English translation by Michael Eabry
Noboru Ōyama, Vice Chairman, Kushiro City Red-crowned Crane Protection Association
I worked at Akan Junior High School 57 years ago for five years, from 1962 to 1966, and over the latter half of my time there, I was in charge of the Crane Club for two years.
Once a year, on December 5th, there was a survey of cranes and the number of birds was only around 200. Currently, we are now approaching 2,000 birds thanks to the support and cooperation of public bodies, many associated organizations and of countless others besides. Thank you very much: I am sincerely grateful to you.
I think that the challenge from here on lies in how humans and cranes can co-exist.
The place is Nishitakadai in Akan. There is a dairy farm there. I needed to call in as I had some business there. I drove slowly as I approached the site. Suddenly, isn’t that a crane coming flying out of the house and threatening me? This behaviour is the same as when other cranes enter their territory. I was able to make sense of the crane’s behaviour after passing through there a few times: it is because the dairy farmers have been treating the cranes as family, caringly living with them for decades. Such a relationship doesn’t happen overnight.