​Matagi

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One winter day, we pursued black-bears in the deep forest. Nothing around, the sun shining and the air crisp. We had barely eaten anything in more than 4 days. We were just exhausted. Suddenly one of the Matagi mumbled, having a faraway look on his face. “What’s that something moving?” There were, no doubt, two black-bears crossing the iced river. Once it was made sure with the binocle, they quickly dispersed to their own positions, against the side of the chine, at 1~5km from here. And it meant the fighting was starting. The chief of MATAGI had the last word to go away,”We’re being just for this time.”

 

Originally, the self-sufficient males living in the deep forest and mountains areas were called “MATAGI” in Japanese. They represent one of the indigenous tribes. Before the 1960’s, most of them lived almost without money. However, the situation changed in the 1970’s, during the high economic growth. Some of them moved to towns in order to find more modern and comfortable jobs. As the years passed, the Matagi have been considered only as a kind of hunters living in rural areas of Japan. Nowadays, they are facing a possible extinction of their traditions.

© 2019 Hajime Kimura All rights reserved.