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'Who the hell are you?' Japanese man asks bear while it’s attacking him

61 Comments
By Casey Baseel, SoraNews24

Delivering newspapers seems like it should be a pretty quiet and chill job, especially if you’re delivering the early-morning edition in a small, rural town. And on most days, it probably is for a 75-year-old paper deliveryman who works in Katagami, a town in Japan’s northern Akita Prefecture.

The man got a dose of unexpected on-the-job excitement last Friday, however, while making his daily deliveries. At a little after three in the morning, the man parked his vehicle to get out and place the papers in subscribers’ mailboxes, but while standing in front of one customer’s house he was suddenly attacked by a silent figure that had snuck up on him in the pre-dawn darkness. Tackled to the ground, the deliveryman began to fight back, pushing and punching. Unable to make out his attacker’s face in the darkness, the deliveryman shouted “Who the hell are you?” but the assailant did not give his name.

This wasn’t because of cowardice or secrecy, though, but because it turned out that the deliveryman was, in actuality, fighting a bear.

▼ The site of the attack

“I had my work gloves on, so at first I couldn’t feel its fur, and I thought I’d been fighting a human,” says the man. “When I realized it was a bear, I got really scared, and didn’t think I had any chance of beating it,” he explains.

Despite his understandable self-doubt, the man was able to put up enough of a fight that the bear ran off, but not before gashing his shoulders and back. Thankfully, his injuries were not life-threatening, and he returned home under his own power, then contacted the police to report the incident. The exact size of the bear is unknown, but the man, who is 160 centimeters tall, says he thinks it was about as large as he is.

Later that morning, a second bear attack occurred 250 meters away from where the newspaper deliveryman was attacked. This time the victim was an 84-year-old woman who was out for an early walk, sustaining injuries to her arms. While it’s not impossible that this was a coincidence (or, perhaps, a coordinated operation by accomplice bears acting in cahoots), the authorities believe it’s likely that the same bear was the assailant in both incidents, and are cautioning local residents to be on the lookout for the animal and to report any sightings.

Sources: Akita Sakigake Shimpo via Jin, Yahoo! Japan News/Akita TV

Read more stories from SoraNews24.

-- Death of a Japanese man attacked by bear sparks conversation about what to do when facing off with one

-- Old Japanese man fends off bear attack with his impressive karate skills

-- Hunter finds his car trashed by wounded bear he shot the day before 【Video】

© SoraNews24

©2021 GPlusMedia Inc.

61 Comments
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A fellow I knew in Minnesota near La Crosse, Wi had a black bear as a pet which roamed his wooded farm property. I met the bear in company with his Human companion when the bear was about two years old. He had the habit of licking hands which was explained to me as seeking the salt which is in Human sweat. Feeling ONLY the strength of his tongue, how strong the rest of that bear must have been even at two years old taught me that anyone wrestling with an angry bear and coming out mostly whole would be lucky indeed. This bear doesn't seem to have been angry but, maybe, just curious or even 'playful' given the age and presumed fragility of his partners here and their minor injuries. I hope he does not suffer for his inquisitiveness and, if 'measures' are deemed necessary, they only involve a change of neighbors and not capital punishment for just being a bear of curious brain...

21 ( +23 / -2 )

Being attacked by a bear in a forest thing, being attacked in your neighbourhood is quite another.

1 ( +7 / -6 )

He’s lucky the bear didn’t knock him out and then some

5 ( +9 / -4 )

Bear is one of the friendly wild animal. Leave him some food and just be quiet or else run upward and never look back.

-33 ( +5 / -38 )

Wishing “Good Health & a Speedy Recovery” to both victims.

2 ( +7 / -5 )

Why do these stories always with “Tokyo -? Those abroad can figure out Akita prefecture is far north and there are greater chances of bear attacks there outside the cities.

-5 ( +8 / -13 )

And, surely we can all recall when there was “*worldwide-concern* and “*additional security*” for the Olympic marathon runners encountering bears. Still, bears even walked onto the softball venues.

*- Jun 18, 2021: “Bear shot dead after rampaging through Sapporo, killing 4”: Hunters shot & killed a brown bear in Sapporo, Hokkaido, …. will host the Olympic marathon and race-walking events in August.”.*

*- Jun 21, 2021: “Bear alert hits softball at Olympic Games opener” “... one furry fan still tried to sneak into the Fukushima softball venue hosting the first sports event of the Tokyo Games: a bear” Jokes? After 4 people were mauled 3 days earlier??” -*

-2 ( +4 / -6 )

160cm? Haha. Maybe it was an otter.

-5 ( +9 / -14 )

Don't know how he could bear it...

the attacker was bearly human...

his options were at a bear minimum...

just trying to earn the bear necessities doing his paper round...

His theory the attacker was human didn't bear out under scrutiny...

-6 ( +11 / -17 )

Darn, 74yo and and able to fight off a bear. Wow! He's lucky to be alive

12 ( +14 / -2 )

Why do these stories always with “Tokyo -Those abroad can figure out Akita prefecture is far north and there are greater chances of bear attacks there outside the cities.

Its probably closer to Sapporo, Hokkaido.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

Why do these stories always with “Tokyo -?

It's their version of a dateline:

A dateline is a brief piece of text included in news articles that describes where and when the story was written or filed,[1] though the date is often omitted. In the case of articles reprinted from wire services, the distributing organization is also included (though the originating one is not). Datelines are traditionally placed on the first line of the text of the article, before the first sentence.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dateline

Tokyo is the location at which the article was published.

-5 ( +4 / -9 )

Poor guy, but it makes me smile to think of a 74 year old Japanese man punching a bear in the middle of the night yelling お前誰だ?! Tough old fella.

6 ( +12 / -6 )

So the 75 year old delivers newspapers at 3 am, and fights off bears? That's a tough dude, most of the 75 year olds back home in Europe can barely walk or remember anything at that age

13 ( +15 / -2 )

@ BackpackingNepalToday  07:17 am JST

Bear is one of the friendly wild animal. Leave him some food and just be quiet or else run upward and never look back.

I’m sure the bear man timothy treadwell would agree with you….

5 ( +6 / -1 )

Delivers newspapers at three in the morning. Is he a somnambulist?

1 ( +5 / -4 )

Delivers newspapers at three in the morning. Is he a somnambulist?

Newspapers are printed at 1 or 2 am in Japan, and distributed from there to the various stations, kiosks and homes. This is quite common work at this time of day.

6 ( +9 / -3 )

More of these bear attacks these days.

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1 ( +3 / -2 )

Poor guy, that is one hell of surprise.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Papers are delivered before people leave for work.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

Yeah @Bungle 9:07am our neighbor is a real ‘somnambulist’, as well. It’s hard to sleep when he’s booming his car stereo as he warms up his engine and then starts local deliveries at 3:00am.

*- “Delivers newspapers at three in the morning. Is he a somnambulist? “Newspapers are printed at 1 or 2 am in Japan, and distributed from there to the various stations, kiosks and homes. This is quite common work at this time of day.” -*

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

I live in a small village in Hiroshima-ken. I'm 66 years old, a retired US Marine and still quite active as an outdoors person. I'm also one of the youngest males living in this village and sometimes find myself in awe of the 70 and 80 year old neighbors as they go about their daily lives working in their gardens, making simple repairs or upgrades to their homes or simply enjoying the countryside we live in as a community.

I read the comments on various JT reports daily involving "elderly" citizens. Many of those comments deride the aged population as feeble minded, physically weak and/or otherwise useless.

My bet is the majority writing those comments couldn't last a day alongside the bear fighter in this story or any of the dozens of "old men" in my neighborhood.

Kudos to Kuma JiJi for once again proving age is merely a number.

20 ( +21 / -1 )

If attacked by a bear, ask confusing questions like, “Who the hell are you?” Seems like a good strategy. You can make your escape while the bear is thinking about it.

10 ( +10 / -0 )

Jeez. That's a helleva thing to be confronted with while one is at work. His company probably now needs to add in some hazard pay to his salary.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

This ojiisan was very lucky and hats off to him for defending himself, regardless of bear or human. It was fortunate that this was a 160cm asiatic black bear, and not the much larger and more dangerous Ussuri bear (higuma) of Hokkaido. Defintely an Active Senior!

3 ( +4 / -1 )

most of the 75 year olds back home in Europe can barely walk or remember anything at that age

Really? Hmm

4 ( +4 / -0 )

lucky ojisan.next time better to take care.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Bears. Another species whose habitat is encroached upon or eliminated. Hence contact with the denizens of so-called civilization. Killing bears, instead of re-locating the creatures bespeaks of a culture that admires landscapes, but not actual nature.

Unfortunate to be attacked by a bear. Would be nice if the 'story' was a little more explicit and informative. However, it is under the category, human interest story and somewhat canned by the particulars of journalistic stylings.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

I was walking my little dog one night near a mountain here in Japan. I heard something moving around in the bushes above me on the mountainside, so I shone my flashlight on it expecting that whatever it was would tuck tail and run. It didn't. It growled angrily at me and the shining light. Now I was afraid, so I took the light off of it and began to slowly walk back the way i came. I could hear it following me from above on the mountainside for about 20 meters keeping even with me and then it stopped. It left me alone but I still wonder what it was. Was it a bear? I know it wasn't dog because the sound was too deep and guttural. There are a few bears in the nearby area but I didn't think there were any that close to where I live. I still can't believe whatever it was growled at me like that.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

I believe the presence of a bear in town suggests he was foraging for food. This is indicative of a loss of habitat. Kobe has a similar problem with wild boar--only that the wild boar are often the offspring of domestic pigs.

Anyway, the bear in question was probably young. Cannot imagine winning against a full grown bear barehanded.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

I'll second Ken in praising the physical ability of many seniors in inaka. For anyone having a go at the man in the story, most people aren't going to want someone delivering their newspapers at 4am while ringing a bear bell.

I've seen bears seven times in total, all but once riding a road bike on a tarmac road. I also run (with a bell) and go mountain biking through woodland on trails, but hardly ever see any animals doing those. On my road bike, I see monkeys, tanuki, foxes, etc. pretty much every time.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

I hope the old man is bearing up alright.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

“Who the hell are you?!”

”Rilakkuma lol”

0 ( +1 / -1 )

I'd need a few beers after that encounter.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

11.09am

I've seen bears seven times in total, all but once riding a road bike

That's one clever bear

11 ( +11 / -0 )

Maybe that's the bear I saw in a bar.

He was boisterously tellng his friends of how he survived an encounter with a fearsome old Japanese guy.

The old man tried to interrogate him fortunately he managed to escape

3 ( +4 / -1 )

"Who the hell are you?"

"Why thank you for asking, My name is Robert Bear, but my friends call me bob. I enjoy climbing, berries and an occasional foraging trip. My, you are certainly strong for a person of your age. Do you work out?"

6 ( +6 / -0 )

ianToday  12:11 pm JST

Maybe that's the bear I saw in a bar.

He was boisterously tellng his friends of how he survived an encounter with a fearsome old Japanese guy.

Lol. Doubt it, since it was a Japanese bear as well. It would be just "an old guy".

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Biodiversity is one thing, but letting bears freely running around and giving own human kind , especially affected citizens in the area, not even the slightest possibility for defence is another. The responsible people in the administration obviously love bears more than their own people, these sick bastards belong out of office into jail.

-6 ( +0 / -6 )

Lol. Doubt it, since it was a Japanese bear as well. It would be just "an old guy".

Seems he encountered some old gaikokujins before and wasn't impressed =)

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Unable to make out his attacker’s face in the darkness, the deliveryman shouted “Who the hell are you?” but the assailant did not give his name.

Must've been the thick Akita accent. The bear had no idea what he was on about.

Hats off the old guy, he's a very lucky man.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

I was afraid, so I took the light off of it and began to slowly walk back the way i came. I could hear it following me from above on the mountainside for about 20 meters keeping even with me and then it stopped. It left me alone but I still wonder what it was. Was it a bear?

The phrasing you use reminded me of reading about a scary encounter told by a woman who was walking the length of Japan north to south. That's exactly what she said - that she saw and heard the bear but continued to walk on (not knowing what else to do), while the bear, which she could glimpse from time to time through the trees, walked parallel to her, keeping up the pace until eventually it lost interest (or whatever) and disappeared.

I've never encountered a bear in Japan. Glad I live in Australia, with only the koalas and the drop bears to worry about.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

The two people that were attacked by the bear or bears are fortunate they were not seriously hurt.

Its not everyday a postman gets to boxing and karate with a bear.

In most cases like this the bear is hunted down and euthanized , so the bear is also fortunate .

For the timebeing anyway.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

It was beary nice to meat you

0 ( +2 / -2 )

In most cases like this the bear is hunted down and euthanized

The bear is not euthanised. It's shot in cold blood by members of the local Hunters Association, after either being chased to exhaustion or caught in a trap.

Then it becomes kuma nabe.

There's nothing humane about it.

A bear coming into human living areas at this time of the year is looking for food. There's probably little to forage in the woods and mountains after the disastrous weather we had this summer.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

"Despite his understandable self-doubt, the man was able to put up enough of a fight that the bear ran off, but not before gashing his shoulders and back. Thankfully, his injuries were not life-threatening, and he returned home under his own power, then contacted the police to report the incident. The exact size of the bear is unknown, but the man, who is 160 centimeters tall, says he thinks it was about as large as he is."

Brave dude.

I would have pissed myself.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Kyo wa heiwa dayo neToday  02:46 pm JST

The two people that were attacked by the bear or bears are fortunate they were not seriously hurt.

Its not everyday a postman gets to boxing and karate with a bear.

In most cases like this the bear is hunted down and euthanized , so the bear is also fortunate .

In the U.S. in most cases bears that wander into residential areas are tranquilized by the state Fish & Game/Environmental Conservation department and transported to remote areas far from people. Only in cases of attack(s) on humans are the specific bears hunted down and killed.

In contrast, Japan has no such equivalent agency and leaves such issues to the Police department who are totally untrained in wildlife management, and who in turn usually employs local hunting clubs to kill the bear. If the bear is found it will be shot. However as far as I am aware, if the bear leaves human residential areas and returns to the woods/mountains without being found, they do not pursue it further. The same may not apply if a specific bear kills a human.

Whether a bear that has been shot end up as Kuma Nabe depends on the customs of that specific region. It is not universal throughout all of Japan. And humans all over the world eat worse things than bear meat.

The high number of recent human-bear contact incidents are attributed mainly to the the attrition of farms that served as buffer zones between the woods/mountains and towns. This combined with food shortages resulting from weather, as well as the reduction in bear hunting which has increased their numbers.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Whether a bear that has been shot end up as Kuma Nabe depends on the customs of that specific region.

Akita Prefecture. It's a thing there.

http://www.pref.akita.jp/fpd/shokubunka/shoku-00.htm

humans all over the world eat worse things than bear meat.

Worse, I would contend.... just as bad, absolutely.

Does that somehow make it OK for the poor animal that gets shot?

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

cleoToday  04:57 pm JST

Whether a bear that has been shot end up as Kuma Nabe depends on the customs of that specific region.

Akita Prefecture. It's a thing there.

Exactly, it is regional. And as the bear hasn't been found much less killed at the time of this article, on what do you base your declaration as to what will become of it?

Worse, I would contend.... just as bad, absolutely.

Does that somehow make it OK for the poor animal that gets shot?

All animals and plants for that matter, if edible, can end up as human food. If an animal does theoretically end up being eaten, that to me is much better than just being thrown away as garbage. Using terms like "poor animal" is an attempt to project your personal emotional attachment to animals. One could easily say poor cows, chickens, pigs, lambs,fish. etc etc ad infinitum. And I say this as an animal lover, just a realistic one, and not some animal protein deficient vegan.

As I posted, in my opinion Japan does not have a wildlife management system on a par with some other countries. But it probably isn't the worst in that regard either.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Wow, talk about about a feelgood story. I wish I will be able to fight off a bear when I am 75. (And 160 cm.... talk about a tough small guy)

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Next time I’m attacked I’ll be asking who the attacker is…

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Backpackingnepal...

Bear is one of the friendly wild animal. Leave him some food and just be quiet or else run upward and never look back.

Really poor advice. I hope you never meet any bears.

Black bear.... Stand tall, make noise but do not startle... walk back the way you came.. Bear is probably more afraid of you.

Brown bear..... Walk back the way you came... If attacked..."play dead"....

Polar bear.... hope it isn't hungry. If attacked employ the hunting rifle you remembered to bring.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

He’s now a fan of Iwrestledabearonce. Yes, that’s a real thing

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Wow, talk about about a feelgood story. I wish I will be able to fight off a bear when I am 75. (And 160 cm.... talk about a tough small guy)

I just wish to reach 75

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I hate those early newspapers delivery. They ride noisy bikes around neighborhoods at 4am, in this case a van and disturbing people's sleep. They should ride bicycles.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Geez tough crowd..

I’d bearly scratched the surface…

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Ossan-

I lived in Alaska for 30 year's so iam sorry but you're comment is not acurate.

Cleo was more direct and accurate but bit to graphic for my opinion and i failed to mention i was talking about USA not Japan anyway.

Bear nabe its not good eating anyway full of parasites.

Its difficult for anyone to generalize what happens to all bears that are being a nuisance anyway.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

What big teeth you have grandma.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Glad I live in Australia, with only the koalas and the drop bears to worry about.

Snakes, fresh and salt water crocodiles, sharks, blue ring octopus, giant lizards and spiders, and those fire ants.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

SimondB:

That lot? Fight ‘em off every day, single-handed. Oh and btw you forgot the feral pigs and the bunyip.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Hopefully they get the bear's name

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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