AMPONTAN

Japan from the inside out

Whale of a good time

Posted by ampontan on Thursday, June 9, 2011

Preach not to others what they should eat, but eat as becomes you and remain silent.
– Epictetus

WE’VE ALL seen websites and blogs where people upload photos of food they cook at home or eat at a restaurant. I’ve never done that before — it never looks as appetizing as the bloggers think — but let’s give it a try and see what happens. For example:

Whale chirashizushi!

Whale nikujaga! (stewed meat, potatoes, and onion)

Deep-fried whale skewers!

Whale stewed in citron juice!

Whale tongue stew!

Smoked whale hors d’œuvre! (Meat and hide)

And this unidentified lip-smacker!

Or this!

And this one too!

Some dietary ideologues would never be happy unless they were unhappy that somebody somewhere might be enjoying these dishes, none of which I’ve eaten but all of which I’d try. I’ve always liked the whale I’ve been served, including the meals my wife cooked with whale as the main ingredient.

Some other ideologues wouldn’t be happy unless they were unhappy about those barbaric Japanese butchers cleavering away at the sacred cows of the sea.

Their bad. Those photos come not from Japan, but from Ulsan, South Korea, where the local whale festival was held at the end of May. An annual event more than 10 years old, the festival runs for three or four days and attracts upwards of 250,000 people. (See this previous post on the festival for more information.) The Ulsanians developed a taste for whale during the colonial days, which will make another group of ideologues happy by reminding them of the unhappy days before they were born, but — who cares!

The theme of this year’s festival was a whale cuisine exchange with Kumamoto in Kyushu, with which Ulsan has long had ties. The Japanese were happy to attend.

The woman at right is from Nagasaki, the woman in the center is from Kumamoto, and the two women at left are chums from Hokkaido, whale-chomping centers all. The woman dressed in the traditional chima chogori operates one of Ulsan’s 20 whale restaurants. (It’s not possible to give an accurate rendition of her name because it appeared only as Shin in katakana in Japanese.) In addition to her crimes against humanity by serving cannibal fare, she was also the food coordinator for the internationally successful South Korean television show Daejangeum, known in English as “Jewel in the Palace”. Here’s a summary of the program from the show’s website:

“The miniseries…is based on the story of a real historical figure (Jang-geum) who was the first and only woman to serve as head physician to the King in the rigidly hierarchical and male-dominated social structure of the Joseon Dynasty. Daejanggeum, in English, ‘the Great Jang-geum,’ caught the attention of Korean TV viewers with its unique combination of two themes: the successful rise of a female, which is rarely covered in historical genre, and the elements of traditional food and medicine.”

The series was very successful on cable in Japan, and it has been rebroadcast several times. One of the spin-offs was a cookbook featuring the dishes presented on the program, which the woman in the photo surely had a key role in compiling. The cookbook was also sold in Japan, though it probably contained no whale dishes.

Maybe it should have. The theme of the show was traditional food and medicine, and the red meat of the whale contains the dipeptide balenine, which some athletes now take in supplement form because it improves blood flow and restores resiliency to muscle after workouts.

The Ulsan — Kumamoto connection dates back to the late 16th century when Kato Kiyomasa, the first daimyo of the Kumamoto domain in Higonokuni, participated in Toyotomi Hideyoshi’s invasion of the Korean Peninsula. Kato built a castle in Ulsan (of which a few foundation stones remain) that became the model for the Kumamoto Castle, which he also built. The latter structure was finished in 1607, but most of it was torn down during the Satsuma Rebellion of 1877. It has since been restored and is now a major tourist site.

Some workers from Ulsan helped build the Kumamoto version, and legend has it that the view from the hill on the southwest side of the castle reminded them of home. That’s how the district they spied later became known as Urusan-machi. The area is now part of Shin-machi after a municipal reorganization, but the Urusanmachi name survives as one of the Kumamoto City trolley stops:

Meanwhile, action on the Festivus Balaena front will shift to Japan later this summer, as the folks at the Sumiyoshi Taisha, a Shinto shrine in Sakai, Osaka, decided to revive their own whale festival. Both the facility and the event are as old as the hills, or perhaps in this case, as old as the waves. The shrine is celebrating its 1,800th anniversary this year, and it was already a millennium old when they began holding the whale festival, which dates from sometime in the Kamakura period. That ended in 1333.

The event has been held only sporadically since the Meiji Era (which began in 1868). Once upon a time, it was offered every 20 to 30 years. That’s unusual for Japanese festivals, most of which are annual affairs. This year’s revival, however, will be the first in 57 years. It is held in supplication for sea safety, and originated in a dance to placate the unhappy fisherman who came home empty-handed on whale-hunting expeditions. The Osakans thought it would be an excellent idea to bring it back as a way to help calm the waters after so many people died in the Tohoku tsunami this year. One of the advantages of such a long national history is that when something new is called for, it’s always possible to dive into the past and retrieve something old that most people didn’t know existed.

It’s been so long since the last time, however, that most everyone forgot how to do it. The Sakai municipal government worked with local historians to study photos and jog the memories of festival vets who were around during the last big blow in 1954. The main attraction is a 27-meter-long bamboo and cloth whale float, which is roomy enough for people inside to open and close the beast’s mouth, move its tail, and spurt water. Meanwhile, people alongside will chant the whale chant and dance the whale dance. Megafauna fans in Sakai will get to see all this on 24 July if they visit the shrine, and on 1 August when the leviathan is paraded from the shrine to the city.

Said one historian:

“I’m glad they’re bringing it back. Several generations now don’t know about the festival, but I want them to enjoy the vitality and spirit of fishermen of old.”

And while we’re on the subject of of big game hunting, some of the pretend buccaneer/junior ideologues of Sea Shepherd are in Japan to do what they do best — irritate the hell out of normal people — by traveling to Iwate to take photos of the dolphin hunt. Iwate’s local catch accounts for more than half of Japan’s dolphin and whale industry by tonnage. It is also one of the three prefectures most seriously damaged by March’s earthquake/tsunami. The Mainichi Daily News explains what happened:

“Earlier this month, the members took pictures of a fish market devastated by the disaster as well as fishing boats and posted the photos on the group’s website, triggering anger among some local fishermen over their return to the town.

“A local fisherman said, ‘Dolphin hunting is not done in May. Many boats were swept away due to the quake and tsunami, and the fish market is also in a terrible condition. There is nothing left to take pictures of.’”

We shouldn’t be too harsh on the swabbies — you know they’re determined not to be happy unless they can be really unhappy about whaling or dolphining. If they had something productive to do with their lives, they’d already be doing it. After all, it takes more than a few degrees of eccentric warp to think one is doing the world a favor by getting in the way while the people who suffered one of history’s greatest natural disasters are trying to rebuild their lives and homes.

If it’s pictures they want, I can’t help them with dolphins, but I could send them the link to the Japanese site promoting whale cuisine where I swiped the photos above. All they have to do is ask.

Afterwords:

It was entertaining to re-read the comments on my old post to which I linked above. It’s curious how some people aren’t happy unless they aren’t happy that other people are happy about living in Japan.

*****
The Sea Shepherd recruiting song

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45 Responses to “Whale of a good time”

  1. Alex said

    “Or this” – whale chimichangas? It looks like either a fried tortilla or an egg roll wrapper

  2. toadold said

    I’ve got some American Indian blood in me and I really despise the the Green Peace, Peta, Vegan, and etc. crowd. To a person they are of the left, and while out of one side of their mouths they’ll spout multiculturalism they don’t hesitate to condemn a different cultures cuisine. The tribes that I’m related to ate dog meat. The French still eat horse. The Northwester tribes ate whale and the Inuit eat whale and seal. They’ll eat seal organ meat raw. My take is that they are essentially worthless people seeking a cause so they can feel superior to people who are actually worth something.
    Pardon the rant but they really cheese me off. I hope they die early from vitamin B6 deficiencies. Which judging from somes appearance they are starting to suffer from.
    ———
    T: Koreans eat dog meat still, but you probably knew that. My uncle was in the Army in Korea some years ago and he had funny stories. One young innocent in his outfit picked up a stray dog somewhere and kept it, feeding it table scraps. He grew very attached to it and wanted to take it with him when he was shipped back to the States, but they wouldn’t let him. He asked around if anyone would take care of the dog for him, and their sargeant volunteered. My uncle said as soon as the guy’s jeep taking him to the airport was around the bend, that dog was sold for cash on the barrelhead to a local farmer, and he had no doubt it was on the farmer’s dinner table that night.

    – A.

  3. Alex said

    @Toadold
    I definitely agree, PETA is stupid. While sometimes they have good messages (don’t eat fur, eat sustainably), the methods they choose are absolutely ridiculous. My favorite is when they tried to rename fish “sea kittens”. I have a few friends who were studying marine biology at the time and they were almost angry at how stupid that was.

    >My take is that they are essentially worthless people seeking a cause so they can feel superior to people who are actually worth something.

    I think you could apply that to a LOT of “activist” groups.

  4. Nice post Ampontan. I’d like to add a favorite quote of mine:
    “Not what goes into the mouth defiles a man; but what comes out of the mouth, this defiles a man.”
    Matthew 15:11

  5. “It’s curious how some people aren’t happy unless they aren’t happy that other people are happy about living in Japan.”

    There Ampontan, is a perfect summation of the psychology of these troubled individuals.

  6. toadold said

    I think the Chinese and the French have a recipe for everything. I don’t know for sure but I heard that the term chow for food is derived from the use of Chow Chow dogs for human consumption.
    In WW II in meat starved Europe “roof rabbits” met their ends from cross bow bolts. An American Indian recipe for dog can be found in the annals of the Lewis and Clark expedition.

  7. Those whale dishes look oishii! Great news about the revival of the festival in Sakai, I’m sure it will be a big success.

  8. The whale in citron juice looks absolutely amazing.

  9. Tony said

    Yes the whale looks good but who’s standing up for the poor lemons! Save the lemon!

  10. FU Ahab said

    @Toadold. The tribe I still belong to has a long history and successful history of robbing and killing off other tribes in order to feed itself and protect the land it mostly stole. Actually, we a did a good job on the animal-like vermin that used to inhabit the Great Plains of America and now own then.

    Unlike you, I am a pure bred of a superior race and proud of it. Our knowledge, killing technologies and communications allowed us to invade all other tribes’ territory, dominate and kill them. It is our tradition to do so, therefore my right to carry on doing so.

    Some say the First Nations did not like it but, like you and the whales, we could not understand their songs and languages, and our holy men told us they had no souls anyway and blessed our killing sprees. There were just like the other animals we hunted; at worse “cockroaches” to be exterminated, at best objects of entertainment to perform tricks at circuses … just like you do today at marine parks.

    Do you get the message?

    These days it is perfectly possible to live a full, satisfying and healthy life without deliberately killing other animals. We also all know its environmental impact and the vast benefits of not doing so.

    It is a very small minded, blinkered view, belonging back in the 19th C or even tribal period, that views species the likes of whale as purely food or a “natural resources” which is our right to plunder with joke “scientific research” programmes. Our understanding of the nature of ecosystems tells us now that whales etc are a vital component in sustaining the balance of the environment and that we are best not to mess with them.

    The debate is not about “one person telling someone else what to eat”. That something is old or traditional does not make it divine. We all know the vastly damaging costs and effects the meat industries have on the environment. Inarguable unless you are going to argue that it is perfectly fine, or “legal”, for man to rape and destroy nature as long and as far as he wishes without impunity … and as long as there is a buck, or some “whale belly” government funding in it for someone.

    Japan also ate dog until quite recently, along with pretty much anything else that moved just like the rest of Asia still does, but as it developed, civilized and individuals’ tastes and ethics both evolved and were modified by exposure, it stopped doing so. I don’t read of many Japanese defending eating bugs because it is “traditional”, or insisting on huge government subsidies to go bug hunting just because their forefathers once did.

    Most Japanese would be disgusted and revolt if their kids were forced to eat dog or bugs even once a year by the government and school system by way of indoctrination. Most Japanese do not eat whale and dolphin meat at all and do not like it. Most Japanese have absolutely no tradition of doing so.

    The worst stink about all this whale and dolphin meat in Japan is not the meat, and believe me some of it really stinks, but the government funding of a decrepit industry, the hypocrisy of the industry’s defenders who rally against “big government” but then turn a blind eye to support it, and the pitifully embarrassing propaganda it puts out to defend it.
    ————
    FUA: Thanks for the note. Curious, none of the whale meat I’ve ever had stinks. Also curious is your handle. Ahab died and Moby Dick didn’t.

    The debate is not about “one person telling someone else what to eat”.

    If you are serious about that, I can only conclude you haven’t been following that side of the debate very closely.

    Most Japanese would be disgusted and revolt if their kids were forced to eat dog or bugs even once a year by the government and school system by way of indoctrination.

    Apple, meet orange.

    the hypocrisy of the industry’s defenders who rally against “big government” but then turn a blind eye to support it

    Support what? Can you name three “industry defenders” who “rally against big government” but then “support” the government’s efforts?

    From Bastiat, in the 19th century:

    Socialism, like the ancient ideas from which it springs, confuses the distinction between government and society. As a result of this, every time we object to a thing being done by government, the socialists conclude that we object to its being done at all. We disapprove of state education. Then the socialists say that we are opposed to any education. We object to a state religion. Then the socialists say that we want no religion at all. We object to a state-enforced equality. Then they say that we are against equality. And so on, and so on. It is as if the socialists were to accuse us of not wanting persons to eat because we do not want the state to raise grain.

    Turn that inside out, and you’ll get the drift.

    This person opposed to Big Government doesn’t think the government should be funding it either, but funding whale hunting is about #5,391 on the list of government programs that could be eliminated. At the top of the list is most of the Cabinet ministries and the taxpayer funding of political parties. Starting with whaling is like emptying the ashtrays in a commercial airliner to reduce the weight.

    Yoroshiku!

    – A.

  11. Ken said

    It seems the Texas daddy visited Japan and went to Taiji town to criticize the Sea Bul pirates.

  12. FU Ahab said

    It is not about food. It is about fucking with other living beings which have a right to peaceful existence of their own, that we have no divine rights over, and an ecosystem we know little about … except that we almost destroyed it and are continuing to do. It is also about Japanese backwardness, i.e. lack of conscience and awareness in this area.

    Unlike all those other 5,000 far more important financial cuts to make, this one could be made quickly, easily and would be entirely in Japan’s greater favour.

    The whale hypocrisy does far more harm to Japan than whatever profit it makes for a handful of individuals. It is also a small part of a far bigger problem such as Japan’s tendency to over fishing in general and appalling animal welfare record.

    It is about ‘diet’ though and the modern Japanese diet is an entirely artificial construction. It is not “Japanese” at all. Japan’s “traditional diet” lies in its history of 1,000 years of near vegetarianism. The “tradition” as a justification argument is total BS, a false construction. The only folks that could possibly believe in the propaganda are naive Japanese and retards who enjoy wind ups like the guy above.

    Actually, what I would have liked to have seen was the moment he stuck the raw whale meat in his mouth.

  13. Zen1 said

    People who believe their own BS are so amusing.. i’m fairly certain that what most developed nations/cultures considers “traditional cuisine” is FAR different than what they ate in their past 1,000 years.

    For example, I think Korean Kimchee would be pretty bland and boring without hot peppers (1492, Americas).
    Think about how valuable spices from the far east were 6 or 700 years ago, and how different modern european food is than what most people ate back then.
    ——
    Z1: Thanks for the note. You make a good point about the relative newness of traditional food. The peppers of kimchi are, I think, from the 19th century at the earliest. What Japanese consider to be traditional food coalesced during the Meiji period and was popularized by military service. There is, however, plenty of artwork dating back several centuries showing Japanese whaling expeditions.

    – A.

  14. 21st Century Schizoid Man said

    Anyway, we should not eat too much. Overeating is bad for health.

  15. FU Ahab said

    It is so simple. Hunting and eating whaling is the tradition of a coastal towns and villages the world over. It belongs to coastal towns and villages.

    Hunting and eating whaling is not the tradition of mountain and plains people. How much mobility was there in Japan pre-WWII?

    We all know the re-creation, the re-labelling of hunting and eating whaling as a “Japanese tradition” is very modern and politically laced, only dating back to the 1970s and since pitifully exploited by a few impoverished villages, without few to no redeeming features, attempting to make a Yen or two out of tourists.

    Some men living in Japan hunted whale. Does that mean “All Japanese” somehow magically shared that activity with them? How?

    What is this stuff called “Japanese tradition”? Who determines it, and how? Sex slavery, sex trafficking, pedophilia and hard core pornography are all “Japanese traditions”. It is logical, isn’t it?

    More Japanese people were, and are, involved in those activities than were ever involved in whaling. They are traditions that go back 100s of years. Therefore somehow magically those activities are shared by all Japanese. “We, Japanese …”

    At the end of the day, it is not food. It is the top of a food chain that keeps an eco-system we are raping to death together, and it is a feeling, thinking, living, sensing being just like we are … but with bigger brains.

  16. toadold said

    Vegetarians end up killing more animals than meat eaters do.
    They just turn a blind eye to what farmers do the animal habitat that reduce environmental niches that animals could live in and the direct kill off of crop eaters. I especially love it when I spot a animal rights morons raging against fur in a video wearing leather shoes. “I’m a vegan and eat no animal product she said as she dug into her Jello.” Right gelatin comes from gelatin plants organically grown.
    John Ringo please call your office.

  17. Alex said

    Hunting and eating whaling is the tradition of a coastal towns and villages the world over. It belongs to coastal towns and villages.

    Hunting and eating whaling is not the tradition of mountain and plains people. How much mobility was there in Japan pre-WWII?

    I’m not very knowledgeable about ancient Japanese geography, but I have always been told by my co-workers here and my teachers in college that Japan is an island country, dependent on the bounty from the ocean. It is about 2/3 covered by mountains, but other than rice (which wasnt a major part of Japanese culture for the past 1000 years either, maybe a part of imperial court culinary culture) and the random mountain greens people pick, most of their “traditional” sources of protein came from the ocean.
    The largest plain in Japan is 17000 sq kilometers, smaller than Wales and overall cover about 30% of their land area. So i have no idea where you can call Japanese “Plains People”

  18. FU Ahab said

    @Alex

    If you had a better English comprehension level, you would be able to see that both those statements you quote are universal in nature and do not refer to Japan specifically. Previous comments had referred to tribes in the American plains.

    Mobility within Japan right up until after WWII was tightly control and basically zero, even for minor samurai classes. “Where you was, was where you was”.

    We are talking about the creation of modern nationalist myths, myths created as marketing devices, out of financial self-interest by the whaling and fisheries departments of MAFF, and to a degree political self-interest of the conservative Liberal Party whose power base was much dependent on the rural/coastal vote.

    Japan’s “traditional diet” was very largely vegetarian – which really means vegan agrarian as dairy foods were 19th C American intervention – due to a series of Buddhist edicts stretching over 1,000 years. The Buddhist leaders were actually relatively well educated and enlightened, with good ecological understanding, as it was a diet which best suited Japan’s limited environment and support the most amount of human beings.

    It also promoted a more enlightened and highly developed society (Edo, at its peak, was arguably far in advance of European cities at its time, whilst the Americans were still living in mud and engaging in wholescale racial genocide and slavery).

    No, it is as absolutely incorrect to state that individuals living away from coastal areas diet consisted of seafood as it is to suggest that protein only comes from meat or fish. A vegetarian or even vegan diet is perfect sufficient in protein.

    It is a myth put about by the Fisheries department which has accelerated far beyond any reasonable limits since the development of deep freeze refrigeration in the 1980s which has allow Japan to rape the oceans of the world to the point where it is eating 6 times more sea life than any other developed nation.

    How can tuna from the Mediterranean or whale from the Antarctic being “traditional” Japanese food?

    Don’t make me laugh.

    @ Toadold

    A individual eating gelatine is not a vegan – but are you sure it was not kanten?

    Kanten most definitely is vegan and to a lame critic like yourself difficult to tell apart.

    As far as I understand, most vegan accept the environmental sense of wearing out any leather products before replacing them with cruetly-free and non-abusive products.

    No, vegetarians do not kill animals, modern industrialised and commercialised farming kills animals. You’ve obvious never seen a Japanese “farm” in your life.

    Now, going back to a real “Japanese Tradition” of 100s of years – child sex abuse and the sex trafficking of young girls – what other developed nation in this world would allow individuals to market

    Fake infant vaginas for pedophiles, yours for a mere 2,500 ¥

    http://www.ona-pet.com/hole/loliHL/item-26935.html

    The point I am making is the idea of “Tradition” is malleable and highly manipulated by vested interests and has nothing to do with reality. I would even go as far as to say most Japanese have little knowledge of their own cultural tradition and history, and a tendency to passively conform to whatever bull they are fed by their government (as long as they get to indulge in their prefer kink).
    —————–

    Now, going back to a real “Japanese Tradition” of 100s of years – child sex abuse and the sex trafficking of young girls – what other developed nation in this world would allow individuals to market
    Fake infant vaginas for pedophiles, yours for a mere 2,500 yen

    Why yes, that had never occurred to me before, of course there’s a connection to the sale of latex goods for private use with eating whale meat. What a critically important insight! By way of thanks, here’s something you might find useful:

    But on second thought, why bother with the Japanese fakes when you can follow around the United Nations peacekeepers from civilized countries and buy the real thing instead?

    In the meantime, we can send the Japanese abroad to learn some lessons from the civilized people in England, or Australia, or the United States (where business was booming), or Russia, or even this Brit-Yank combo.

    If you want to make the case that Japan has more pedophiles and child sex crimes per capita than those countries, we’d love to see the stats.

    – A.

  19. Tony said

    FU Ahab, I find it impossible to argue against the logic of your opinion…..because there isn’t any.

    Normally I’m not in favor of Japan’s hunting of whales but your argument is so odious and you’re so bloody arrogant that I’m inclined to distance myself from that stance, at least in this instance.

    Grow up, development a communication style that engages people rather than repels them, and then come back when you have a compelling argument to make. I’m sure you believe yourself to be a clever soul but all I can see from reading your posts is an intolerant, ranting pseudo-intellectual, spoiled boor with a laptop. Wake up sunshine, there is a big world out there that doesn’t always agree with you, nor does it care that it doesn’t agree with you.

  20. Sueichi said

    >These days it is perfectly possible to live a full, satisfying and healthy life without deliberately killing other animals. We also >all know its environmental impact and the vast benefits of not doing so.

    Please tell me how. Any form of agriculture will result in deaths of other animals.

    >It is a very small minded, blinkered view, belonging back in the 19th C or even tribal period, that views species the likes of whale >as purely food or a “natural resources” which is our right to plunder

    How is it small minded? Besides, only a fool would plunder resources without giving considerations on how to sustain the consumption.

    >Our understanding of the nature of ecosystems tells us now that whales etc are a vital component in sustaining the balance of the
    >environment and that we are best not to mess with them.

    You later on say on how little we know of the eco system, yet you are somehow confident about the part whales play. Why?

    >We all know the vastly damaging costs and effects the meat industries have on the environment.

    Please tell me.

    >Japan also ate dog until quite recently, along with pretty much anything else that moved just like the rest of Asia still does, but >as it developed, civilized and individuals’ tastes and ethics both evolved and were modified by exposure, it stopped doing so.

    Please define what it means to be civilized. It sounds like something a enlightened thinker from 19th century Europe would say.

    >I don’t read of many Japanese defending eating bugs because it is “traditional”, or insisting on huge government subsidies to go >bug hunting just because theirforefathers once did.

    Actually, there are bug cuisines like Inago no Tsukudani. Only very few would eat it, but I never heard anybody attacking it either.

    >It is not about food. It is about fucking with other living beings which have a right to peaceful existence of their own,

    Where does this right comes from? And seeing the constant struggle for survival in wild life, it seems naive to call it “peaceful existence”. Or what about animals “fucking with other living beings”? Like a Lion culling the offsprings of other males?

    >that we have no divine rights over

    I’m a atheist so whether or not a invisible supernatural being/beings, which I do not even believe its existence, thinks humans has the right to kill animals are not my concern.

    >and an ecosystem we know little about … except that we almost destroyed it and are continuing to do.

    You said of how little we know, yet you are certain of the effects of whats going to happen. Also, please tell me how what you call eco system is being almost destroyed.

    >It is about ‘diet’ though and the modern Japanese diet is an entirely artificial construction.

    What kind of diet would not be artificial?

    >The “tradition” as a justification argument is total BS, a false construction. The only folks that could possibly believe in the
    >propaganda are naive Japanese and retards who enjoy wind ups like the guy above.

    Archaeological records shows whaling has been going in Japan since Joumon period. Actually my mother’s home island Sakito, located in Nagasaki’s coast, had a whaling industry from the end of 16th century to the mid 19th. However I agree that the tradition argument was brought up to continue whaling.

    >It is so simple. Hunting and eating whaling is the tradition of a coastal towns and villages the world over.
    >It belongs to coastal towns and villages.

    >Some men living in Japan hunted whale. Does that mean “All Japanese” somehow magically shared that activity with them? How?

    >What is this stuff called “Japanese tradition”? Who determines it, and how? Sex slavery, sex trafficking, pedophilia and hard core >pornography are all “Japanese traditions”. It is logical, isn’t it?

    It would be impossible to give a concrete definition to culture or tradition. It would be like trying to define ethnicity or race. Its too arbitrary. But if we apply your logic, then things like pottery, poetry, Sadou, paintings, dance et al which are widely considered to be part of Japanese culture would all cease to be so, since not everyone does that. Or we can say the same to most cultures in the world.

    >At the end of the day, it is not food. It is the top of a food chain that keeps an eco-system we are raping to death together,
    >and it is a feeling, thinking, living, sensing being just like we are … but with bigger brains.

    Again, please tell me about this. I assume by “top of a food chain” you mean the whales, and that the endangerement of whale species is collapsing the eco-system. I want to see some sources that backs that up. Actually, it would add much more weight to your whole argument if you provide actual sources.

    I find this whole argument of “we should stop whaling because they are smart” scary, because it ranks the value of life based on “intelligence”, whatever that maybe. If we apply the same thinking to humans, then its just eugenics. So, in order to not do so we need to treat the humans specially, with logic like “humans are different from animals”. Which seems to be what you kind of people seems to criticize. So you contradict your self. I’d rather simply not rate how valuable a life is based on intelligence at all.

    Now obviously I don’t treat all life equally. If there is a choie of either saving a man or a ant, I’d choose the man without thinking. But is that because I think men are more intelligent than ant thus more worth saving? No, my thinking is completely arbitrary.

    >Japan’s “traditional diet” was very largely vegetarian – which really means vegan agrarian as dairy foods were 19th C American
    >intervention – due to a series of Buddhist edicts stretching over 1,000 years. The Buddhist leaders were actually relatively well
    >educated and enlightened, with good ecological understanding, as it was a diet which best suited Japan’s limited environment and
    >support the most amount of human beings.

    I find it weird that you praise the pre-modern Japanese monks for their vegetarian diet, while it was the same monks who’ve developed a system of having sex with young pupil boys which would definitely be considered child rape in modern society, which you accuses.

    >It also promoted a more enlightened and highly developed society (Edo, at its peak, was arguably far in advance of European cities
    >at its time, whilst the Americans were still living in mud and engaging in wholescale racial genocide and slavery).

    I’m willing to bet that had more to do with 250 years of peace and economic development under a stable, powerful regime(the first one since the decline of Kamakura Shogunate) rather than lack of meat diet. And birds and bores were widely consumed in the mountainous regions, at least there were enough demand for hunters to exist as a profession. Also, I find it more compelling that relative lack of meat died in Japan had to do with its geographical conditioning. Japan had many places suited for rice farms, which can support far more population than wheat but is not good as animal fodders.

    >No, it is as absolutely incorrect to state that individuals living away from coastal areas diet consisted of seafood as it is to
    >suggest that protein only comes from meat or fish. A vegetarian or even vegan diet is perfect sufficient in protein.

    So are you claiming that Japanese coastal towns relied proteins on vegetables? Source? Why would they fish in the first place if they are not going to eat or sell it?

    >It is a myth put about by the Fisheries department which has accelerated far beyond any reasonable limits since the development of
    >deep freeze refrigeration in the 1980s which has allow Japan to rape the oceans of the world to the point where it is eating 6 times
    >more sea life than any other developed nation.

    Again, if you are going to claim a conspiracy theory please back it up first.

    >No, vegetarians do not kill animals, modern industrialised and commercialised farming kills animals. You’ve obvious never seen a
    >Japanese “farm” in your life.

    I can’t see what it is you want to achieve. For the amount of agricultural activity to return back to medieval standards? Then obviously it would be impossible to maintain the current global population, and the risk of famine would increase greatly. And Pre-modern agriculture were hardly “cruelty free” or “non abusive”. Vermin animals were hunted widely, even in Japan. During Edo period pretty much every village had a arquebus or two to kill bores and deers that fed on their farms. If you are going to farm, you are going to have to kill something. You have to take away the habitat of animals to use it for farming, then you have to protects the crops from vermins, often having to kill it.

    >Now, going back to a real “Japanese Tradition” of 100s of years – child sex abuse and the sex trafficking of young girls – what
    >other developed nation in this world would allow individuals to market

    >Fake infant vaginas for pedophiles, yours for a mere 2,500 ¥

    >The point I am making is the idea of “Tradition” is malleable and highly manipulated by vested interests and has nothing to do
    >with reality.

    What does a obscure sex toy, which 99.9% of the population would not know it even exists and if they did they would be disgusted, has to do with tradition? In fact, how did you even find this?

    Also, you claim the difficulty and arbitrary nature of defining culture and tradition, but you doing that exact thing by claiming whaling is not a Japanese tradition.

    >I would even go as far as to say most Japanese have little knowledge of their own cultural tradition and history, and >a tendency to >passively conform to whatever bull they are fed by their government (as long as they get to indulge in their prefer
    >kink).

    That would apply to pretty much any country. They know little about their own history or culture apart from what they are tought at school or their local community. A dedicated researcher from a foreign would know far more. Donald Keen would know far more on the history of Japanese literature than 99% of the Japanese, myself included.

    I also fail to see what you are aiming to accomplish here. Saying these things on one website in English is going to do nothing to stop whaling. Saying “Japan should do this or that” in English on a English website is not going to make the Japanese people notice your argument. If you really want to make some kind of change, you need to do this in Japanese, aimed to the Japanese people. This is something I find it with most of anti-whaling activists. Somehow, most of their actions are done English, and are focused towards Western audience. Why? If you really want to stop whaling, the most effective way would be to appeal to the tax payers(the Japanese people) who are funding and supporting the government thats performing the whaling programme. Chasing whaling ships and harrasing them aren’t going to stop whaling.
    —————-

    If we apply the same thinking to humans, then its just eugenics.

    Perhaps the most intelligent thing said in the Comments section all year.

    – A.

  21. FU Ahab said

    @ Tony,

    I am sorry Tony, did I ever address any comments at you? I apologise if the conversation went over your head and you could not understand it. If you want me to clarify further at a level you can understand, I am happy to do so.

    @ Ampontan,

    I suggest no such case and, true or false. It is just a distraction from the point I was making. Japan’s tolerance of pedophilia interest, disproportionate prostitution and pornography industry, sex tourism and poor performance again sex trafficking has been widely studied. Remember sex with children was still legal in Tokyo up right up until 1997.

    Perhaps those are areas you might want to look at covering in the future even if they are “Traditional” … and so therefore “perfectly good and acceptable” in a modern world, by the logic applied to raping the oceans and slaughtering whale?

    The points I am making is that the “traditional = good and acceptable” argument is as much bullshit as the nationalist element of the debacle. Especially where the concept of what is “traditional” is malleable in the hands of a government and industry propaganda machine. Any intelligent person ought to put up very high and demanding filters the moment any fake nationalist element is introduced to an argument.

    However, studying the history, the idea that eating whales is a “Japanese” tradition, and so therefore to be highly valued, is rubbish.

    It is just another entirely reprobate activity carried out by a tiny minority of individuals who geographically just happen to live within the geographical area we call Japan, like all the other reprobate activity carried out by other minorities.

    If one reprobate activity is given a status of national importance, why not all?

    (If anything, the Fisheries Department ought to write a letter of thanks to Greenpeace and Sea Shepherd for enabling them to have milk the nationalist angle for their own financial benefit for so many years but I doubt it will get them the money to replace their ageing whaling fleet.)

  22. FU Ahab said

    And neither do the crimes and indulgences of other nations excuse those carried out by individuals within Japan.

    That is such a typical Japanese defence. I just crack up when Japanese come out the “but Americans eat pigs and cows so don’t tell us what to do” defence they have had drummed into them since childhood”. It is so infantile.

    But then a lot of modern Japan culture still is.
    ————
    FUA: Infantile compared to whose?

    – A.

  23. Sueichi said

    So…why is it a requirement to have most of the population to participate in the activity to be considered a tradition? Where is the drawing line? Do we say “Only 49% practices that activity so its not that country’s tradition”? Its impossible to have such a thing.

    I’ll say this again, but you are doing what you accuse of by saying whaling is not the part of Japan’s tradition.

    But I actually I agree with you that tradition itself does not mean it should continue for the sake of it. Whatever a tradition, it usually starts out for a practical purpose, or at least what they perceived to be. Many tradition simply vanishes when it becomes too irrelevant. Some doesn’t, whether if its for a nationalistic purpose to enhance the individual’s sense of belonging, or if its still beneficial to do so, or simply because nobody thinks of a reason to stop since its what they’ve been doing forever.

    >And neither do the crimes and indulgences of other nations excuse those carried out by individuals within Japan.

    Yes, but its impossible to take a thief saying to another thief “stealing is bad” seriously. Especially if that thief has been stealing more than the thief he accuses of.

    > It is so infantile. But then a lot of modern Japan culture still is.
    So there is some sort of a growth stage for a culture, which it needs to “level up”? What is this standard? Who sets it? You? This is just like the arbitrariness of tradition you accused of.

    Also, acting in such a holier-than-thou manner is hardly going to make you more accepted. That is, if your intention is to be have your argument accepted in the first place. I have feeling your reasoning for posting here is something else.

  24. Sueichi said

    One more thing on the eco system. The existence of 6 billion humans alone would affect the eco system. By the oxygen they inhale, the carbon dioxide they exhale, the place where they live which were former animal habitats, the selective breeding of plant life and plantations and farms which grows them all contribute to the alteration of the eco system. In order for your wish to be truly realized, then mankind would have to go extinct.

    And even then the eco system would change. Whether it be volcanic activites, the change in the sea current or over breeding of certain species the current eco system will not last forever. The eco system has been changing constantly ever since life existed, and the current eco system is not at some kind of equibilium where its “supposed” to be there. The eco system was “raped” numerous times in history. The Permian-Triassic period extinction makes the current global warming child’s play in comparison, and 95% of the species perished. But life managed to recover, and one of its survivors, the Dinosaurs, prospered for 150 million years. The idea that mankind is capable of “destroying” the eco system seems very arrogant, and human-centric. No matter what humans do, life will continue. That is not to say we should not care about the environment or animal preservation and just do what we want. It is we who would be trouble in the long run if that happens.

    Also, did you actually compare hunting of animal life and child rape on equal ground? If so, I’m not really sure what to say.

  25. Tony said

    FU Ahab,
    Thank you for so convincingly proving what I said. Is the sky blue in your world too?

  26. FU Ahab said

    @Sueichi

    I referred to “the Rape of the Oceans” not “hunting”. The Rape of the Oceans that Japan is engaged on is worse, and more shortsighted, than the child rape it has “traditionally” engages in.

    Japan’s Rape of the Oceans is an out of control as its Rape of Asia 70 years ago. The Rape is being orchestrated by the same well defended controlling classes. And it needs to be stopped.

    We are not talking about the hunting down of one animal. We are talking about the destruction of entire networks of species and eco-flora that have taken many 1,000s of years to evolve without even stopping to consider what impact it might have — all just to make money. Not to feed any need.

    It is an obscenity of the Nouveaux Riche, not “tradition”. The problem being, Japan sets the example for the rest of Asian nouveaux riche to follow.

    We are talking about an unpoliced and uncontrollable industry with huge levels of waste (e.g. 40% dumped as bycatch), equipped hugely over capacity (2 to 3 times), doing a huge amount of environmental damage which would not be accepted if it was on Japanese territory, and visible, to even the the most staunch capitalist.

    One of the simple reasons that the whaling Japan does is worse than other nations, is manner of the kill. A tiny minority of obscene people living in Japan have a perverse enjoyment in eating bits of the whale’s head, therefore, when the whalers kill whale, they aim instead for the body to make more money. This prolongs the death of the mammal from almost instant, in the case of a good kill by the Norwegians, to tens of minutes or hours. If an industry was to habitually kill domesticated or wild land mammals in the same manner, it would be immediately shut down for cruelty.

    Why should sea mammals be treated any differently and without any reference to animal welfare?

    There is a direct connection between the increased suffering and the increase profits that makes them no better than the Koreans who like to beat dogs senseless before killing them because it improves the value of their meat.

    I would say this highlights two problematic tendencies within Japan; firstly, the lack of proper animal welfare and any value for non-human animal life beyond its financial value (and, let’s face, it took us WWII to get them to value non-Japanese human life), and a tendency to pursue things to an extremes whilst being somewhat unstoppable from within.

    Voices of dissent and opposition to untrammelled eco-destruction within Japan are few, relatively powerless and have been “traditionally” deliberately weaken by the establishment.

    To reduce it to an immature defence of the oishii is callous and irresponsible.

    @Tony

    Make an intelligent noise and I will respond to you intelligently. Our friend above did not.

  27. Joe Jones said

    I am late to the party, but in response to comment 13, I recently heard from a Korean chef that the red pepper in kimchi actually comes from Japanese influences. Until a few hundred years ago, Korean kimchi was basically the same as Japanese tsukemono. The red pepper appears to have been introduced by the samurai invaders sometime in the 1500s; they had in turn picked it up from European traders just a few years before.

  28. FU Ahab said

    Thanks Joe.

    For those to lazy to go Google their own facts pick up some links here:

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2011/jun/20/marine-life-oceans-extinction-threat

    Regional Fisheries Management Organisations (RFMOs) are “failing to manage deep-sea bottom fisheries on the high seas sustainably with respect to target and by-catch species. For most fisheries there is little or no information on the status of stocks and in many cases we do not even know what is being caught where.”

    The International Programme on the State of the Ocean (IPSO) is hosted by the Institute of Zoology in London. Download their report, the first comprehensive scientific review of the management of deep-sea fishing on the high seas globally.

    Guys, wake up, it is sick … and the enemy isn’t what is on your plate, it is the ignorant, economic system that encourages.

    http://www.stateoftheocean.org/

  29. Alex said

    Never before have I unsubscribed from any thread but this is just too much liberal propaganda bullshitting without ever showing any evidence, and then accusing the other side of doing the same thing.

    I am fairly left-of-center libertarian so i understand your “Rage Against The Machine” of big business and big government, i have a fairly high tolerance for mindless hippies spouting unfounded theories but enough is enough
    I graduated from University of Oregon, so that says a LOT about my tolerance for this sort of talk.

    おまえもういや。じゃまになちゃった。このスレに興味は零。

  30. ampontan said

    FUA: It seems you’re very convincing. Everybody’s convinced that they don’t want to talk to you.

    If your objective is to convince people of other things, you might consider a change of strategy.

  31. Sueichi said

    At least you’ve managed to provide a source for your claim, although the vast majority remain unsubstantiated. I’ve read through the article but the problem seems nowhere near as clear cut as you say. The scientists aren’t clear in how serious the problem is and carbon emission, pollution and release of methane hydrate all contribute to the problem, not just overfishing.
    Actually the damage to the corals looks like the bigger problem than overfishing.

    Now, If this is true this is a problem that needs to be solved by all nations of the world. Pointing fingers at Japan and being content is not going to solve the problem. All the causes that article lists for the damage is caused by every developed country in the world. Minimizing the problem into something specific to Japan is counterproductive. It makes people forget of their own problem, and as a result the problem remains untouched. This goes true with the “Japanese are pedophiles” accusation. 人のふり見て我がふり直せ is a nice saying.

    Btw I have serious doubts about your claim of Japanese whalers maiming the whales for it’s head. Why? Because
    1, it causes unnecessary risk to the crews by having the whale struggling heavily.

    2, by taking much longer time to kill the whale than instantly killing it it increases the risk of not being able to fill the whaling quota, which would be very discouraging to the man in charge of the whaling program.

    3, you haven’t even told what this special whale head meal is.

    Now, I’m going to ask this again. Why are you doing this in english? Who are you telling to “wake up”? No japanese person is likely to see your arguments apart from me. If you are seriously concerned by Japan’s overfishing or whaling and want to make a difference, do it in Japanese. If there ever is a chance of fisheries agency stopping the whaling program, that would be the disapproval of the Japanese people, not the harrasment of the sea shepherds or someone posting in English blog with English.
    ———-
    S: Thanks for the note.

    No japanese person is likely to see your arguments apart from me.

    Quite a few Japanese people read this site, but not all of them comment regularly. 21st Century Schizoid Man, who wrote a brief comment to this post, is Japanese.

    – A.

  32. Sueichi said

    Oh, sorry about that. Actually I myself have been viewing this site for quite a while, although this is the first time I pose. But I think my point still stands: if you want to stop whaling or overfishing or whatever, the action should be done in Japanese.

  33. FU Ahab said

    They spear them and then drown them in their own blood and seawater for 45 minutes or more — hours sometimes —- before them haul them in. If one did that to a cow, one would be arrested.

    What do you think happens to all the dolphins or Dall’s porpoises they harpoon, and then leave attached to floating buoys for hours before hauling in? A clean kill?

    For the whaler crews, the real delicacies are in baby whales and fetuses, underlining the brutal archetype of the same classes of men that carried out the Rape of Asia (babies on bayonets and all that). If we understand the inter-relations between government, big money and brutal lower classes in the whaling game, you will see the same strands bound together.

    Unfortunately Japan is amongst the very worst miscreants in this specific area and setting the agenda for the developing Asia and many other nations whose fleets it co-opts in this campaign, e.g. look at how its shark fin plants eradicated South American species.

    @Sueichi

    Actually, that was not “my source”. I have no interest in the carbon debate, and I will leave arguing over reliable sources to the wannabes on the Wikipedia. I just tossed the link out for the lazy to chew over. It is obvious that the best someone with their eyes closed, ears covered and head in the bliss of ignorance is going to come up — is poisoning the discussion with “unproven”. “Unproven” just means, “I am too lazy to have to think about what you are saying”.

    Try:

    Whaling in Japan: power, politics and diplomacy by Jun Morikawa

    http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=6Rid73dnTmgC

    What interests me more is how and why dissident voices in Japan are so silented* [sic] by its establishment.

    Looking at how the Greenpeace activists were treated is one example (activists uncover large scale crime … police prosecute activists for trespass). I have heard of others where activists document wholesale animal abuse at pet breeders were also prosecuted for trespass, the abusers were again left off (cannot prosecute without evidence … but gathering evidence leaves you open to prosecution). And in the case of The Cove, the government and industry shills squeal … “but they cheated, they used ‘sneak’ cameras” (all the media in Japan knows, you are only meant to report what you are told and shown and doing anything else will get you busted out the press club).

    The establishment makes it very, very clear that it will not tolerate anyone questioning it, exposing it and causing it to lose face. The message seems to be “don’t look, don’t tell, don’t rock the boat … and above all who is making the money is the most important issue”.

    It seems to me that there is an orchestrated loathing of vocal NPOs (Japanese and foreign) on the basis that “they are only doing it to make money” and their asking for donations is as much of a shame as asking for state benefits, whilst the whalers and dolphin slaughters are “honest workers” persecuted by foreign groups portrayed as “rich whites”. This seems to be endemic across Japanese society. (Personally I think it is born of the jealousy of people having to do jobs they cannot stand for 12 or more hours a day and with the old generation goes back to the Post-War period).

    Waiting for Japan to change form within is to wait forever. “Traditionally” (to make a cheap point) Japan has always made big changes due to pressures from without, hasn’t it?

    Honestly people, is there one of you who can honestly say that by the lies and hypocrisies of “scientific research”, and the vote buying of pitiful islands and land locked nations, Japan is doing itself more damage that any petty profits it can make?

    Delicious? Zannen nagara chigaimasu.

  34. FU Ahab said

    In case the Japanese reading this don’t understand the ire, in Europe the Court of Human Rights says, “whether it’s journalists or NGOs, when observing governmental injustice, the precedent is to observe the same freedom of expression” and protect them.

    In Japan, you get banged up in prison and made an example of. The authorities make it clear that NGOs shouldn’t dare interfere with national policy.

    Who sets national policy?

    Stay on topic or start a Facebook page.

    – A.

  35. FU Ahab said

    I am sorry, did I burst the bubble by raising some of the more unpleasant aftertastes?

    There is a new book in Japanese on the subject entitled “Kaitai Shinso: Hogei Ronso” (Anatomy of the Whaling Debate) by Atsushi Ishii in which, it is said, everyone is accused.

    I have not read it but it gets a fair reading review, the jist of which – but not conclusion – I would agree with, here:

    http://search.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/fl20110619x3.html

    If you want to look at deep element of what it is all about it is tribal. The whalers, despite being garbed in all that steel and hi-tech, are at best a throwback to tribal, macho-istic “big hunt” activity and at worst Untouchable scavengers, who stands in contrast to the feudal, agrarian, vegetarian roots of Japanese culture.

    Whaling was never a core “Japanese” tradition. It existed out at the extremes until the Americans brought it into the center (for the sake of its oil value to them).

    For all the governmental millions thrown at marketing whale and dolphins … do you know of any invested into the vegetarian culture of Japan, or even heard the establishment talk of the 1,000 years of vegetarian culture by Buddhist edict?

    No, neither have I. Never. You could argue that is very strange. Why would they do that? 1,000 years is a very long time in human history.

  36. TonyGoalder said

    To FU Ahab,

    My personal view is I could care less if whaling was or wasn’t a core tradition. I also don’t buy the view that they should be preserved because of some kind of inherent majesty they possess nor by their level of intelligence. Those arguments are irrelevant to me. My view is much more pragmatic.

    I am against a large scale whaling industry in Japan and possibly other countries (by large scale I refer to the one that exists now) because there isn’t really isn’t a world, nor domestic market for the meat. The gov’t subsidies are a waste of my tax money and that is why I am against whaling.

    If the market demands 25 whales then kill 25 of the beasties and if the market only requires 3 whales then so be it, whack 3 of them. Let the market decide until the numbers dwindle to the level where self sustainability is threatened. If the whalers are tribal like you say, then let them kill the number the market demands but in a traditional manner.

    I have no problems with the Indian people on the west coast of North America killing a couple of whales each year because the numbers are so small and at least they are killing them in ritualistic and symbolic purposes based upon their cultural traditions.

    For those people who like whale meat, let them have whale meat. There clearly is a tradition of whale eating in this country and I don’t think it should stop just because western nations find the practices distasteful (I guess you are not the only one to use “low-hanging” puns). I just don’t want to pay for their whale.

  37. Andrew in Ezo said

    Good point from Tony. Remove govt. subsidies. Let the market decide the demand and thus the catch amount. Methinks the market will be gone in 10~20 years, if not sooner (when the dankai generation which grew up with whale meat school lunches will start passing on).

  38. FU Ahab said

    I don’t think any of the “eco-terrorists” would complain if they turned it down to the level of a “traditional” or symbolic hunt — and a far more fair fight it would be.

    Indeed, given that one of the last “fair fights” equated to a 100 to 1 *defeat* for the Scum of Taiji, I should imagine the whole of Greenpeace and Sea Shepherd would go down to Wakayama just to cheer the whales on.

    Perhaps the great cultural divider is this principle of a “unfair fight”, and it is not part of the Japanese psyche? I don’t know. Bullying seems to be an acceptable, indeed even encouraged, part of their culture.

    I think even the most harden materialist in the West would fine it hard to argue that whales and dolphins have some kind of conscience, sentience and curious relationship with humankind. All those stories of dolphins rescuing sailors and surfers that come up time and time again.

    There was a fabulous photograph taken recently of one of these wonderfully passive creatures showing obvious interest in a human diver — and no intent to eat him.

    http://www.treehugger.com/galleries/2010/09/curious-whales-check-out-photographers-with-stunning-results.php

    Louie Psihoyos next movie is going to be a beautiful visual elegy to these beings.

    Who is their right mind would really want to dynamite their brains out just for a few stinking steaks?

  39. Tony said

    FU Ahab,
    At least we agree on the traditional hunting techniques. But I don’t understand why do you made reference to a fair fight? There is no fight, the whales passively swim looking for food and the whalers actively kill them. Granted there may be a chase but the whales aren’t fighting back, they’re being hunted. No anthropomorphism there, just facts.

    I think part of the issue is how whales are viewed. I see them as whales, mammals that live in the sea. Other people see them as something more. Perhaps it is their size. We humans seem to be impressed by size. Maybe it is the possibility that the whales are as intelligent as a dog, or a horse, or a monkey (the list generally ends at humans). Again, I could care less whether these “wonderfully passive creatures showing obvious interest in a human diver(s)” are indeed intelligent or not. Intelligence shouldn’t be a measure for the value of a species as Sueichi said earlier. That goes for size as well.

    I’m not sure about the experiences you have had here in Japan but keep in mind that the people who read this blog are not your general “gaijin bar” crowd. Blatant straw man arguments either for or against Japan are never accepted here. I think you know that bullying is neither accepted nor encouraged in Japanese culture. Just because a behaviour occurs doesn’t make it an acceptable “l’action de la vie” for a society. That reasoning would mean that teenage pregnancy, wife beating, alcoholism, and hooliganism are accepted and encouraged in Scotland and England. Clearly they are not but they do occur.

    A beautiful photo you linked to and as a diver I would love the experience but it still doesn’t stir me to say that Japanese shouldn’t eat nor hunt whales.

  40. FU Ahab said

    I am sorry you are wrong. Whales do fight back when attacked at close quarters.

    The “fair fight” historical reference was to an actual event when 100 men were killed at Taiji trying to land a whale in the early days or organized whaling.

    It ought to be remembered that historically not all coastal villages killed whales, many revered them as gods and there are records of rescues of beached ones. Therefore, again, it is utterly wrong, for many reasons, to cast killing and eating whales as “Japanese”.

    I have nothing against scavenging but I would not support any killing. The industrial scale or commercialized nature of modern whaling is an additional evil.

    From my own point of view, looking at that photograph, I ask my self how could anyone kill such a thing of great beauty and scale. I would feel the same if it were Taliban blowing up Buddhas, Communists destroying great works of art etc etc.

    It make me laugh when the obedient core of brainless industry, media shills in Japan and reactionary Westerners bleat “terrorist-terrorist” at Sea Shepherd because it is really clear who the real “terrorists” are.

    To invest all that money, technology and non-renewable resources just to chop meat is an evil and ignorant insanity.

    I referenced a new book on the subject which criticises both sides of the debate but ends with the result that MAFF wants, “let us kill more coastal whales”. It is a stupid and wrong conclusion. There is no need to kill. Conservation is far more valuable in all ways. Japanese waters should become a reserve for them.

    I do not separate myself from “Them” Japanese, I am not tell a “Them” to do anything. It is a question for all of “Us”.

    The whales do not belong to Japan. They are not Japanese. They are not merely “natural resources to be capitalistically exploited”.

    That is a deeply outdated and ignorant concept that is costing Japan extensively.

    I suspect there is no way the whalers will get the money to replace the obsolete Nisshin Maru and so there is no need to negotiate a compromise. It should just stop. Environmental sustainability, not a measly government sponsored industry and supporting bureaucratic parasites, should be the way forward.

  41. Tony said

    I agree in part, environmental sustainability and a viable self-sustaining market should be the way forward. I am not sure of the first but pretty confident that the market for whale meat is fairly small, both domestically and internationally. The latter reason alone should be reason to stop the industry yet also reason to allow some hunting to continue.

    I think a big problem is that the anti-whaling groups tend to believe that an emotional appeal strengthens their argument. In fact, I would argue it does the opposite. I don’t mean to be pointing you out but let me take some of your phrasings as an example. Calling whaling “evil”, saying “whales do not belong to Japan”, and asking emotionally loaded rhetorical questions of “how could anyone kill such a thing of great beauty and scale” show that you and I along with the pro whaling group start looking at the argument fundamentally differently. For example, I can’t see whaling as evil since evil is the opposite of good and require conscious intent to harm. Wasteful, yes, evil…not really unless you can show me that whalers have an inherent hatred of whales and are hell bent on their destruction from the most painful manner possible. The statement that “whales do not belong to Japan” is a non sequitur as such an argument can be extended to any ocean fishing, most bird hunting and some forms of ungulate hunting. And finally, you see see a thing of great beauty and scale and I see a big whale. No special attributes other than size.

    It reminds me of a time I was scuba diving in the Philippines and had taken a lot of pictures of colourful fish. I was showing it to some locals and I expected them to comment on the beauty of the colours, the coral and so on. Instead all I heard was “Oh, that one is good eating”, “This one tastes great cooked with lemon”, “I don’t like that fish, it is too bony”. Clearly we were looking at the same animals with different glasses and that is what the anti-whaling crowd should understand when they make their arguments. Their moral glasses are different than those from whaling countries. If you are going to try and change opinions then make appeals based on logic, sans emotions. And as wise Sueichi said, try making them in Japanese.

    Obviously we are miles apart on our reasons for being against commercial whaling yet we are both basically against it.

  42. FU Ahab said

    What I would like to underline is that the “Us” and “Them” is not “Japan” versus “The Whites” but whalers versus non-whalers. Only since the 1970s, MAFF, Japan Fisheries Association and the Japan Whaling Association etc have invested millions of dollars in an attempt to distort “Us” and “Them” into a nationalist stand off leveraging the collective brainwash of “We, Japanese”.

    The factual conflict being, when one looks at real history, “We, Japanese” lived a mostly vegetarian, plant-based society for more than 1,000 years. Reading the religious history, one can see how rituals such as giving thanks were develop to overcome the distress and bad feelings of having to take life in order to survive.

    I would agree the same principle of ownership should apply to migratory birds and oceanic fish, the issue of ownership is real and applies as a high, ethical level and as a facile response to the idiotic and child-like propaganda MAFF puts out, e.g. “it is OK for us to eat whale because the “Whites” eat cows and pigs”.

    Yes, but the “Whites” own the land and animals, rear and feed them, look after their welfare and do their best to kill them humanely. It goes to emphasis what a rip off economic model the whalers use — and yet still cannot survive and require governmental propping up.

    Democratically, there are far more non- and anti-whalers than whalers. The true colors of these people show when it comes down to democratic responses to their activities.

    We know most Japanese would wish to stop whaling today

    I think your correlation between “local Filipinos” and the mostly older Japanese for whom whales fat still has some appeal is fair but I am not sure of it value. In fact, I think their opinions very little value. Their level of understanding and appreciation of ethics and ecology is unevolved and lacking any cultural refinement. Very little beyond “primitive”, and forget any notions of “noble savages” the history of humanity is a record of “savages” of all races unstoppable tendency to eat and kill to the point eco-destruction. This rape is currently going in the oceans.

    Personally, I like Japan and Japanese culture. I do not mistake its ignorance, stupidity and barbarism for “culture”.

    What I dislike most about the particular ignorance, stupidity and barbarism of the pro-whaling industry is the incredibly embarrassing and child-like inanity of its propaganda and corrupt scheming. If Japanese people really only knew how corrupt, idiotic and insincere it made their nation look, they would stop it tomorrow.

    On top of which, this entire debate has only really be brought about by a dietary confidence trick by the Americans post-WWII. Human beings do not need animals fat or protein to thrive — and the industry was established primarily to provide the USA military and industry with valuable whale oils.

  43. Marellus said

    @ FU Arab.

    It is so easy to stop all the whaling. Just pay them not whale. After all, the environmentalist industry has the money . But then again, pop-environmentalism is cheaper, more entertaining, and easier to make the late-night-news with. It’s advertising at no cost. Salaam.

  44. FU Ahab said

    In the case of Taiji, they have already been offered cash and refused it.

    As the overall response within Japan is coordinated by the same people, you would encounter the same puppet response from other towns. It boils down to the point of

    an egoistical battles of pride, on behalf of the old whalers
    the financial and political interests of the bureaucrats involved
    vote buying by Liberal Democratic Party

    The international environmental lobby has widespread public support — it is not an industry — to highlight abuses and excesses, and stop them.

    Why should it be responsible for Japan’s social, economic and political problems?

    The whale issue is a “flagship” for a whole load of other marine issues and supported far more widely by the experts and public alike, e.g. the equally evil shark fining exploitation, species loss and overfishing, by-catch waste, particular trade practices etc.

    Your fallacious argument is pathetic. You won’t win “poisoning the well” by referring to Patrick Moore. Everyone knows he is a sell out whoring his past with Greenpeace to any big corporation, and repressive regime, that will pay his fees.

    I also think that miss the target using Greenpeace as an example of whale advocates as they dropped and downgraded the whaling for many years and are highly criticised within the environmental movement. Your real problem is that you really won’t find any marine experts arguing the case for starting whaling again, except for the ridiculous clowns and puppets in the pay of the Japanese Fisheries agency.

    What would make far more sense is for the Japanese government to invest in alternative industries to stop the de-population of these villages and encourage sustainable lives for young people in them.

    It has to or else they will die out and yet it appears to completely lack any imagination or ability to do so. This is one of the problems of Japan I mention early on, a tendency to go to extremes (and sacrifice the lives of its own people) and be unable to stop.

    If there is only one dolphin left in the world, they would be out there hacking to pieces with spears.

    They appear blind to the damage these few individuals are doing to Japan’s international standing.

  45. fishpie said

    The whole anti-whaling history goes something like this:

    white people: *kill almost all the whales by overfishing using Western technology
    non-whites: kill a few whales, sustainably, using traditional technology to feed their hungry children
    white people: *suddenly realize they’ve killed off most the whales*
    white people: “KILLING WHALES IS WRONG STOP IT YOU HAIRY SAVAGES AND BE CIVILISED LIKE US (even though we caused the problem to start with, and it never would have happened using your methods and culture…!)”

    It’s Western moral imperialism combined with hypocrisy: it was okay AS LONG AS THEY DID IT, but now it’s not okay for anyone, because of problems WESTERNERS CAUSED. Honestly, the smug bullying of eco groups like those in Whale Wars annoys me to no end… I love whales, but it’s not our place as Westerners to cause a problem by exaggerated behavior, and then condemn traditional cultures for *daring* to do the same thing, but on a much smaller scale… I can’t help but think that it’s racist (and I’m not one of those people who sees racism everywhere.)

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