The Japanese kanji for bear (kuma) is a useful one to know if you are out hiking in the mountains at this time of year. The sign reads: kuma shutsubotsu chui (lit. "Beware of haunting bears" or a better translation may be "There are bears about.")
Bear attacks are rare in Japan, but they do occur. In September last year, a black bear injured nine people at a highway rest stop in Nyukawa, a small village in northern Gifu Prefecture and caused havoc as it broke into a souvenir shop before it was shot dead by a registered hunter.
The Sankebetsu brown bear incident in Hokkaido in 1915 is Japan's worst bear attack in which a huge brown bear killed seven people over a period of time.
The following site www.davidbjack.com had information on Japanese brown bear attacks in Hokkaido, some of them fatal, and the author's close encounter with our furry friend on one of its "hauntings".
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