Monthly Archives: June 2011

In Defense of Japan’s Practice of Killing and Eating Dolphins and Whales

Ric O’Barry is driving around Taiji, Japan, pointing out the various artistic portrayals of dolphins and whales displayed everywhere in the town. “If you didn’t know what went on here, you’d think they love them,” he says. In his 2009 documentary The Cove, O’Barry focuses on the hunting of dolphins in Taiji. What O’Barry doesn’t understand is that the town’s display of dolphins and whales is evidence of their love for the creatures; however, it’s a different kind of love. The Japanese appreciate these animals. The fishermen know that without whales, dolphins and other sea life, they would be out of a job as well as out of food. Japan’s relationship with sea life is different than how we in the U.S. regard sea life. I’ve had two experiences of visiting aquariums in Japan, and both times have given me a glimpse of this difference. As people stand in front of the glass and marvel at the creatures on the other side, in addition to the exclamations of “Kirei! Beautiful!” I’ve also heard many individuals, from young to old, exclaim, “Oishisou! They look delicious!”

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Filed under Essays, Japan