An Indifference to Ivory: Cultural Traditions of Japan May No Longer Dictate Elephant Contraband

An Indifference to Ivory: Cultural Traditions of Japan

In Japan, ivory products have often been described as a part of Japanese culture and tradition but what does ivory really mean to Japanese citizens? Is there really such a high demand for ivory? Are Japanese citizens aware that elephants are subject to continued bloodshed as a result of this demand?

Only 7% of all poll participants supported importing ivory while 61% (including 30% who are strongly opposed) were opposed. However, 32% of those polled were undecided on whether they support or oppose. The majority of both males and females were in opposition to importing ivory (Male-63%; Female-56%), and, approximately 70% of each age group polled was opposed except for males 15-19 years old (wherein the opposition rate stayed at 49%). Females aged 50-59 had the highest percentage rate of opposition at 71%.


Céline Sissler-Bienvenu, Director, France and Francophone Africa
Director, France and Francophone Africa
Dr. Cynthia Moss, IFAW Elephant Expert
IFAW Elephant Expert
Grace Ge Gabriel, Regional Director, Asia
Regional Director, Asia
James Isiche, Regional Director, East Africa
Regional Director, East Africa
Jason Bell, Program Director, Elephants Regional Director, South Africa
Program Director, Elephants, Regional Director, South Africa
Vivek Menon, Director of IFAW partner, Wildlife Trust of India
Senior Advisor to the CEO on Strategic Partnerships & Philanthropy