Bear Attack Victim in Akita Pref. Recalls Fearing for His Life; “The bear bit down on my head.”

Courtesy of bear attack victim
Wounds from a bear attack are seen on the back of a man from Kita-Akita, Akita Prefecture.

“The bear bit down on my head. I couldn’t do anything,” said a man from Kita-Akita, Akita Prefecture, who was attacked by a bear last week. The 66-year-old man said in a phone interview with The Yomiuri Shimbun on Tuesday he thought he was going to die. The confectionary shop owner is still in the hospital, getting treatment for his wounds.

Local police are calling on the public to stay alert as four more people were attacked by bears in the prefecture on Tuesday.

The man interviewed encountered the bear shortly after 11 a.m. on Thursday last week. When he pulled up a garage door in his backyard, he found the bear inside. The animal was only two meters away from him.

“He was facing forward, and our eyes met. The bear was at least one meter tall. I thought I didn’t stand a chance and immediately started to run away,” he said. “But after about 10 meters, I got knocked down.”

The man fell with the right side of his body up, and the bear came down on him.

“It was growling horribly, and bit my head with its his fangs. I couldn’t do anything,” he said.

The attack seemed to last for only a minute, and he managed to escape into his studio. He stanched the bleeding with a towel and called the police.

Looking into a mirror, he saw the right part of his scalp sticking up. A roughly 10 centimeters-square patch of his skull was visible.

He was taken by emergency medical helicopter to a hospital in Akita City and is still receiving treatment. He sustained countless scratches on his back, right arm and the right side of his torso. His face bears deep wounds.

Earlier that day in the city, around 6:40 a.m., two women were attacked by a bear while on a walk. Then a high school girl was also attacked by the bear around 7:00 a.m. at a bus station only 800 meters north of the first attack. The bear is believed to have been the same one found in the man’s garage.

The man says he watches out for bears when he goes deep into the mountains for fishing. But this time, he had no chance to get the hunting knife or repellant spray he keeps at home.

“I never thought I would be attacked by a bear in my own backyard. It’s not a normal fall,” he said.

Bears were also spotted in downtown Akita City on Tuesday. According to Akita-Higashi Police Station, three bears, believed to be a parent bear and two cubs, were sighted on a street about 500 meters east of Akita University around 7:10 a.m. Witnesses said one bear was about one meter long while the other two were about 50 centimeters long.