A spooky ‘amusement park’ has sparked outrage by erecting a monument to a 9ft bear that killed seven people.
The massive predator has struck on the Japanese island of Hokkaido, and now a theme park built in homage to the bloodbath has opened in rural Sankebetsu.
The Sankebetsu Brown Bear Incident Reconstruction Site is themed after the five-day savage ordeal that saw homes destroyed and seven villagers mauled to death by a huge rampaging brown bear more than a year ago. century.
But the attraction is not for the faint-hearted.
Online reviews for the rebuilt site include comments such as: “I couldn’t visit it alone”, “It’s too scary” and “I was too scared to leave the car”.
Office of the Hokkaido Government Representative)
These comments are not exaggerated since the official website of the municipality even warns visitors that “it is not well lit, even during the day”, “there is no mobile phone service in the area”, ” brown bears may appear”, and “please refrain from visiting at night as it is dangerous”.
Sightings of Asiatic black bears and larger brown bears, which live on the island of Hokkaido, are on the rise. The warnings are therefore worth noting, especially given the horrific events that have unfolded in the region.
The attack, known as the Sankebetsu Brown Bear Incident, occurred in 1915 when newly arrived settlers in the area were clearing land for agriculture.
On the night of December 9, a giant brown bear that had not hibernated attacked the village, breaking into one of the villagers’ huts and maiming two people to death.
But the creature’s bloodlust didn’t stop, and later that night the bear returned. The villagers had gathered to guard the settlement and were able to stop the bear from attacking one of the family huts.
However, the bear then moved to another hut, where it maimed and killed five people.
The terrifying ordeal continued for five days, as the ferocious beast returned to ransack homes and terrify the inhabitants, until the mighty creature was slain by a famous bear hunter.
Hunter Yamamoto Heikichi bagged the beast on December 14, the monster weighed 340 kilograms (749 pounds) and was 2.7 meters (8.9 feet) long.
News of the horrific incident spread across Japan and has since inspired novels, manga, documentaries, plays and even a movie called Yellow Fangs, directed by Sonny Chiba.
Not to mention the theme park itself, built on the site of the attack, where visitors can see re-enactments of the tragedy, complete with huts of villagers and gigantic bear models.
One recreation shows the bear almost as tall as one of the villager’s huts, while another shows the terrifying creature slicing its way through the wall of a hut, searching for prey.
After the bear attack, all the settlers left and the area became uninhabited, at least by humans. Bears still exist in the area today, and in greater numbers than before, due to the cessation of annual bear hunting culls that were previously in place in Hokkaido until 1990.
The park was created to tell the story of the terrifying attack and promote coexistence between humans and nature and it bears witness to the terrifying power of nature. But locals also benefit from the myth that has grown around the attacks that attract tourists and put their sleepy corner of rural Japan on the map.
Just be sure to bring bear bells to scare off any non-human park visitors you may encounter during your visit, as the area remains prime bear habitat.