“Take nothing but pictures, leave nothing but footprints, kill nothing but time.” While the provenance of this well known explorer’s maxim is disputed, the message can be quite clearly interpreted. A message that asks us to respect nature, so that we and our future generations may experience the boundless natural treasures of the Earth.
However, Japanese media reported on Thursday (May 17) that in Kyoto’s famous Arashiyama bamboo grove, at least 100 bamboo trees were found to be defaced with carvings in English, Chinese and Korean alphabets.
The bamboo grove, located on the western outskirts of Japan’s ancient capital of Kyoto, is a Unesco World Heritage Site and is one of the city’s most photographed locations.
Tourism has increasingly left a negative impact on the site, as the number of vandalism cases exponentially increased in recent times.
“Bamboo trees are connected by their roots and so if one is damaged the other trees will also get affected. In such a situation there will be no other choice but to chop down bamboo trees to protect the entire forest, and so, please stop such behaviour,” said Mr Takayuki Suzuki, manager of the bamboo forest, in an interview with the Nippon News Network.
He added that he was “past the stage of anger and is feeling deep sorrow”.
There were 10.5 million visitors between January to April this year, an increase of 15.4 per cent over the same period last year. Koreans accounted for the most number of arrivals, followed by Chinese and Taiwanese. The JTB also said that the number of visitors broke the 10 million mark on April 25, 18 days earlier than last year.
In response to the vandalism, Kyoto City will be putting up notices in multiple languages to warn tourists against defacing the trees. It is also considering raising the height of fences to better protect the trees.
Let’s all do our part in preserving these gifts from nature!