On January 11, 2021, I turned 29 years old. Before I was born, Kushiro-shitsugen was designated as a Ramsar wetland in 1980 and as a national park in 1987. I was born and raised in Tokyo and had lived a life without any connection to Kushiro-shitsugen. To be honest, I knew very little about the history of development in Kushiro Marsh and the efforts to protect the red-crowned crane before I became involved in the PWW project. However, by participating in this project to introduce the Ramsar sites across Japan, I had the opportunity to interview people who are involved in conservation activities in various areas. Little by little I began to see the value of each wetland.
The attraction of Kushiro-shitsugen is not only the splendor of the natural scenery, but also the efforts of the local people to live in harmony with the marshland.
In Tsurui Village (which means “village of cranes” in Japanese) in particular, many people have been involved in marshland conservation and crane protection activities for a long time, while farming in the harsh natural environment. I sensed a strong will from the villagers to share the appeal of Kushiro-shitsugen and the red-crowned crane. They are also passionate about guided tours of the marshland, programs to experience dairy farming and other local agricultural industries, and the development of facilities that can be easily used by inbound tourists. When I first visited Tsurui Village I saw wild cranes walking proudly through the village. I realized that the cranes are local residents!
The “Kushiro-shitsugen” content (summer version: A Symphony in a Minor Key) on the PWW website has now been expanded. Please check the following page. pwwj.org/unconquered-kushiro-shitsugen/
I hope you will all come and see Kushiro-shitsugen, where the local people live in harmony with nature.