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January 9, 2003

Posted by Teresa at 12:18 PM *

Oolong the rabbit is dead. He was the much-photographed and obviously much-loved pet of Hironori Akutagawa, who for years now has maintained a frequently updated photographic weblog about him. The photos are charming. Here are some typical days. Hironori Akutagawa is a sensitive photographer, and he and the bunny obviously had great rapport. That weblog was one of the things that got me through the weeks following 9/11.

Oolong had a lot of personality. His most notable oddity was his ability to balance objects on his head. He liked meadows, and running around in the snow. He went on excursions. It looked like a happy life.

There’ve been times of late when his health didn’t look so good. No surprise there; he was a very old rabbit. Still, I didn’t like to think about it. He was well enough at New Year’s to balance his annual Happy New Year sign on his head, and go outside to play in the snow.

Yesterday the last pictures went up. The story’s buried in the source code, picture by picture: He’d been unwell since the day before. Probably he had acute heart failure. He died peacefully. Goodbye.

Goodbye, rabbit, and thanks for all the pix.

Update: Hironori Akutagawa has put up an announcement:

I’m sorry for this sudden news, Oolong passed away on January 7th.

He was so well and cheerful as usual, but at 14:30 his condition changed suddenly, and he couldn’t support himself less and less, seemed to feel dull. Then at 19:30, he softly stopped breathing in the arms of his owner and completed his eight years and five months and more several days life filled with various adventure.

Since opening this website, Oolong had gotten incredible lots of support from all over the world, not only in Japan, more than 25 countries. Surely he seems to be the best fortunate rabbit in the world.

Thank you very much for your warmth.

There is still some stock of Oolong’s photograph not released yet, so this site will be regularly updated so far. Here he can live for ever. Wishing he can also live in hearts of you all, please.

P.S. I’m receiving so many emails about condolences from over the world, please forgive me not to be able to send quick each reply. Thank you.

Comments on Oolong:
#1 ::: Adrienne Martini ::: (view all by) ::: January 09, 2003, 04:33 PM:

Oh no! That bit of news certainly tossed a wet towel on an otherwise lovely day. Poor Oolong.

He was certainly loved and will be missed.

#2 ::: catie murphy ::: (view all by) ::: January 09, 2003, 05:52 PM:

Man. I'd never heard of Oolong the rabbit, and now I'm sitting here sniffling, with tears in my eyes. The last picture of the carrot-ears in the snow really got me. I'm getting horribly sentimental in my old age. *sniffle*

#3 ::: Emma ::: (view all by) ::: January 09, 2003, 06:59 PM:

Me too, Catie.

#4 ::: Kip ::: (view all by) ::: January 09, 2003, 08:52 PM:

Now I'm thinking of the late Cruiser, a pet rabbit my friend Randy had. A happy, frolicking bun who would hop around us in glee at the thought of being out in the yard with people again. I was scratching Cruiser between the ears, and he purred. I didn't know rabbits purred! (I know now.)

My sympathies on Oolong. Having known how sweet one of his ilk could be, I can only imagine the size hole his departure leaves.

#5 ::: Katrien Rutten ::: (view all by) ::: January 10, 2003, 08:16 AM:

Aww. Poor Akutagawa-san.

His announcement reminded me of T.H. White's equally affecting letter about the death of his dog.

Oyez a Oolong le douce.

#6 ::: Dancelf ::: (view all by) ::: January 11, 2003, 12:36 AM:

My heart has joined the Thousand
for my friend stopped running today.

#7 ::: Nancy Hanger ::: (view all by) ::: January 11, 2003, 10:29 AM:

There are some tributes to Oolong going on in the pancakebunnny community at LiveJournal ( My tribute is there -- Oolong was a small joy in many lives.

#8 ::: Vera ::: (view all by) ::: January 15, 2003, 11:10 AM:

I've never heard of Oolong before this either, but now like Catie, I am getting all weepy here.

#9 ::: Janice ::: (view all by) ::: May 12, 2003, 12:29 PM:

I had never known about this little bunny and his pal in Japan. Even so, after seeing these lovely photos I'm in tears. It's heartening to find other sensitive-types out there... Thanks.

#10 ::: Kate Nepveu ::: (view all by) ::: December 03, 2003, 12:35 PM:

Oolong's owner has a new rabbit, who is also very happy to be photographed:

(via a late catch-up of BoingBoing)

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