Congrats to Paul Brown (above in action) MD at Mary Evans Picture Library and Ardea who landed another of his personal photo assignments “Rabbit Island” on three UK national newspaper websites this week …scroll down for links to the those.
Paul, just back from Japan, told PhotoArchiveNews.com: “Tucked away off the coast of Japan, a short rail and ferry journey from Hiroshima is Okunoshima Island, or as it is better known, “Rabbit Island”. Largely unknown until a couple of years ago, “Rabbit Island” is fast becoming a popular tourist attraction thanks to social network sites like Facebook and YouTube showing crazy pictures and videos of people being mobbed by rabbits for food. Once I read about “Rabbit Island” it immediately went on my list of places to visit and on a visit Japan two weeks ago I finally got the opportunity to get up close and personal with the very cute and totally fearless denizens of Okunoshima Island and shoot a few photos.”
“Rabbit Island” truly lives up to its name and is home to potentially thousands of rabbits, all of which seem to have lost their fear of humans who they now see as a primary source for food. As soon as the ferry docks at the jetty, the rabbits start hopping towards the people trooping off the ship. Locals ignore them but the visitors immediately stop to “ooh” and “ah” and reach for their cameras, smart phones or the bags of rabbit food they purchased from enterprising salespeople on the departure pier.
Indeed, the moment anyone reaches into a bag, or rustles anything resembling paper, the rabbits are attracted and the bag rustlers are quickly surrounded. It really is an amazing experience to be surrounded by a fluffy mass of cuteness, but after a while, as one gets used to the novelty, the totally surreal nature of the situation becomes apparent. Looking at humans writhing with laughter on the ground, literally covered with rabbits is not only a strange sight, but put a horror movie soundtrack to the scene and a few screams, and you have the makings of a 1950s B movie to terrorise the kids. However, the kids love the place too and see it for the truly cute, or “Kawai” place it is.”
“No one seems to know where the rabbits came from. During the period 1930-1945, the island was used as a storehouse and testing ground for poison gas, and the remains of the facilities can still be found on a walk round the island which is truly fascinating. Apparently rabbits were shipped as test subjects but it seems likely they were all destroyed along with the gas in 1945. Another rumour is that a school teacher brought some rabbits for school children to play with and from just a few rabbits, there are now thousands of descendants. Whatever the source, the rabbits continue to thrive as there are no natural predators on the island and cats and dogs are banned. With tourist a ready primary food source, it looks like it won’t be long before there will be little room left for the humans and that B movie plot may just become a reality.
In the meantime it is a fun place to visit and the locals are still amazed when they see a European face, curiously asking where we heard about Okunoshima.”
• View Paul’s other photo usages reported on PAN:
UK Picture Library MD Lands Travel Photo Spread In UK Newspapers
Flood Stranded Photo Library Boss Bags Image Usage In UK Newspaper