Elephant stone

Pets in Japan, or at least dogs of a diminutive nature, are treated terrifically well, with fashion and fancy foodstuffs far from uncommon. Larger, less cuddly creatures on the other hand aren’t always lavished with such luxuries, and, in some of the worst cases, are left bereft of even the basics.

A decidedly sorry situation that this elephant in Odawara knows about all too well.

Odawara elephant

As, while it may have a cracking view of the castle,

Odawara castle

it has precious little else to pass the time of day.

And although the sight of Umeko might well have been a dream to a few children too young to see such suffering,

Odawara elephant

her cruel concrete confinement and lack of companions surely means that after almost sixty years without stimulation,

Odawara elephant

the desperate beast’s death would surely be the only hope worth having.

Odawara elephant


  1. Jenny says

    Is there nothing that can be done to help this elephant?!? Why is it being cared for in this manner? Who is responsible for this neglectful and torturous behavior?

  2. Redline says

    Wow that’s terrible, shocking to see such an elephant get such treatment in a country like Japan.

    Isn’t there some sort of Japanese zoo society/organisation that checks over these enclosures that you can report them to ?

    Or Lee contact the http://www.worldwildlife.org/ I’m sure they would have access to the right channels in Japan to get something done for that poor elephant.

  3. Denise says

    Wow. I thought the San Francisco Zoo was depressing. This is even more so. I’m not sure how stringent animal rights are in Japan but I hope this will catch attention to someone who can help.

  4. says

    Not the kind of thing I usually post on Tokyo Times I know, but the sight of that elephant was so grim I couldn’t let it go by without a mention.

    I’d been to Odawara about 8 or 9 years ago, and been shocked then by the animal’s grim and confined conditions. But to go back after all that time and see exactly the same sorry sight really brought home the poor beast’s plight.


  5. says

    I went there also several years back, and was repulsed by the place. There was a matted camel, tied at the neck, with no option to move at all. Horrible!

  6. eric says

    This is absolutely horrible; my day is ruined. If anyone can direct me to an agency–Japanese, international, anything–that may be able to help this poor noble beast touch grass once more before it dies, I’ll make every effort to facilitate it.

  7. eric says

    Update. In my official capacity as creative director of Best Friends [http://www.bestfriends.org], I’ve written the Mayor of Odagawa and asked that Umeko be moved to a sanctuary or zoo so she can live out her days with other elephants. I encourage anyone else to do the same:

    Mayor Kenichi Kato
    300 Ogikubo, Odawara-shi,

  8. Sam says

    I know your post is years old, however after my mother and I having our day at Odawara (Feb 2014) ruined by seeing a sorry sight of confined monkeys living in their own filth, on the way out of the castle compound, we are trying to get something done to release the poor animals, at the very least out of that cage. It was very upsetting. Any current addresses or people you’d recommend writing to?

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