Bonding with the Nonhuman World: Why People Feed Wildlife in Japan


Feeding wild animals, or esayari, is something of a national pastime in Japan. Open-range monkey parks even market themselves to the public by depicting the hand-feeding of monkeys as the highlight of the visit. This article reflects upon why people practice esayari and what its effects are. In some cases, the feeder feels sorry for the animal, believing that it will starve otherwise. Other times, it seems to be motivated by the relationship it creates with the animal—transformative feeding.