Love You to Death: Tale of Two Japanese Seals

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Courtesy of Springer

The recent two cases related to seals in Japan illustrate the nature of the values created for animals in todays societies: one that appeared in a river in Tokyo and gained a national pop star fame, the other supposedly extinct Japanese seal re-gaining an endangered status. This paper argues that the contrast of these cases exemplifies the images and values of nature are created, and the wilderness becomes over-romanticised and idealised as societies become further removed from the biosphere. This questions the meaning of the intrinsic value of nature—can it be totally free from our social needs and vested interest, is a truly bio-centric perspective possible? The paper suggests the irrelevance of the eco-centric- anthropocentric dichotomy to todays social contexts where complex socio-cultural, economic, political issues are interwoven.

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