News On Japan

Bear Safety Poster Attacked for Being Too Cute

Akita, Jul 06 (News On Japan) - A bear poster created by Akita Prefecture, Japan's northern prefecture that had the highest number of human casualties in 2023, is causing a stir for being 'too cute.'

The controversy began during the Akita Prefectural Assembly on July 3. A legislator pointed out that the poster’s cuteness failed to convey the danger of bears.

The contentious poster features four different illustrations of cute bears.

One illustration, calling for people to take their trash home from the forest, depicts a bear drooling with a 'gluttonous bear' theme. Another shows the bear sitting in a puppy-like pose.

These illustrations were created by a prefectural employee.

Akita Prefecture has witnessed fatal bear attacks.

Bears frequently appear in urban areas as well.

In 2024 alone, there have been over 500 reported bear sightings.

So far, six people have been attacked, with the number of incidents rising at a record pace.

Regarding the poster issue, residents have expressed varied opinions: 'It's cute. Was it drawn by an employee? It's well-done!', 'Anyone can understand it. The face doesn’t matter; it’s the “Bear Warning” that counts', and 'It doesn’t feel dangerous, just cute. Maybe it’s okay to use a cute image to highlight the danger.'

The debate over the overly cute bear illustrations continues.

These illustrations appear in brochures for Asiatic black bear measures. They feature bears opening their mouths to scare people and bears with gentle smiles.

What kind of illustration would effectively serve as a warning?

People on the street suggest, 'It’s too cute, maybe a scarier bear illustration would make people recognize the danger and be cautious', and 'It looks like a dog. Using illustrations of fangs or making the posters scarier would be better.'

Akita Governor Norihisa Satake pointed out that a particular aspect of the illustrated bears is too cute.

Akita Governor Norihisa Satake: 'If anything, the eyes do seem a bit too cute. When we make the next posters, we need to consider each case carefully.'

35,000 copies of the controversial posters have been printed and distributed to prefectural and municipal offices.

There are plans to review and possibly revise the illustrations on the posters.

Source: FNN

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