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Japan's Love Affair With Capybaras

capybara japan

Capybaras relax at a zoo in Saitama Prefecture, north of Tokyo. Image from capybarahp YouTube channel.

Japan is experiencing a bit of a love affair with the capybara, the large, hamster-like rodent with a gentle disposition and a preference for hot spring baths.

For example, the YouTube channel “capybara lover's page” has more than 6,000 subscribers and six million views. The YouTube channel's mission? “To introduce capybaras with the highest-resolution video possible.”

The video “scratching many capybaras” has so far racked up more the 1.2 million views:

There's also I Love Capybaras (カピバラ大好き), a website devoted to the world's largest rodent. There is a blog, a YouTube channel and a Twitter account, but most of the action happens on a Facebook page that has 33,000 followers and is frequently updated.

The main attraction of the website is a “capybara navigator” that shows where to find the hamster-like rodent in prefectures all over Japan.

The page's Twitter account has some amusing images as well:

I went and saw the capybaras at Reoma Resort (in Kagawa on the island of Shikoku), and I'll be flying back home today. I'll provide an update on my blog.

The most popular video on the YouTube channel shows a capybara jumping from a pool:

Capybaras, which are native to South America, are well-known in Japan thanks to the popular cartoon character Kapibara-san.

From TRYWORKS: Kapibara-san is collaborating with LINE Pokopan in a hit new game! Kapibara-san ranks against other animals and friends for loads of fun. Details here: https://t.co/MSX5rqFzkY pic.twitter.com/lJKJqCJ6kt

The love for capybaras is not limited to Japanese people.

Umami Dearest, a member of American online community MetaFilter, has also created a guide to animal cafes in Japan, and her website includes where to see capybaras in that country.

For those who are interested, Umami Dearest has also posted some handy FAQ's about animal cafes in Japan.

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