It is often claimed that the Japanese have a particular love for nature, a love often reflected in their art and material
culture. But today equal notice is being given to the environmental degradation caused by the Japanese at home as well as
abroad. How can these phenomena be reconciled? This issue is but one of several raised that this volume seeks to address in
its examination of the human-nature relationship in Japan. Through topics ranging from medieval literature and fine arts through
to modern vending machines and tourism, the authors document the great diversity in how people perceive their natural environment
and how they come to terms with nature, be it through brute force, rituals or idealization. The main message of the book is
that 'nature' and the 'natural' are concepts very much conditioned by their context, an approach quite different from the
uncompromising stance so often found in the West.