Can rock and roll protect against bear attacks? This is the hope of a region in northern Japan, which has commissioned a warning hymn to warn the inhabitants of the threat posed by these animals, which are increasingly numerous in rural areas.
“Do you think puppies are cute?” the lyrics of the song begin, with a background of drums and guitar riffs.
“Forget that naive way of thinking! Right next to this cub, there is a father bear, and he will suddenly attack you! Roar, roar, roar, roar, roar, roar, roar (in English for ‘Grrrr’) – he will suddenly attack you! “
In response to the increase in the number of bears seen in rural areas of northern Japan, the Iwate prefectural government commissioned this rock song to be broadcast throughout the region.
The track was written and performed by two local rockers in their sixties and gives advice on behavior to adopt when encountering a bear, such as “never turn your back and run away” and “playing dead won’t walk.”
Singer Yuuzen Taguchi, 69, said the advice came in handy the day he came across a bear near a field.
“It is very scary when he appears in front of you,” he told AFP.
“You want to run away, but my grandparents told me years ago that if you come across a bear, don’t turn around but slowly back away,” he added.
Bears are rampant in Japan, often setting off frenzied hunts when venturing into cities, where they have attacked and even killed residents.
More than 3,300 bear encounters were recorded in Iwate prefecture last year, up from just 700 in 2017.
Authorities hope the song, which will run in local shopping malls until October 31, will teach people about safety precautions.
Composer Kaoru Toudou, 61, said he originally wrote it as a blues song.
But Yuuzen Taguchi, who has performed in bands for the past 50 years, gave the song its rocky edge.
“They say that bears are shy creatures, so I think if any of them heard the song, they would run away,” said Kaoru Toudou.
“It’s the power of rock and roll.”