Panda at Ueno Zoo

May 30 2005

The Ueno Zoo is Tokyo’s main zoo, and is somewhat famous for a [beautifully illustrated storybook][1] about sad times there during World War II. Now the zoo is also famous for its pandas. Hundreds of people line up outside the panda exhibit and are hustled past by staff with megaphones, calling “keep moving, don’t stop, keep moving, don’t stop” constantly. The pandas just sit there looking worried or sad. I wonder how many people are there because they are genuinely interested in learning about pandas, and how many are there because pandas are culturally supposed to be “cute”. [1]: