Invasive Species Compendium

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Abstract

Historical investigation into articles on alien species introduced around 1910, particularly Shozaburou Watase's introduction of the mongoose to the Okinawa Islands, Japan.

Abstract

In April 1910, Professor Shozaburou Watase, Tokyo Imperial University, introduced the mongoose, Hesperates auropunctatus, an alien mammal, into the Okinawa and Tonaki Islands, in the Nansei Islands, Japan. This paper reviews the introduction process and reveals the following seven points. First, Hisatomo Nakagawa partially translated an article on alien mammals and birds, including the mongoose in Jamaica, from English into Japanese, without indicating the article's source (Nakagawa 1900). Second, S. Watase was advised to maintain a friendship with H. Nakagawa throughout their careers. Third, it has been proved that an article by Palmer (1899) was the source for Nakagawa's translation (1900), and a comparison of Nakagawa (1900) with Palmer (1899) showed that Nakagawa (1900) did not translate some alien species and the need for legislation, as illustrated by Palmer (1899). Fourth, S. Watase's logic for introducing the mongoose into the Okinawa Islands was explained in his publications and newspapers reporting his lecture held in Naha (Okinawa), April 14, 1910. Fifth, although S. Watase did not list the literature cited in his publications, it was suggested that he had read Espeut (1882), Duerden (1896), and Palmer (1899) about the mongoose introduction to Jamaica, and the words "S. WATASE", "3 SEP. 1907," and "IMPERIAL UNIVERSITY, TOKIO" had been stamped on the cover of the offprint of Palmer (1899), housed in the Watase Library, the Library of National Taiwan University, Taiwan. Sixth, the events of the mongoose introduction into Okinawa carried out by S. Watase were recorded chronologically from 1907 to 1910. Seventh, due to poor accessibility, three publications from 1910 had been overlooked until an edition was reprinted in 2015. By comparing them carefully, it was apparent that Kishida (1924, 1927, 1931) lacked references in his descriptions and incorrectly reported locality names and the number of mongooses introduced, although his publication had been the only literature in Japanese describing the history of the mongoose introduction into Jamaica, Okinawa, and other foreign areas at that time.