Oh deer, where have all the people gone?

Japanese photographer Yoko Ishii spent four years walking the streets of Nara and Miyajima Island capturing deer in what has become their native habitat. Her series ‘Beyond the Border’ is about Sika deer, which are considered a divine servant of the Kasuga shrine and are protected as a special national treasure.

Sika deers in Yoko Ishii’s photos mostly roam freely in lifeless midtown Nara, a world devoid of humans: The deer can be found standing in the middle of desolate intersections, not bound by man’s boarders and laws.

However, over 360,000 deer are permitted to be killed every year in Japan by the Japanese Government who have legitimised the practice of culling deer in the vain hope of stopping them from destroying farmers crops, land and forays into the suburbs of cities and towns.

“Inside these arbitrary boundaries created by man, the deer are beloved and treated as if they were domesticated animals. Outside of these boundaries, they are killed as destructive animals and unknowingly go beyond the borders with a spring in their step. By taking photographs of the free Sika deer in Nara and in Miyajima, I dream that one day they will occupy an abandoned town,” Yoko Ishii said.

(All photos by Yoko Ishii.)

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