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Tourists deface iconic bamboo trees in Kyoto's Arashiyama

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I am so angry about this. Official protest should be made to South Korean Givernment. You cannot vandalize World Heritage Sights.

-14 ( +18 / -32 )

Disgusting. I'm sure there are a few American's initials on there too. I'm ashamed.

13 ( +21 / -8 )

I don't think it's hate, it's just a lack of respect. They would do the same thing anywhere. To them it was just another tree.

31 ( +31 / -0 )

I was at Arashiyama this spring (for the second time in my life) and I noticed a group of tourists who were not respecting the 立入禁止 signs, jumping over the (mostly symbolic) barriers and simply going into the bamboo forest. I had no idea at the time what they could be doing in the bamboo forest. Defacing trees seems so pointless.

21 ( +21 / -0 )

Before they go blaming foreigners and singling out certain country's people, Japanese people learn English too. I'm sure at least a few were done by Japanese as well.

-17 ( +11 / -28 )

It's a sign of the times, foreigners all over the world have no respect for landmarks. It's no different in Japan.

Just have tourist officials kindly remind visitors that defacing landmarks is unacceptable.

17 ( +21 / -4 )

Ganbare Japan! I am so angry about this. Official protest should be made to South Korean Givernment. You cannot vandalize World Heritage Sights.

Why?

Some may have been Korean but there are other languages as well as the article implies, why do you focus only on the Koreans? Any way these were the actions of individuals not government sponsored acts so protests to governments are both inappropriate and pointless.

Sadly there are Idiots in every country.

Humans seem to have an inbuilt desire to leave their mark on the world, graffiti can be found in many places, and examples go back thousands of years. When they are that old they become historical landmarks in their own right!

17 ( +19 / -2 )

And Japanese can’t use ‘alphabets’ when writing their initials?

Although it is probably tourists of all stripes, it really is disgusting what peope will do to sightseeing sites. In Utah, they are destroying millenia old dinosoar footprints just for the thrill of hearing rocks splash in water; tourists have etched their initials (including in Japanese) on coral on the Great Barrier Reef. In all aspects, nature loses.

1 ( +13 / -12 )

I'm sure there will be hours and hours of meetings on what to do about this.

I will save them the time.

Sand down the carved areas to keep it from spreading.

Install cameras.

Put a WARNING sign up with a clear fine displayed.

Done.

13 ( +16 / -3 )

Before they go blaming foreigners and singling out certain country's people, Japanese people learn English too. I'm sure at least a few were done by Japanese as well.

Japanese people learn English too? So a few of your students scribbled the stuff you tried to learn them on those bamboo trees ? :)

3 ( +11 / -8 )

Gab are,

its “sites” not “sights”.

What the article doesn’t mention is that they are putting up multi-language warning signs.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Education, comprehension, empathy, etiquette. That's what's required.

3 ( +8 / -5 )

At the risk of being hoisted by my own petard: I believe bamboo is a kind of grass, not a tree.

On topic: the damaged bamboo should be used to make a bamboo ‘rattan’ with which the vandals’ skin should be flayed off their backs.

10 ( +14 / -4 )

Goes both ways folks. A few years back I saw kanji carved into the sandstone of the beautiful Scots Monument in my home city of Edinburgh.

People have been leaving their mark since time began. But defacing historical and culturally significant sites is not on.

4 ( +13 / -9 )

this is the only country I know that does what they can to get tourism up then complain about the tourists when they are here.

How about security roaming the grounds to prevent people from damaging the trees, or not allowing people close access to the trees or a number of other preventive measures.

-2 ( +6 / -8 )

Gab are, ganbare

Time for a coffee and a stern talk with Mr Autocorrect.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

"Gazza waz 'ere 2018"

Tool!

4 ( +4 / -0 )

This has been going on forever and just now they start to complain? I also think this is a case of "hey somebody engraved their name on the bamboo, lets do it too" I think.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

At the risk of being hoisted by my own petard: I believe bamboo is a kind of grass, not a tree.

Haha, I assume this was directed at me. I really wasn't sure what it's classified as, but I figured the people carving their name into them definitely didn't know.

I also think this is a case of "hey somebody engraved their name on the bamboo, lets do it too" I think.

I think you are probably right.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

If witches hats aren't working, then a 3m high concrete wall should do it! Or an elegantly built bamboo fence both adding security and aesthetically appropriate. More seating again made of bamboo would be nice, carve those! Once a year replace them. Descritly place signs too. Cameras while a good idea, by the time it's analysed the offender could be anywhere.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Seems to me there's a bit of pussyfooting around the issue of exactly which tourist groups are mainly responsible for this. If it's Koreans, say so. If it's Chinese, or Westerners, report that. What I don't want, as an Australian visitor who respects whatever environment I happen to be in, is to be blamed by association for the ignorance and vandalism of others.

I just hope that this kind of thing (as well as the rapidly increasing numbers of tourists to Japan, as reported in another article today) doesn't affect the patience and almost universally hospitable welcome from Japanese people that I've experienced during my visits to Japan.

-2 ( +5 / -7 )

No pictures? Show us how ugly it is.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

If it's Koreans, say so. If it's Chinese, or Westerners, report that. What I don't want, as an Australian visitor who respects whatever environment I happen to be in, is to be blamed by association for the ignorance and vandalism of others.

I'm sure they would have already made it public had they known. Clearly they don't know who did it (Chinese/ koreans/ others...) and there's no possible way to find out, it could have been anyone (including Japanese).

0 ( +4 / -4 )

They should posts signs in other languages like English, Korean and Chinese. It may not prevent idiots and illiterates from going into restricted areas, but it's a start. At least, most tourists will understand. Just like when I visited Diamond Head in Hawaii years ago, there was a sign near the top, saying 'no peeing', which was written in Japanese only.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

When you see a ship of 3.000 or more tourists coming from abroad to land the city I live, I just say that: The travel companies/agencies of that country have to give manuals about Japan's culture to them.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Sand down the carved areas to keep it from spreading.

Install cameras.

Put a WARNING sign up with a clear fine displayed.

Good ideas. Definitely, cleaning up the graffiti is important, by sanding down or covering with a colored wax or polymer. Also, a few carefully placed bear traps might help prevent further vandalism.

At least 100 bamboo trees in Kyoto's Arashiyama district have been vandalized by tourists, who apparently engraved their names and initials ... in foreign language letters, including alphabets and Hangul characters.

Yeah, perhaps some of the alphabet initials might have been written by Japanese. But if they carved something like "Jack and Jill were here", we can safely assume they were foreigners. I suspect very little or none of this vandalism was done by Japanese.

4 ( +7 / -3 )

Seem to be lots of good ideas for dealing with the problem without going overboard.

To combine a few from above, how about a sign saying trees with carvings in them will be cut down, right next to the stumps?

This way people will see exactly what happens when the carve their names.

Oh, and a good lashing. ;-)

1 ( +1 / -0 )

@Raw Beer

 I suspect very little or none of this vandalism was done by Japanese.

Why not?

All the desks in my classroom have various pieces of graffiti written and carved onto them.

All done in English. Not one written in Japanese. They probably see graffiti as a naughty "foreign thing"

-2 ( +6 / -8 )

This makes me so angry.

I noticed it was bad at the little bamboo grove at Fushimi Inari last year. Incidentally I noticed then it was mostly Roman alphabet languages (English and Spanish) but also Chinese, Korean, and plenty of Arabic script as well. You can't take a close-up photo because the graffiti starts from the ground and goes up to average head-height. It's awful!!

At Arashiyama the caretakers have no choice but to cut down the carved bamboo since it will gradually rot. The city is discussing installing higher fences. Come see the bamboo forest before more is cut down and fences go up. Unless you think carving initials is cool, then please do all a favor and stay home.

More and more places in Kyoto are having to restrict nice views with fencing, signage, etc. I've seen big changes since I moved here in 2010 and it's sad. It's also a regular thing now to see tour groups of (mostly) white retirees waiting outside the maiko okiya to chase after them for photos the minute they step out. Chinese tourists disregard signs and little barriers and walk all over temple gardens. Manners are horrible these days!

If you really love something, you'll leave it alone and not try to harm or possess it.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

As Fouxdefa says, the bamboo once scratched rots and decays. All the defaced bamboos will have to be cut down to the stump.

The authorities are now considering fences high enough to discourage entry.

This is one of the problems with world tourism and World Heritage sites. You may encourage destruction if you are not very careful. Whatever you do may look heavy-handed, though, and can reduce the original natural attraction to 'why bother?'

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Can't help but remember this. Trees will grow back. It's poor behaviour of course but nothing that can' be fixed or replaced.

https://japantoday.com/category/features/kuchikomi/italians-amazed-at-fallout-in-japan-over-graffiti

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

For some of those tourists they don't respect the country they visit, stick photos of those defaced with a big X on it. And perhaps, better to instal a "false" cameras near there.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

The estimated number of foreign visitors to Japan from January to April topped 10 million, reaching that level at the fastest pace on record

So, expect more stupidity.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

They could always put a big ugly fence around it with a cement paved pathway with lots of signs and vending machines like they do at most other beautiful sites in Japan...which is very sad indeed.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Time to get security guards

2 ( +2 / -0 )

The well-photographed paths are only a few hundred meters long, so at least 100 trees must be mean that its all over the place.

Once this starts, you get lots of copycats, so you have to act quickly.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

At Arashiyama the caretakers have no choice but to cut down the carved bamboo since it will gradually rot.

Interesting, I did not know this. I assumed it would somewhat grow into the bamboo like a tree and perhaps eventually fade away. I assume many people don't know about this. Such a shame.

Instead of proposed higher barriers perhaps they can create a bigger gap between barrier and bamboo trees so that visitors cant reach the bamboo but still enjoy the view.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

@tmarie

This behavior cannot be allowed simply because "trees will grow back." People will just keep carving onto the new bamboo within reach as it comes up and the beautiful atmosphere will never be restored. Yes bamboo grows fast but it still takes 5-7 years for a stalk to reach its mature height.

Italians might be used to graffiti but it does not belong on living things that will have to be destroyed.

@papigiullo

Japanese news included an interview with a caretaker who confirmed the marks never fade or "grow over" but create openings for mold and insects, causing rot which can be dangerous (sudden collapse of the stalk) so carved ones have to be cut down.

Signs, high sturdy fences, more distance between the path and the bamboo, security cameras are necessary but the sad thing is, once upon a time, the place was beautiful and could be enjoyed without those things. Some of us were here then and remember how it was, for us it is very sad to lose that.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Trees? Isn't bamboo a type of grass? will renew themselves in a couple of years.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

It's that thing that happens to people the moment they are on holiday - they stupidly believe the place they are visting is some kind of theme park purely for their entertainment and the people there are actors playing a role, not a real place where people live and work. London is full of these tourists, annoying and ignorant.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

whats so hard to throw bunch of ip cameras around and proper punish the culprits ( 100 bamboo canings + appropriate fine to the tune of 10000USD )

Ip cameras today cost under 100usd and can even do face recognition easily.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Calm down everyone. This happens all over the world at tourist sites. Go visit any old European castle or cathedral, and I guarantee you'll find grafitti carved into the stones. If Japan wants to join the tourism big boy league, it better get used to this kind of thing.

-6 ( +4 / -10 )

Calm down everyone. This happens all over the world at tourist sites. Go visit any old European castle or cathedral, and I guarantee you'll find grafitti carved into the stones. If Japan wants to join the tourism big boy league, it better get used to this kind of thing.

Dumb comment. Imagine this commenter scribbling 'Kilroy was here' near the Notre Dame.

Good thats some people have no vote :)

1 ( +5 / -4 )

If we know this is such a huge issue, then why not station some guards in/around the area to tell these idiots to keep out.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Rather than put up high ugky barrier, a dich or moat is more effective and pleasing, and if they drown they will nourish the bamboo!

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Japan/Kyoto should set cameras out there, maybe some volunteers. Maybe start with stiff FINE$ first....and perhaps consider CANING for repeat offenders.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Fines and caning! Yeah!

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

They can do the caning with the exact same bamboo!

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Japan ought to create a piece of 'Cultural Treasure Protection' legislation that punishes this sort of behavior with a miserable few days in a Japanese jail spent kneeling in a square painted on a cold concrete floor (or whatever they do there), before receiving a hefty fine and a kick in the pants at the nearest airport.

Then, they ought to summarize the law in several languages on the customs declaration form one receives on the airplane prior to landing in Japan,

1 ( +2 / -1 )

What proof is there that Tourists did this ? Merely the characters ? And where'd the tourists obtain the knives from in order to cut into the Bamboo wood ... not something allowed on planes.

I'd look closer to home, potentially at the right wingers, who'd like to kick up a fuss about how bad Foreigners are, especially Korean and Chinese ones.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

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