Listen&Learn: The “Rabbit Island” in Japan

Pre-listening vocabulary

  • populated: inhabited; occupied
  • tourist: someone who travels to and explores different places
  • ferry: a boat meant to carry passengers across a short distance
  • mainland: the area of land that forms the main part of a country
  • theory: an attempt to explain something

Listening activity

Gapfill exercise

Okunoshima, a small island off the of Japan, is a place mostly populated by rabbits. The island is a tourist destination for people who want to spend the day with cute animals. Tourists can reach this island by taking a ferry over from the mainland. Although Okunoshima is mostly known for the rabbits that live there today, it is also a very site. The island was once used to produce chemical weapons during World War II. Back then, these weapon factories were kept so secret that Okunoshima wasn’t even labelled on Japanese maps. Many people believe that the island’s rabbit population is related to this history. A theory is that the military once brought rabbits to the island to test chemicals on, and a few rabbits were into the wild. Today, over 1,000 rabbits live there, and the population is only growing.

Comprehension questions

1. Tourists come to visit Okunoshima because of

Correct! Wrong!

Tourists come to visit Okunoshima because of the large rabbit population.

2. People can travel from the mainland to Okunoshima by

Correct! Wrong!

People can travel from the mainland to Okunoshima by ferry.

3. During World War II, the island was used to

Correct! Wrong!

During World War II, the island was used to produce chemical weapons.

Discussion/essay questions

  1. Although it may sound like fun to visit an island full of rabbits, tourism has caused unfortunate consequences. People who feed the rabbits are contributing to an overpopulation problem that is harmful to the island’s natural ecosystem. How could tourism be regulated to protect the ecosystem?

Transcript

Okunoshima, a small island off the coast of Japan, is a place mostly populated by rabbits. The island is a popular tourist destination for people who want to spend the day with cute animals. Tourists can reach this island by taking a ferry over from the mainland. Although Okunoshima is mostly known for the rabbits that live there today, it is also a very historical site. The island was once used to produce chemical weapons during World War II. Back then, these weapon factories were kept so secret that Okunoshima wasn’t even labelled on Japanese maps. Many people believe that the island’s rabbit population is related to this history. A common theory is that the military once brought rabbits to the island to test chemicals on, and a few rabbits were released into the wild. Today, over 1,000 rabbits live there, and the population is only growing.

Written and recorded by Jaksyn Peacock for EnglishClub

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