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‘Look over there! Turn out your flashlights,” exclaimed Kunihiko Otsuki one recent Sunday night as he stood in an area of broadleaf mixed woodland with five other forest enthusiasts.

With the lights off, the forest returned to its primordial blackness. Below, the ocean lapped gently against the shores of the small, forest-covered island of Mesameyama in Ugui, Wakayama Prefecture, where the group stood. Only a few shafts of moonlit sky broke through But eyes adjust to darkness, and gradually a cluster of glowing green dots became visible on the forest floor: luminescent mushrooms.

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