But Japan is all about 'kawaii' or 'cute'. In Japan, Kawaii culture IS cool!
The use of the Japanese word 'kawaii' (cute) has become part of the culture recognized by people abroad. And the panda, an animal not known for things like aggressiveness and daring, fits that 'cute' image perfectly.
Look how round they are!
"Pandas also have a lot of features that people are psychologically oriented to find cute," says Morris, a British behavioral scholar. For example, the roundness of the face and body. This is said to give an image of friendliness, peace of mind, and calm.
In psychology, smooth, round, and small things are said to feel familiar and well-intentioned. Pandas also have circular spots on their faces, as well as tails and short, round faces. There is no angular point in the entire silhouette of a panda; everything is smooth and round.
Her innocent behavior will steal your heart!
“Because of their large bodies, pandas are a bit clumsy when they move. Baby pandas can't climb very high, and when they reach the top, they sometimes fall down again... you can't help but want to help them climb!
They are like children in the way that they make clumsy efforts to try things that they cannot do very well. When you see them move, you almost want to cheer them on and say, "You can do it!" His moves really tug at your heartstrings!
“Their faces and bodies are so round that they have trouble moving. Feel free to come in and help. This behavior is very effective in attracting the attention of their babies, but they also seem to attract human attention. Doing pirouettes, hanging from the tires, it seems that they are playing and having fun, right?
Did Japanese psychology help accelerate this boom?
“Pandas were first introduced to Japan inUeno Zoo Gardenin Tokyo, and so far, this is the only place you can see them in the Kanto area.Ueno ParqueIt is located in the center of the city and is easily accessible. The fact that they are in a place that people can visit so freely and easily could be another reason for their rise in popularity.
Professor Imaizumi references Japanese psychology for one more thing.
“One of the main characteristics of pandas that makes them so attractive in Japan is their rarity. But the Japanese also love to stand in long lines! (laughs) This line of thinking probably also helps the boom in Japan: 'I saw it on the news', therefore, 'I want to see it too'."
Japan has a trend where long lines equal status. And certainly, if you find that an unusual animal is in such an easily accessible location, you'll want to go too, no matter how long you have to wait in line! Or is it just Japanese psychology...
Asking Professor Imaizumi about pandas and "unhappy ecology"
“Pandas are known for the effort they go to to eat hard bamboo; However it was not always so. Originally, pandas were carnivorous, but they lost competition in the food chain and were dominated by other forms of wildlife. Because of this, they had to give in and ended up relying on the bamboo, which was not touched by other animals. However, it is difficult to digest and has very little nutrition; therefore, pandas must eat continuously for almost 14 hours a day just to get enough nutrition.
What ambition! While they may have lost the competition for survival in this regard, they still made up for it by eating nutritionally deficient foods for long periods of time. It may seem like a weak and unhappy scene, but at the same time, it adds to its cuteness.
“Eating bamboo with both legs is another cute behavior. However, it is because they get tired of eating with only one leg that they have to alternate the use of both like this. Maybe they should eat something with a little more nutritional value!”
It's a bit sad to find out the real reason for his behavior, but at the same time it's interesting to know the truth!
“Another thing is that despite the round and fluffy image of pandas, their fur is quite tough!”
Oh no... what a disappointment! The fluffy cute image is slowly disintegrating...
Tourists want to see rare animals unique to Japan!
“As foreign travelers visiting Japan have made an effort to come here, they want to see not only pandas, but also animals that are unique to Japan, such as the Japanese crane and musasabi (Japanese flying squirrel). I think it would be a good idea to have morezoosand facilities that can exhibit these animals specific to Japan.”
Certainly when you travel abroad, you want to experience things that can only be found there. It is the same concept.
Japan really loves pandas!
Today we talked to Professor Imaizumi about why Japan seems to love pandas so much. While there are many reasons for the panda's boom in popularity, and more reasons that we haven't mentioned here yet, one thing is for sure: the panda has irrevocably captured the heart of Japan.
ed. Note (June 25, 2021):
There was an error in the content of this article when it was first published. We express our sincerest apologies to our readers and all parties involved for any inconvenience caused and have made the following corrections:
・Incorrect: In 2017, for the first time in 29 years, a new baby panda named Xiang Xiang was born in Japan!
・Correct: In 2017, for the first time in 29 years, a new baby panda named Xiang Xiang was shown to the public inUeno!
After working in planning, editing, and business/sales development at a continuing education company, she currently works as a writer, yoga instructor, and traveler seeking a multi-professional lifestyle that combines work and hobbies. She also enjoys fashion, Japanese culture, and music.
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