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I remember there was a time,
when if I heard of something that sounded strange or unlikely,
I would usually reject it with some kind of cynical, sarcastic response.
But once you've been in a robot restaurant,
Or a monkey bar,
Or an actual fox village
What do you seek in the fox village?
it kind of makes that cynical, sarcastic response.
frighteningly redundant.
So on a recent trip to Hiroshima,
when a friend mentioned a place called
Rabbit Island,
an island hidden away in the inland sea of Japan
an island literally drenched in rabbits,
and containing a derelict chemical weapons facility,
I just accepted its existence without question and set off the next day to
roll around in a pile of rabbits…
Rabbit Island’s actual name is Okunoshima
and it's about 2 hour journey from the city of Hiroshima by train and by boat.
The first thing you notice about the island is it’s transmission tower
which isn’t surprising given its the tallest, in all of Japan.
A fact which, makes the whole trip, at least seven times more exciting.
The boat ride came with a list of warnings
such as not to chase the rabbits around,
give them human food
and of course, not to leave your own pet rabbit on the island,
as Pet Rabbits are utterly useless.
The first thing that surprised me was how confident and friendly the rabbits were
as they ran over to greet everyone and pose for photos.
Word on the street is, if you rustle a bag, all the rabbits will come.
So let’s test that theory.
Calm down, calm down
Thinking of the rabbits welfare, I’d spent all my pocket money on rabbit food.
But unfortunately, things didn’t go according to plan.
You bastard!
What have you done? What have you done this costed 100 yen
This was 100 yen
The rabbit’s reign over the island is unquestionable,
with heir initial friendliness hiding a thuggish gangster mentality underneath.
Strangely, no-one seems to know where the rabbits came from,
although there are numerous theories.
Some say, that Rabbits were invented by the Japanese in the late 19th century
as an effective way of disposing of unwanted lettuce.
But a more likely and boring theory is that
some school children let them loose on a school trip several decades ago,
and in the absence of natural predators, the rabbits went on to thrive.
As you walk around the island you’ll find numerous crumbling structures
that are the remains of what was once at the centre of Japan’s chemical weapons program.
In stark contrast to the island’s newfound cute reputation
Okunoshima has quite a dark history.
In the 1920’s the island was chosen by the military to be the primary site of Japan’s chemical weapons production.
It was chosen due to its location, being conveniently positioned to key military installations in Hiroshima
but also being relatively isolated, enabling its production to remain in secrecy.
For 16 years from 1929 to 1945,
the site was operational producing primarily mustard gas,
until it was shut down after the war and occupying allied forces disposed of the gas.
As you walk around the island and see the tourists smiling and playing with the rabbits,
It can be difficult to believe such a beautiful island, was once at the centre of something so destructive.
But as well as the old buildings, the island’s Poison gas museum stands a reminder of the island’s role,
ensuring future generations can reflect on the horror of chemical weapons and a dark chapter in the island's history.
What's going over there?
I reckon
Rabbit food
Plus rabbits plus (me) equals good Facebook profile photo
and it’ll give the illusion that I’m a nice person
Oh, god
Lie down, lie down
On your stomach
Put them on your stomach
This is so weird
This is so weird
This is so weird
Come to the rabbit island and...
Just lie with the rabbits like this
and the sneezing ones
It's a little bit painful
but it's quite fun
It's like a massage
but with rabbits
Oh my god
You know all these rabbits are diseased Chris…
Okay, time is over
Come to the rabbit island
it's good
That was real
It's been my life long dream to lie in a pile of rabbits
Today the dream realized
So if you wanna do the same
Bunny rabbit island!
See ya later
I need a shower so badly
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Japan's Rabbit Island: Cute Rabbits, Dark History ウサギ島の黒歴史

1330 Folder Collection
Yummy Japan published on October 16, 2015
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