John Frederick Walker

Towers of Ivory: Does Japan have an ivory problem? It’s complicated.

Posted in art news, elephant and ivory news by JFW on December 6, 2019

In a just-published essay in The Smart Set, I examine Japan’s domestic legal ivory market, which is widely thought by many conservationists to be contributing to elephant poaching.  Does it?

Given the widespread laundering of poached tusks in national ivory markets elsewhere, most elephant advocates are convinced that it must be happening in Japan as well — even if there’s no evidence of it.

The problem Japan has with ivory sales is much more complicated: it’s a tangle of seductive traditional art, insufficient enforcement and growing rejection of sustainable wildlife trade….

Read the entire article at

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