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Update: Japanese Citizens Protest Against Japan’s Dolphin Hunting and Whale “Research”

The Fisheries Agency of Japan is allegedly  planning to start selling meat from whales caught for “scientific research purposes” directly to individual brokers and restaurants in 2013 in a bid to raise more funds needed to cover the continued losses stemming from the controversial program.  They will also attempt to lower the prices of whale meat to encourage its use in school lunches.  This is great news if you love eating whale or are running a whale meat speciality restaurant.

The Fisheries Agency spokesman told JSRC yesterday that he wasn’t sure how the Agency would “directly” sell the meat to restaurants, but will clarify it to us next week. While some Nationalists vigorously defend whaling as traditional Japanese culture, others are beginning to question the practice and the use of taxpayer money to sustain a program that produces international ill-will and meat that very few people want to eat.

originally published on Tokyo – November 24, 2012

By Jake Adelstein

Animal rights activists against dolphin killings gathered in seven major cities of the world on November 24th, and this year for the first time, also in Tokyo.

A group of about 70 activists, including a majority of about 40 Japanese activists staged a ninety-minute rally in the city this afternoon against Japan’s practice of hunting dolphins for profit and killing whales under the guise of research.

It is the first time Japanese citizens have gathered in protest against this practice, although since the Oscar winning movie “The Cove” was released in 2009, Japan has heavily been criticized for continuing to support these activities. (The Cove won the Academy Award for Best Documentary in 2010.)

The protestors claim these practices are inhumane, unhealthy, and a waste of taxpayer money. Right wing activists have organized a counter demonstration saying that, “Killing the practice of whale hunting is the same as killing the Japanese people.” (Of course, one might point out that there is no recognized group of merchants killing Japanese people and calling it “Japanese population research.”)

In recent years Japan has heavily been criticized in the West for its treatment of sea mammals, but even some Japanese are beginning to find the support for whaling and dolphin killing questionable. Today’s march by Japanese citizens was unprecedented in that it wasn’t led by outsiders but by Japanese citizens themselves.

The dolphin hunt at Taiji takes place not once a year but over several months. During these “hunts”, the fishermen herd hundreds of dolphins into an isolated bay and select between 10 to 70 dolphins to be sold into captivity to aquariums. The rest are slaughtered for their meat, which is consumed locally. The meat is also sold as “whale meat” to foreign countries. As noted elsewhere in the article, the Japanese government has issued warnings that dolphin meat contains high levels of mercury and may be dangerous if consumed.

The protestors held signs saying, “Stop Dolphin Hunting!” and the obligatory photo of a cute dolphin saying, “Please, don’t kill me.”

The Society to Protect Marine Mammals (海洋ほ乳類を守る会)is a small group of Japanese citizens who gathered together over the internet and attempted to organize their first protest on World Dolphin Day this September 1st in Tokyo; however, they were thwarted by opposition. Mr. Satoshi Komiyama, designated as the leader of this young movement said that today is officially the first protest rally against the killing of dolphins for meat in Japan (the previous attempt on September 1st fell apart under the pressure of the right wing activists who disrupted their attempt to march). “There is no official movement to protest against dolphin killings in Japan. I think the Japanese average person is simply indifferent to this matter, they probably even don’t know that in some regions of Japan, dolphins are brutally killed. Wakayama prefecture is providing the license to the Taiji city’s fishermen to kill dolphins, so our goal is to get the government to make this illegal.”

Japanese nationalists held a counter demonstration but did not follow the rally, unlike a smaller nationalist group lead by Takayuki Kanetomo (27).

Mr. Komiyama says that Japanese mainstream media would never broadcast The Cove, especially state-owned NHK.

The controversy over Japan’s state-supported whaling industry was heightened when allegedly nearly 30,000,000 dollars of Japanese taxpayer money marked for earthquake recovery was siphoned off to fund research whaling in the Antarctica this year.

Mr. Nagai, one of the organizers said, “Research whaling and dolphin killing are bad for Japan’s image. The meat piles up in storehouses because no one wants to eat it and Japanese government agencies have reported that the dolphin meat in particular is dangerous to eat because of high mercury levels. It’s time to stop this practice, which benefits no one. It is a problem that has to be solved between the government and the citizens of Japan.”

A Japanese nationalist munching on whale jerky in protest of the people protesting the practice of “research whaling” known also as “killing whales and eating them.”


Mr. Shun, the Japanese spokesman and video translator for “Texas Daddy’s Japan Secretariat” *, a Japanese group with conservative political views lead by a man from Texas, USA*, said in an interview with JSRC that he does not take a position on the consumption of dolphin meat, while stressing the fact that he does love animals. He strongly insisted that he opposes people who kill animals for no purpose, but “intruding in lives of some people who live upon the dolphin meat industry and interfering with how they earn their living is unfair.” According to him, the existence of the dolphin flesh industry in Japan is a matter of supply and demand. “This industry [dolphin slaughtering] exists in Japan for ages and still does, because there is a demand for it. Japan is a democracy, people have the right to chose what they wish to eat. Whether it is healthy or not, the decision should be made by the marketplace.”

Mr. Shun, the Japanese spokesman of “Texas Daddy”, said his group had no ties with the  Japanese nationalistic group Zaitokukai ** which gathered in a counter demonstration in another location, 50 meters away from the dolphin activists’ meeting point. The Zaitokukai did not follow the rally unlike a dozen Japanese patriots lead by Takayuki Kanetomo (27), member of another “citizen’s group,” that has no ties with Zaitokukai either.

The anti-whaling protestors chanted, “We don’t need dolphin meat!” which is actually a pun in Japanese.  “いるか肉はいらない!” “いるか肉は要るか?”

It is questionable that there really is a marketplace for the meat which some Japanese media reports as being stockpiled in warehouses.

Ironically, it’s the living dolphins rather than the ones killed that make dolphin hunting a profitable industry.

According to a report released by Elsa Nature Conservancy*** and the Trade Statistics of Japan by the Financial Bureau, the number of live dolphins exported from Japan (mainly Taiji), increased from 17 in 2002 to 62 in 2011, peaking in 2010 at 79 dolphins. According to the report, Japan sells the captured dolphins mainly to China, Korea, Ukraine, Turkey, Iran, Thailand,the Philippines and Saudi Arabia for  prices that vary between 1,351,000 yen ($16,395) to 7,712,000 yen ($93,585) per animal.

Rie (31), a protester present at the rally this afternoon in Tokyo who declined to give any further information about herself due to fear of right wing retaliation said, “Nobody in Japan wants to eat dolphin meat. Modern Japanese people don’t want to eat dolphin meat. I think it is since Sea Shepherd started to make the headlines in the news that I learned about these awful practices.”

The group of 70 protestors, was mostly Japanese, with 40 Japanese citizens amongst them. They held signs warning that dolphin meat is full of mercury and unhealthy.

Sea Shepherd’s annual $4.6 million (\365 million) operations against whaling helped decrease the whalers’ catch down to nearly a third of their target, according to Kyodo news. The Antarctic hunt was suspended for the first time during the 2010-2011 hunting seasons because of the interference of the activists.

Reportedly, some tactics used by the Sea Shepherd’s activists have been challenged in court by the Institute of Cetacean Research, which supervises Japan’s whaling, pointing out that its actions are unsafe. However, the Institute’s suit was dismissed. (Correction:  “The law suit filed against Sea Shepherd by the Institute of Cetacean Research in the U.S.A. has not been dismissed. A request for a preliminary injunction was denied and the ruling appealed by the ICR. A ruling on the appeal heard on Oct. 9, 2012 by the 9th CIrcuit of Appeals in the U.S. is pending.”)

The police were very good at keeping the angry Takayuki Kanetomo (27) away from the protestors.

Mrs. Hemmi Sakae, a Japanese expert on dolphin mercury contamination, and Secretary General of the Japanese organization Elsa Nature Conservancy, told JSRC that one of the major reasons why some Japanese people still consume potentially hazardous dolphin meat is out of sheer ignorance. “Although the Japanese Health Ministry has posted a list of mercury contaminated food, including dolphin meat on its homepage, it supplies this information with guidelines to consume it without harm.”

The Ministry of Fisheries, after several phone calls made to their media office, declined any comments regarding the dolphin fishing issue.

The city hall of Taiji did not respond to JSRC’s request for information, sent by fax to their offices.

This year’s “whaling research mission” is expected to reach Antarctica before the end of the year.

For reasons unknown, a right winger made a “Heil Hitler” gesture during the protest. Perhaps he was confusing Jews with Dolphins.

* “Texas Daddy” in an interview with JSRC said he formally apologized to the mayor of Taiji city for  all the “westerners who had intruded their daily lives” in the past. This is how he became one of the rare people to enter the closed sphere of Taiji’s fishermen association. Texas Daddy’s spokesman, Mr. Shun told JSRC he receives visits from Japanese right wing politicians.

** Zaitokukai is not officially registered as a uyoku or Japanese right wing group.

***Elsa Nature Conservancy (ENC) is a Japanese organization working on environment and animal welfare since 1976, and claims to have no connections with the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society (SSCS).

122 thoughts on “Update: Japanese Citizens Protest Against Japan’s Dolphin Hunting and Whale “Research””
  1. This poorly disguised propaganda piece, masquerading as journalism, would be a lot more honest, and a lot easier to skip over, if the headline read, truthfully, “Out of 126,659,683 Japanese citizens, 40 jumped on the anti-whaling bandwaggon.” This is not news, it’s just a pathetic attempt by a very small minority of self-righteous idiots to get attention.
    I’d add that you should be ashamed of publishing such crap, but no doubt you’re proud of it, which makes it even sadder.

    1. I don’t know if it’s disguised poorly or if it’s propaganda. The right winger gets to make his statement, we asked the Japanese government for comment–which they didn’t give. I wouldn’t call them self-righteous idiots either. Some are acting on the principles of ahimsa or respect for all living things. All are all vegans self-righteous idiots?
      In Japan, where protest is a rare thing, 40 people protesting may mean something. Maybe nothing. In any case, the reader can determine the news value.

      1. You are absolutely correct. From little things big things grow and it was wonderful to see this article and accompanying images today. Dolphins and whales are incredibly intelligent beings and seeing these people protesting this is magnificent. The numbers involved in the protest are irrelevant it’s what they are protesting and their bravery that is what makes this a step in the right direction toward compassionate evolution. ‘Sceptical’ you are missing the point entirely and as an animal rights activist who has stood outside the Japanese Embassy in my city to protest the killing of dolphins in Taiji I am here to tell you it is not self righteous to protest this whatsoever. I was devastated by what I saw in the documentary ‘The Cove’ and if every person in the world sat around apathetically refusing to protest these terrible things for fear of being labelled ‘self righteous’ we would be living in a pretty horrible world wouldn’t we. We are talking about animals here who have a complex social structure and language and who experience very similar emotions to ourselves. They need our voice to end their barbaric treatment and to afford them the rights they so deserve!

        1. People like skeptical forfeit their right to life. Period!

          Are you still angry that Romney got kicked to the curb? Are you shocked to discover that Limbaugh is really Andy Kaufman?

          Go join the 30,000 plus in Japan each year that kill themselves. Really, kill yourself. I’ll help you if you like, I have a long spear that could be shoved in the back of your neck several times.

          You’re just a XXXXXX

          A crying, whining, malcontent.

    2. I’m glad to see at least a few Japanese deciding that killing whales and dolphins in the way they are killed is unacceptable. Japan is decades behind other advanced cultures in considering the ethics of what they eat.

    3. you are both ignorant and dated. Japanese culture does not depend upon whaling and the ones that are calling themselves nationalists supporting it only show their stuidity

  2. The law suit filed against Sea Shepherd by the Institute of Cetacean Research in the U.S.A. has not been dismissed. A request for a preliminary injunction was denied and the ruling appealed by the ICR. A ruling on the appeal heard on Oct. 9, 2012 by the 9th CIrcuit of Appeals in the U.S. is pending.

  3. THANK YOU!!!!!!!!!!!
    Please fight forward in Japan!!!
    The Ocean is a present for everybody of us and the dolphins are our FRIENDS!!
    Greetings from Berlin 🙂 I wish you a lot of POWER!!

    1. I concur, more than 40 would have been nice but better than no Japanese citizens at all and I’m sure they have raised some awareness on this issue, EXCELLENT job Tokyo, Japan and Thank You from me and the Dolphins and Whales 🙂

  4. It’s a happy state of denial for both sides of the whaling issue.

    Whale hunters pretend it’s “for research” Whaling-protesters pretend that the whales being hunted (minke) are endangered. 2 wrongs don’t make a right, but sure do make some people lots of money.

    Dolphin-huggers (hell, even I think dolphins are cute) are the type of person who claims to love diversity… and then try to ram their culture down the throats of people in another country.. just pissing people off and making them continue practices out of spite.
    Don’t see them protesting dog-eating? Why? Because they couldn’t hang out in Japan. They’d have to go someplace where they couldn’t on the police to protect them from counter protests (while still accusing the police of oppression for daring to arrest people without visas)

    If only they tried to buy off the fishermen instead of throwing away millions on trashing graphite composite speedboats. But a real solution would leave everyone with nothing to do..and much harder for 50-something white guys to hang out with naive young chicks in bikinis and get on TV (which is important when recruiting more naive young chicks in bikinis. “Yeah baby, I’m so stressed out from fighting for Gaia… I know the floor is hard on your knees but could ya help me out..it’s for The Earth!”

    1. Don’t be so sure about the nature of “dolphin-huggers”. Many are against the slaughter because of the cruel methods used to kill them. Others, such as myself, are against killing sentient creatures for food since it is unnecessary. I do not feel like I’m in a position to demand other people stop eating other sentient animals but I do feel strongly that I have a right to demand that they not be slaughtered in cruel and inhumane ways. There are a lot of us that believe this and will fight on behalf of the defenseless.

  5. I will agree that this issue should be allowed to work itself out through the free market regarding sales, both sides seem to use the free market angle only when convenient (again, the common theme – dishonesty on both sides) Though I don’t count tax money spent protecting one’s own country’s fishermen from international piracy funded in part by tax-deductible donations from millionaires in the foreign entertainment industry as some sort of unfair subsidy.

    Anyway, from their own arguments, it seems the free market solution would be Japan exporting hundreds of live dolphins per year to aquariums around the world while reducing the size of the cute-animal-meat industry.
    Would the protesters then just accept that, “The market and culture have spoken” shrug their shoulders and then go, I dunno, help less fortunate humans?

    But how to get chicks in bikinis help with something as boring and time consuming as feeding the homeless? Being a dolphin protester, you only need to show up a few times a year, maybe spend an hour walking around and taking pictures of yourself for your social media, and be sure to pick someplace with a wide selection of bars and restaurants so you can spend more time congratulating yourself (and maybe raising money to do more of the same) than you did protesting.

    Helping people and making a difference takes more effort than that, and you usually don’t get on TV either. I
    can see why some people choose this cause to latch onto…

  6. Level3, your comments are interesting, but not perhaps for the reasons you had hoped. You begin by seeming to take an even-handed approach to both sides of the issue, then quickly degenerate into personal cynicism and scathing attack on people who care about dolphins enough to take a stand. I’ll not ask about the reasons for your personal bitterness, but you make it clear you’re carrying a lot of pent-up internal anger about something.

    Regardless, your arguments do not sit well. In fact, you’re openly offensive towards foreign men who care about this issue, proposing that they get involved for sexual reasons. Honestly, that’s a ridiculous and unfounded comment. If you have suffered some heartache – perhaps your loved one ran off with an animal rights activist – then I’m sorry for you, but ranting against all good-hearted people who love animals isn’t the way.

    The fact remains that dolphins, like whales and many other animals, have been scientifically proven to suffer from mental anguish, depression, loneliness and a host of other negative mental states that we humans know all too well. It should be easy for us to empathize. They are intelligent – not, perhaps, in the same way or to the same degree as we judge ourselves – and they form deep family and social bonds. Slaughtering them and stripping the young dolphins out in order to sell them is a horrific act, and utterly inhumane. In fact, it’s plain monstrous. If you have children yourself (I somehow doubt you do), surely imagining parallels would make you shiver with disgust.

    There’s no call for it. The argument of tradition or culture is moot here, as is that of economics, particularly since the Japanese government wastes millions of tax-payers yen propping up the practice. Slavery and the kidnapping of African ethnic populations for sale had a long, profitable history – slavers, I’m sure, argued just as vehemently as right-wing Japanese and dolphin-slaughterers do for the continuation of their sickening practices under the argument of tradition, economics and culture. Thank whatever god/gods you believe in that we didn’t listen to them and instead abolished slavery (and all those other practices like witch-burning which firmly belong in the past).

    Anyone with an ounce of humanity already knows that killing sentient creatures for profit or fun is fundamentally wrong. You seem all too eager to weigh the argument in your favor by falling back on the trusty old ‘help less fortunate humans’ instead argument. Convenient, but I wonder when was the last time you did so? I suspect it wasn’t recently, though, of course I can’t possibly know. I simply mean to say that the people who care about animal rights almost always care deeply about human rights, too, rather than simple blood-stained false economics and misplaced notions of nationalism (which actually hurt Japan’s economy, not help it – I can’t count the number of friends from back home who simply won’t visit me here in Japan due to this and related issues).

    I feel almost silly replying to you since you’ve already done a masterful job of undermining your own arguments with baseless comments about sexual motivation and raising money for drinking (I have no idea whatsoever how you came up with that one). But I didn’t want your preposterous and bitter comments to be the only thing people saw when they got to the end of the article, so I felt I had better make some kind of reply.

    Once again, whatever the personal pain/trauma which has made you so embittered, I hope you can overcome it. Good luck to you.

    1. Brilliant and genuine response! Thank you for making the time to share your intelligent and diplomatic response, Stromm. I am so glad you did.

  7. 1) There are people who oppose dog eating or concerned about the homeless- but this is not the forum to discuss those topics. Why is people always have to compare one cause to another to make a point – cause it is always just reeking of ignorance. If you want to learn more about people’s reaction on eating dog, or helping the homeless, please Google it and find there are many people against those topics with equal aggression. However this topic is about DOLPHINS.

    2) Most dolphin defenders work day and night, 24/7 during the hunting season. Not sure where you are getting your information to make such a misguided assumption, but just it is tainted with a of lack of education and dripping with a little desperation to be heard yourself. This protest is only a tiny portion of the effort going into this cause worldwide. Most of these protestors are in it for the long haul and their efforts go beyond this one day.

    1. “There are people who oppose dog eating or concerned about the homeless- but this is not the forum to discuss those topics. Why is people always have to compare one cause to another to make a point – cause it is always just reeking of ignorance.”

      Well stated!

  8. Although the article reports on Zaitokukai’s claim rather fairly, it does not understand the fact about distribution of dolphin meat. Dolphin meat are consumed locally. Unless you go to the places dolphins are eaten, you won’t understand that there is a market for the meat. It should be noted that the market for dolphin meat is different from the market for whale meat – both may look similar but distribution and consumption patter differs greatly. Go to Sizuoka, Taiji, Fukuoka, Osaka etc. You’ll find the market there.

    1. We were aware that dolphin meat is consumed locally but with the mercury levels in the meat, is that really a good thing for the populace? I’d like to see figures on how much dolphin meat is actually consumed locally–not just placed on the shelves.

  9. The two people who wrote above happen to be dishonest. Do not take my word for it in this brief writing. Research it completely and you will find out that there is
    NO TRADITION of kidnapping dolphins after they watch there family brutally murdered and making them live in a tiny tank for the rest of their life,
    NO TRADITION of selling MERCURY MEAT to ignorant people ,
    NO TRADITION of calling a whaling ship that kills hundreds of whales a RESEARCH SHIP which is a disgraceful lie.
    NO TRADITION of secretly stealing tax money or donated money for tsunami relief.

    These comments about girls in bikinis are ridiculous and there are plenty of stories about how public officials from other countries who are voting members of the whaling regulators from different countries have been flown to Tokyo and put in Luxury hotels and provided prostitutes. (So they will vote for Japanese whaling dishonestly called RESEARCH.)

    The Nationalist are completely in this for the money and personal gain and they do not even care about their own people eating poison mercury meat as was just expressed above. HE SAID IN A MANNER OF SPEAKING…….”Ignorant “people should be allowed to poison themselves if they want to. (this is what his words actually mean. ) They are even serving the meat to school children which is a criminal act although not in a legal sense..

      1. About prostitutes……

        The whalers are lying about the ships being for research as any intelligent person knows. Their barbaric dolphin murdering and kidnapping is also a secretive activity until recently when third parties brought it to the public attention.Who do you trust, people who are already lying for profit or the people who are here because of compassion.

        I do not know if admissible proof exist or if it would be possible to offer such proof but I have heard names from reliable sources and it is very common in the world of lobbying for such things to take place.

        I am not saying there is no proof, only that I do not have proof that could be presented in a court of law.
        AT THIS TIME

        The people who posted before me spent half there time talking about the people devoted to humane treatment of sea mammals and who are against selling poison meat and who risk their lives and are completely devoted , saying they want to be with girls in bikinis. All of their actions are for the dolphins and whales and against the selling of unsustainable poison meat but the Nationalist insist they are for traditions that have never existed before and a few people have become very very rich from all of the murder, torture in captivity and selling of mercury tainted meat.

        The whalers are lying about the ships being for research as any intelligent person knows. Who do you trust, people who are already lying for profit or the people who are here because of compassion.

  10. Actually, the main issue with dolphin/whale capture-kill has more to do protesting the brutality of these kills and respecting that dolphins/whales have a very unique social structure and familial bonds, remaining intact throughout their entire lives and should not be taken for entertainment purposes, then trying to ram any sort of culture down anyone’s throats. The manner in which these animals are captured and killed is barbaric and for the most part, the Japanese people know very little of the truth of this practice. If the dolphin killers are claiming this is a proud tradition, then why are they hiding the killing under tarps and going to great lengths to keep this practice from not only the world media, but their own people as well? Are they proud of it or not? Inasmuch as the American Indians have Whale Hunts, and cite “tradition”, they at least do not hide what they are doing or how it is done because to them, it is tradition. There are currently people from around the world in Taiji, Japan that monitor the dolphin hunt/slaughters each day so that the world can see what is going on. For more information, visit http://www.seashepherd.org/cove-guardians/cove-guardian-reports/. They live stream each killing in order to bring visibility to this horrific practice.

  11. NO TRADITION of kidnapping dolphins after they watch there family brutally murdered and making them live in a tiny tank for the rest of their life, “Worshiping” them on the left hand and murdering them with the right hand only a mile away..
    NO TRADITION of selling MERCURY MEAT to ignorant people ,
    NO TRADITION of calling a whaling ship that kills hundreds of whales a RESEARCH SHIP which is a disgraceful lie.
    NO TRADITION of secretly stealing tax money or donated money for tsunami relief.

    NO TRADITION of bribing voting members of whale and dolphin policy by flying them from there home country to Tokyo and supplying them with prostitutes, so that they will vote for the lies and slaughter and kidnapping and theft and poisoning of Japanese people including school children, none of whom understand the danger of mercury poison.

    NO TRADITION of calling a Whale Killing Ship that kills hundreds of whales a “Research Ship” . Does anyone believe that a ship that kills hundreds of whales and sells the meat is conducting research. Anyone who believes that is too stupid to even put their clothes on.

    No Tradition of perpetuating these horrible lies and hurting the Japanese people’s international image for honor and honesty while also poisoning those who do not understand MERCURY POISON.
    They are having dolphin shows and holding them up as being very very special and almost worshiped while they are brutally murdering entire families of the performing dolphins only a few hundred or thousand feet away. Imagine seeing your mother, father, sisters and brothers stabbed to death while screaming and then you are expected to perform in a tiny tank for the rest of your life for dead fish. THESE TANKS make the dolphins SICK, BLIND and they give them drugs for depression. They are in HELL….That is not tradition, that is disgraceful GREED and all the while they poison the people with the MERCURY meat of the murdered family.

  12. Thank you for this article it’s the first one I’ve seen that actually states this march was organized by Japanese people and was attended mostly by Japanese people. I have to wonder where it is the Zaitokukai think they can go while yelling “Get out of Japan” at these protestors. I also believe most if not all the Gaijin there were actually living in and paying taxes to Japan, so therefore don’t they have a right to voice how their tax payer funds are being spent?
    I’m not ignorant of how complex this situation is, I applaud those that spoke out publicly and truly hope more Japanese find that voice too. Maybe the Zaitokukai should be encouraging more Japanese who want dolphin hunting and whaling to speak out, that might stop the foreigners from doing it.
    As for Level3’s comments on women in bikinis and men just being there to take advantage or oggle at them, I’ve lived in Japan for an extended period so the comments about chicks in bikini’s just makes me laugh, I only saw one lady in a bikini and to be honest in Japan that’s not many, open your eye and look at all the advertising in the public transport and stations etc, doesn’t matter what is being sold it probably has some young lady in a bikini or something similar standing is a predictable pose, selling it. Why shouldn’t someone choose to sell the idea behind the protest in the same way… in fact it wasn’t so long ago we saw a couple of brave young ladies in not much more than full body paint protesting to save local dolphins in New Zealand, they knew it was eye catching and would draw attention to their cause so they did it, I’m a little offended as a woman that Level3 has forgotten or can’t accept that we as women can choose what we wear and when we wear it. As for Level3’s other comment about other issues animal or human most people who are working one the whaling & dolphin hunting issues also work on local and international issues pertaining to all kinds of social issues. As David R said “There are people who oppose dog eating or concerned about the homeless- but this is not the forum to discuss those topics. Why is people always have to compare one cause to another to make a point – cause it is always just reeking of ignorance.”
    Again thank you for reporting on this protest with more detail than any other report I’ve seen so far.

    1. Correction “Maybe the Zaitokukai should be encouraging more Japanese who want dolphin hunting and whaling TO END, to speak out, that might stop the foreigners from doing it.

    1. When are you paying back the US$6,000 you stole, donations that you ‘knew nothing about / didn’t want / didn’t need’, despite all your facebook posts to the contrary?

    2. When are you paying back the US$6,000 you stole, donations that you ‘knew nothing about / didn’t want / didn’t need’, despite all your facebook posts to the contrary?

  13. This is 2012. The time we live in now is unlike ANY other time before us. We are sliding into the abyss – the end of the world as we know/knew it – while acting like things are still the same as they were even just 100 years ago. NOTHING IS THE SAME.

    Man made climate change is the most important factor to consider, both economically and simply morally.

    For the dolphins and all satient beings whose world is the ocean (like OURS is dry LAND), they deal rather graciously with human ignorance: because of us, the oceans are filled with 100’s of years of sunken ships, planes and submarines. They have received 100’s of 1000’s of years of raw human and animal sewage. They are polluted, acidic, filled with plastic and trawl netting, overfished, warming, filled with millions of ships criss-crossing oceans to 1. fight wars and 2. deliver consumer goods. Every day, oil leaks into the oceans from many 1000’s of Oil Drilling Rigs. My point is: It’s a wonder any mammal can even SURVIVE in the ocean, 3/4ths of our planet, the world’s personal TOILET.

    And then they must deal head-on with sadistic humans in the Faroe Islands, Taiji, and other killing coves worldwide, who can not come up with a better occupation than one of butchering entire pods of helpless, traumatized, confused dolphins and pilot whales 8 months of each year, under the guise of ‘tradition’ or ‘research’! Wow. They sell the tainted mercury laden meat to us humans. The ones they don’t kill are dealt a life of slavery in cement enclosed, chlorinated “Seaquariums” where they perform tricks in exchange for dead fish for the very human species that slaughtered their entire families. And where are the WOMEN in this mess, the daughters and children of these ‘fishermen’? What do THEY say when their ‘fishermen’ husbands come home at 5pm, stinking of cigarettes, blood and dead dolphins? Wow. That’s a proud heritage alright.

    There will be 12 billion humans by 2050. There are 7 billion now. Are we ever going to evolve with the rest of the satient beings on our planet, including whales and dolphins – who, by the way, have lived millions of years before HUMANS ever got here, only to be wiped out in the last 300+ years by HUMANS, the scourge of the earth? Are we HUMANS, the ‘top of the food chain’, hellbent or destined to wipe out every last dolphin, whale, elephant, tiger, lion, buffalo, wolf, bear – every tree and animal on the face of the earth for human profit and consumption – just as we could not stop ourselves from building nuclear bombs that we dropped on Japan years ago???

    We now have the ability to look at the past, see the future clearly, and WARN people to STOP the KILLING! Where are the intelligent minds who must see where we are headed and say “NO! STOP” before it’s too late???

    I’ll tell you what – the conversation I have read here is but the tip of the iceberg when it comes to understanding planetary evolution, ecology, human morality and the right of every being on this planet to live out their life cycles freely. It starts with revamping the entire educational system worldwide to include mandatory studies in learning compassion for all living things, and taking responsibility for the environment. It should be the goal of every leader in every country to manifest this change in every society from now, forward.

    Until then I leave you with this:
    1812: Slavery
    1912: Hitler
    2012: TAIJI

    1. I think equating Taiji with Hitler may be stretching things a bit but it’s obvious that the human race isn’t living in harmony with the planet and we’re destroying our own ecosphere.

  14. AFP had the numbers lower FWIW – about 40 / 50 protestors and 30 nationalists and some images online had a fair few non-Asian faces.

    Interesting piece though, and wonder why Todd said “Our march….” if Japanese organized it, and if he is still limited by police on not leaving his current location (Kanagawa has been mentioned) when this took place in Shibuya?

    Honestly think the ‘movement’ is going nowhere if ‘Rie’ and co are not willing to even be named in a foreign language report. Her ““Nobody in Japan wants to eat dolphin meat.” thereafter is laughable and no different from similar, unfounded, non-factual, sweeping statements made by pro-whalers claiming ‘we Japanese eat whale’ etc.

    And of course the 1812/1912/2012 comparisons are ridiculous and play into the hands of those claiming anti-hunt types are over emotional tree-huggers.

    1. Yes, the sweeping statements and some of the comments show over-emotional tree hugger sentiment but that’s what they said and therefore up it goes. i think the numbers we have our pretty accurate–there were enough to hand count.

      If you have a link to the AFP piece–please send it my way. I was looking but didn’t find.
      Maybe it will be a movement–who knows? The anti-nuclear movement started with a woman who still calls herself “Redwolf.”

      Yes, I thought about clipping the 1812-1912-2012 comparison but as much as possible I try not to edit the comments although really derogatory and libelous comments get clipped as much as possible.

      1. Japan Today yesterday had one version of the AFP piece. Saw it on a headline somewhere else too.

        It has changed on the JT front page this morning and replaced with a kid sleeping at an anti-nuclear power movement rally. Think that is the way this one is headed too – none of the other rallies in cities overseas have appeared on the main news sites yet.

  15. “For reasons unknown, a right winger made a “Heil Hitler” gesture during the protest. Perhaps he was confusing Jews with Dolphins.”

    Fantastic – what a great laugh! 😀

    Who is the gorgeously courageous girl in the orange-spotted bikini?

  16. Nice balanced article with multiple sources on all sides. What struck me is source who’s afraid she could lose her job for standing up for her beliefs. Have many people lost their jobs for going to protests? I wonder if demonstrators on either side, the left or the right, feel that they are somehow risking their careers. If so, it’s really sad that Japanese employers would fire or stigmatize people because they are passionate about issues, whether they are uyoku or the other side.
    As for Michael Q Todd, we should at least admire his courage for staying active. It seems that 53 days in detention hasn’t destroyed his spirit. Not many of us could endure punishment like that.

    1. For a short while, Michael Q Todd unwittingly became emblematic of everything that is wrong with Western ‘so called activists’ in Japan.

      The 53 days, plus $5,000 in donations that he has promised to pay back to donor but of which all the evidence has disappeared off the internet, must have seemed like a gift to the man who, by his own admission, had no money, no income and no working visa in Japan.

      Hardly the kind of individual one would wish to idolize even to support your own thesis about Japan following your own dubious visa episode.

      It’s all quite simple. If individuals want to work abroad in foreign countries, they need visa and to follow the law, and it is good advice not to insult officials whilst on a paid “activist” holiday.

      Michael Q Todd because the subject of much criticism within the ex-pat community when a fund raiser was started for him on the basis of his allegedly messianic dolphin saving virtues down in Taiji. Yet another Westerner queuing up to join the gravy train created by The Cove that racist groups like Sea Shepherd, and individuals like Ric O’Barry, have been milking millions off of hysterical Facebookers whilst, arguably, making the chances of any positive change for the animals’ welfare in Japan far more unlikely.

      Todd who, by his own admission, had previously lived off two Japanese woman by whom he had two separate children, in internet cafes and by freeloading around party events in Tokyo only joined the dolphin activists when he was paid by a filmmaker to go down to Taiji and translate for him. A fact quickly distorted when his lack of work visa status became the focus of attention.

      This would seem to be typical of the Sea Shepherd hate tourists (it’s hard to call them “activists” as they have done immeasurable damage for the cause) who are exploiting a grey area of immigration as essentially they are here working, raising funds for Sea Shepherd from overseas donors.

      What was noticeable from this march was that the anger of the counter-demonstrators was aimed not so much at the Japanese organizers but at Sea Shepherd.

      Such is the negative effect Sea Shepherd leaders have had in Taiji, it even threats the nascent Japanese movement against the abuse of sea mammals. Few to none of the ‘middle of the road’ supporters in Japan will come forward if threatened by that degree of abuse.

      One also has to wonder what is the attraction of Westerners in Japan like Todd to the cause who, again by his own admission, could not even afford to travel across town to see one of his daughters let alone support both of their education and welfare? An individual who a few months previous had be attempting to start a “wine and horse racing club” and is not even vegetarian (his twitter feed feature pictures of delicious spring sashimi).

      Is truly ethics or environmentalism, or a sort of ego feeding narcissistic addiction? A vanity factor which seems unable to listen to well grounded criticisms.

      It’s notable that for the most part the ex-pat community, whilst fully supporting principles of animal welfare and perhaps even condemning the hunt, speaks out against such individuals. But is it any wonder? We know them and see them for what they are only too well.

      It’s not surprising to find Christopher Johnson rushing to the likes of Michael Q Todd’s defence on this site and others after the backlash he received for his hysterical “Gaijin Gulag” attack on Japan. An issue about article which, at the end of the day, exposed that he, Johnson, was caught trying to fiddle the visa system just like Todd.

      It seems that such issues split the ex-pat community between those who are in Japan, playing the game sensitive to local conditions, and extremely grateful for it; and those who are in Japan and creaming off a living while biting back at the hand that is feeding them, and then considering themselves to be superior enough to dictate how things should be here.

      Is it any wonder that these people raise such nationalistic ire within Japanese?

      1. I don’t know enough about Michael Q Todd’s actions to defend him or agree with you but I do understand how his actions could have raised nationalistic ire. You raise some good points about how effective the efforts of the dolphin protectors have been. If you can document Mr. Todd’s possible misuse of funding, I’d be interested in running an article. I understand how people can get very emotional over the slaughter of highly intelligent animals but I’m not a vegetarian and can’t make a moral judgement on this.
        However, I still see the practice as ultimately harmful since the meat is dangerously high in mercury content and both dolphin hunting and whaling seem to be sustained becaue they are cash cows for someone in the middle.

        1. I think Michael Q Todd or his followers’ use and exploitation of the dolphins’ suffering to raise funds for him, or merely have a free holiday, has upset dolphin activists more than Japanese nationalists.

          However, I am sure that if the nationalist knew the facts of Todd’s case they would be using him as a negative stereotype poster boy for one of their anti-immigrant campaigns.

          The documentation is all on two links at:


          Following the impact of The Cove movie, almost entirely in the minds of foreign animal lovers, Taiji has became a gold mine rather than a cash cow for individual activists like Ric O’Barry and groups like Sea Shepherd. Sea Shepherd were first to stake a claim and mark the territory as theirs but their leaders’ much discussed race hated and counter-productive activities split the animal movement allow O’Barry to gain some territory back from them.

          There is a concerning lack of transparency about just how much funds are involved but in both cases we are talking 5 and 6 figure numbers (in Dollars not Yen) and a lack of accountability as to how much positive effect it is having.

          No one knows exactly how and where O’Barry spends his cut, and it was reported that Sea Shepherd initially or primarily wanted to use their cut to finance its Antarctic campaign. Therefore, both of the main exploiters were essentially running their business off, or taking away the money gained from the suffering of the Taiji dolphins to use elsewhere.

          As with any other gold rush, a certain ‘trickle down’ or ‘halo effect’ has now come into play with numerous individuals being attracted to the Wakayama gold mine and emboldened to post four figured donations requests of varying success. In Todd’s case it was almost accidental, his detainment for visa irregularities between presented as more evidence of the ‘evil Japanese’ state abuse of animal welfare protestors. He therefore made promises to repay the money but no one knows if he did.

          I agree with your assessment that the dolphin and whale hunting is a cash cow not just for the Japanese fishermen, industry and bureaucracy; but also for the Western NGOs. Indeed, one has to question whether some of the Western NGOs intentions are truly to end the life of their cash cow, or keep the controversy alive and enflamed in order to profit more.

          Note, for example, Sea Shepherd’s remarkable false claims in support of China’s territorial claims over the Senkaku Islands and tell us how that is going to benefit the animal welfare movement in Japan?

          Perhaps they are now looking to the Chinese nationalists and diaspora for more donations, but is anyone convinced by China’s environmental or human rights records? We don’t see Sea Shepherd’s activists camping out in China protesting against shark finning or any of their other abuses, do we? Why? Because in China they would be killed whereas “aggressive” Japan is a soft touch for them.

          Easy enough to use to reap donations from uninformed racists but not nearly so dangerous as the China or Costa Rica from where Watson is currently on the run from at the fear of losing his life.

          A ‘Costa Rica’ whose shark fin industry Watson offended almost entirely feeds the ‘China’ he is sucking up to against Japan.

  17. The patriotic Japanese in the counter demonstration are not as you label them “right wing.” Why is it when any Japanese disagree with you they are either “right wing” or “nationalist?” Why can’t they just be patriots who hate to see foreigners exploit their culture?

    1. Because half of them were a right-wing group with anti-social ties which is why the police were out in full force. :p

      1. May I ask how you know they are “anti-social?” Are they “anti-social” because they do not agree with you? The police were out in force to keep the peace from your types and knowing your miss-guided rally upsets average Japanese citizens. I still can’t figure out how foreigners are allowed to participate in political demonstrations on a tourist visa.

        1. They are anti-social forces in that half-of them are connected with an organized crime group, which in itself is also largely Korean-Japanese (go figure) and a recognized as a right-wing group with the police. If you’d like to know more details, go talk to the police.

          Also, “your types”–I’m not Japanese and I wasn’t participating in the protest. And it wasn’t my misguided rally. And how do you know the average Japanese citizen supports whaling and/or eating dolphin? Got any statistics? Is there a survey of Japanese people in which they were asked “Do you support whaling? Do you support killing dolphins for their meat?”

        2. In this case, Tony, I think you have to be very careful because “anti-social” is being used to describe quasi-criminal gangs, not just “impolite” individuals.

          I do not think you know how real and how much of a blight these ‘rent a mob’ parasites are on Japanese society.

          What concerns me is that entirely innocent Japanese individuals exercising their democratic right to peaceful demonstration in Tokyo are being forced to pay the price for the racist excesses of Scott West and the American Sea Shepherd group down in Taiji.

          Especially when the American Sea Shepherd charity has made it very clear they have no interest in establishing legitimate charitable activities in Japan. Paul Watson has specifically stated that he has no interest in “educating Japan”.

          It appears that Sea Shepherd is willing to whip up and profit from anti-Japan racism in the USA and Australia whilst not only abandoning genuine Japanese anti-dolphin hunting or anti-whaling activists but raising the anger of quasi-criminal groups against them.

          Anger, with the potential for real violence and damage to businesses, which will keep the middle of the road Japan from supporting them.

          I think you are being fooled if you think these people are real “patriots”.

  18. “Got any statistics? Is there a survey of Japanese people in which they were asked “Do you support whaling? Do you support killing dolphins for their meat?””

    this is one I have done – personally, far from scientific or representative of the nation as a whole but since the start of this year I have asked exactly 32 educated professionals in Japan about both of these issues.

    All – 100 percent – said they think people should be allowed to eat whale if it were available. Recognising that it can only be ‘available’ if hunted, they were split almost 50-50 on a. yes, go and catch the whales and b. only catch near Japan as was traditional (right or wrong). None said stop altogether. That said – some did say they don’t like it,but in my experience I have heard and seen westerners twist that into ‘shouldn’t catch’.

    With dolphin hunting, none of the 32 had heard dolphins were even caught in Japan.

    As i said, not scientific and definitely in my own circles but perhaps one reason why so few care about the hunting of dolphins……because so few know.

    Most Japanese are aware of the whaling aspect of their culture and the smartest ask why don’t Aussies and Americans, NZers complain about and document the fact their own indigenous peoples still go out hunting whales. Admittedly this is an area I have limited knowledge on but if it is true is something of the beam in your own eye for western nations to ponder!

  19. From small beginnings great things grow. This is first public Japanese demo and God bless these protesters because they stand against the might of big money and government corruption. May their numbers increase greatly as Japanese people get to realise the truth of animal cruelty, mercury poisoning and the poor international image Japan has because of the slaughter of whales and dolphins. If it wasn’t for animal activists the world would be an even crueler place for their actions make people pause and reflect on how precious life is.

  20. Well, all the dolphin slaughterers and the poachers etc. remember there is one thing, and that is Karma. What you sow, so shall you reap. And remember – the wheel turns, sometimes very slowly and sometimes very fast.

  21. I am very happy to read that there is now animal rights activism and resistance against inhumane and abusive practices to nonhuman animals in Japan. Thanks to all people, who have the compassion and courage to protest. And is it not everywhere the same, the right wing being disrespectful and violent, with a complete lack of compassion and an utter disregard for any humane issue! Thumbs up to the brave Japanese protestors against killing dolphins and whales!

  22. Yeah, look, there’s something more than a little fishy going on here. 

    It’s pretty clear that the emphasis on the protesters being ‘Japanese’ is only because of the fact that foreigners were represented in far greater numbers, given the fact that they make up less than one percent of the population. 

    It’s a stretch also to claim that 30 Japanese represent a watershed moment because protests are ‘so rare’ when anyone living in Japan knows full well that thousands of people protest against nuclear power every week in Tokyo and that all other major Japanese cities have seen major protest marches post Fukushima. 

    It’s not what I’m used to reading on this website to be honest. At best this reads like it was written by a 14-year-old girl, at worst it’s at the level of clumsy propaganda one would expect from Fox News with a hint of Debito level hysteria. 

    1. Actually dolphins are mammals but nice try with the fish comparison. If you’re commenting on the article, no where does it claim that this is a watershed moment in Japan. And the anti-nuclear protests in Japan started out very small and gradually grew. I doubt this movement would ever approach that size because the problem of nuclear energy and radiation effects people much more than the fate of a few dolphins.

      And of course, what makes the protest interesting is that the number of Japanese participants outnumbered the foreigners and even the pro-whaling right wingers. If you think it’s Debito level hysteria read it again. The comments are the opinions of people and not the article. Try not to confuse one with the other. And of course, the smart-ass remarks embedded within the article–well, both sides get some.

      If anything the article points out that “The Japanese” aren’t unified on this issue of whaling and dolphin culling. The opposition may be in the minority but if they are going to great lengths to make themselves heard, perhaps it’s worth listening to them.

      1. Mr Adelstein,

          Thank-you for your reply. I’ve been a fan of your website long enough to hope that you didn’t write “Actually dolphins are mammals” with a straight face. 

        In this ever-changing modern world it is sometimes easy to get confused between articles, blog posts, comments, and where the lines are drawn and redrawn as may be. 

        But something doesn’t sit right. Something about the article seems forced and false. Is it normal to think that a protest march in Japan organized by a Japanese environmental group would be notable for the fact that its composition was made up by slightly more than half by Japanese nationals?

        C’mon, you know this isn’t going to fly with anyone except for tree hugging dolphin loving middle aged women called ‘Mary’ from Idaho. 

        I admire your hard hitting street reporter image and I’m not getting how that fits hand in hand with ‘friend of the dolphins’ unless the it’s the angle that Level3 plays up about girls in bikinis. 

        Something doesn’t sit right and we both know it’s true, at least I hope we do, I’m always desperately and excitedly hoping for a credible voice on Japanese subculture. 

        1. You’re correct, I didn’t write it with a straight face. Here’s the deal–I don’t think many Japanese really are aware of the issues and controversy surrounding the dolphin hunts or the whaling. I also have never seen a great enthusiasm for whale or dolphin meat. I haven’t ever had a friend here say, “Hey, let’s go eat some whale!”

          The protest is only significant in that it’s unusual and what is outside of the norm, well, that has some news value.
          Yes, it’s notable that the protest march is made up of a majority of Japanese protesters rather than foreigners. Because it breaks the stereotype that “The Japanese support whaling.” There is a considerable lack of support for using taxpayer money to sustain the practice of whaling or the industry. The recent use of funds marked for Tohoku to support a whaling mission was not greeted with applause.

          So for many reasons, I felt this article was newsworthy. It’s the old “dolphin bites man”/”man bites dolphin” thing at work.

          But because the article is about Japanese people who vocally oppose the killing of sea mammals–well, maybe that alone makes it sound like we’re taking sides.

          But if the article does seem unbalanced, then I need to work on making sure the next one is better. Thanks for writing in.

          1. Jake,

            Again thank you for taking the time to reply and my apologies for calling you out on the cheesy dolphins are mammals comment.
            I agree that the article was newsworthy however I beg to differ with the premise that Japanese people in general aren’t well informed about the whaling debate. I can assure you that they have televisions too, just like the rest of us.
            I suspect the difference is more a question of apathy, it’s just doesn’t engender the sort of emotional response that is fashionable in the West. As you said, the protest could be the beginning of something bigger, but they would have to break through a certain kind of stubbornness that has enveloped the issue and framed it as a matter of culture and pride. The right wing groups being an extreme expression of that.

            I do also sometimes eat whale with my friends and heartily enjoy it, I must admit. Lots of minerals.

  23. In reference to the comment by ILikeDolphins, I don’t think the article is forced and false (and if I did, you would surely hear about it.) The website is called “Japan Subculture”, and there is undeniably a Japanese subculture of animal rights activists (such as your beloved fish-hugging Mary from Idaho), even if the Right Honourable MP from Manchester Lt. Gen. Mark Buckton’s highly-scientific Zogby Poll of 30 sumo wrestlers “proves” otherwise. Just because they write about fish-hugging women named Mary from Idaho doesn’t mean that they are trying to hug fish-hugging women named Mary from Idaho, (even though I myself do enjoy hugging such women from Idaho or any other state). I also don’t think articles like this harm the street tough image of Idolstein or Gnatalie. On the contrary, it’s a relief from the exhaustive tracking of yakuza tabloids and nine-fingered economists. We should encourage them to do more balanced, original articles like this.

    1. Feeling a little sophomoric after a few too many glasses of wine Christopher?

      I must say I thoroughly enjoyed the autobiographical piece you did for Wikipedia. So very exhaustive. I can’t for the life of me understand why they would ask you to go away and stop bothering them.

      Anyway I hear you are working on a new novel these days and I’m very much looking forward to reading “Tales of Benji”, once it’s complete!

    1. Most of the articles use that poll to argue completely different perspectives.


      “26% of people polled agree with expeditions while 18% oppose them, and 88% have not bought whale meat in past 12 months”

      More than 50% are undecided, and almost 90% don’t buy whale meat. That does not support the statement “whaling is supported by the majority of Japanese”. If it truly was, the industry would not be bankrupt and intentionally reducing catches every year.

  24. Mark Buckton says “whaling supported by majority of Japanese respondents in poll”. Those are exact words.
    This is what the story says:
    –26.8 percent of respondents said Japan should continue the hunt
    –18.5 percent oppose the hunt
    –the remainder (about 55 percent) expressed no opinion.

    Thus, only a small minority of Japanese (actually a poll of 1200 people) support the whale hunt. That is not “a majority of Japanese respondents in a poll.”

    The Japan Today headline is misleading, the AFP story is thin, the poll is a tiny sample (roughly 1 out of every 100,000 people in Japan).

    Also, whales and dolphins are not property of Japan, or any human tribe. The opinions of the misinformed should not impinge on the rights of others to a healthy planet. Thus, polls such as these should have no more relevance than Buckton’s own straw poll of his 30 friends.

    It’s morally and ethically wrong to kill any living being in such a cruel and wasteful way. “Research” whaling is an Orwellian lie. The slaughter of dolphins in Taiji tarnishes the international reputation of Japan, which relies on a positive image in order to sell exports. The fall of great companies such as Sharp, Panasonic, Sony (see this site’s Ghost of Sony article) is a direct result of Japan’s tarnished image overseas.

    Protesters could succeed by pressuring ANA and other airlines to halt shipment of dolphins. They should also pressure national and local governments in Japan to find better ways to invigorate coastal communities, such as Taiji, who have lost other industries due to Japan’s decline.

    Clinging to stubborn, outmoded positions won’t help the whales, dolphins, protesters or hunters. We should look at the wider picture and try to solve larger problems: the decline of Japan’s role in the world, and the deteriorating health of the planet’s ecosystems.

    1. had to laugh when I saw that CJ had responded to my post, and presumably didn’t understand that “expressed no opinion” meant didn’t respond.

      26.8% of ‘respondents’ supported. 18.5% of ‘respondents’ said they didn’t support. The rest made no expression either way (expressed NO opinion) – thus did not respond.

      That’ll be the Canadian education kicking in if you didn’t follow that one CJ.

      Still, looks like I am your latest target for hate, special investigations and the like. Whatever rocks your boat mate.

    2. If you knew anything, ANYTHING, at all about journalism, you’d know that that’s how polls work.

      You can not poll every single person in the entire population, so you take a much smaller, random sample instead. If the poll is conducted correctly, it counts as being representative of the population.

      This shouldn’t have to be explained to you.

    3. “The Japan Today headline is misleading, the AFP story is thin, the poll is a tiny sample (roughly 1 out of every 100,000 people in Japan). ”

      AHAHAHA. You call yourself a ‘journo’?

      You know absolutely nothing about statistics, survey sample sizes, confidence intervals and margins of error do you?

      I also loved your editorial work with Wikipedia. Fascinating reading. Did you give yourself a boner writing about yourself in such glowing terms?

    4. The Japanese people have bigger worries than a couple of whales or dolphins getting killed. It’s foreign idiots, self-righteous crusaders fighting for something that always lacks a rational approach, who cause all the ruckus.

      You’d think foreigners also have bigger problems. Oh wait, they do. These “animal rights” people are just a fringe minority even in their own countries, detached from reality. Basically they’re a bunch of spoiled brats who think the world owes them something.

      Here’s the problem Christopher: You want people, usually foreigners, to pressure Japan into doing what you want. So let me ask you, how are the conditions for, let’s say, farm animals, in your country?

      Are they perfect?

      Something tells me: no way.

      So you’re basically just pointing fingers because that’s a lot easier than cleaning up your own backyard.

      1. If Japan hates us foreigners so much, we could of course just STOP buying Japanese products. I bet we’d have Japan’s attention then…

  25. Aloha Pumehana Mr. Satoshi Komiyama,

    We write to you from Hawai`i Nei, we are “Kai Palaoa” a Hawaiian Marine Protection Organization (kaipalaoa.com).

    We wish support and thank your very much for you brave stand for the Dolphins. We fully support you, because we too are opposed to the killing of Dolphins and Whales. We support protecting the Sea and All Life!

    Mahalo Nui A Loa.
    Kealoha Pisciotta and Hallie Larssen, Co-Founders of Kai Palaoa

    1. But you have no issues with hundreds of thousands of turkeys being slaughtered for Thanks Giving. Or similar issues in Europe.

      No, the people always whine about Japan’s whaling, or the dolphin “massacre”. But the same, usually white people, and primarily foreigners, are utterly silent when it comes to the events in their own countries.

      You know what the motive for this really is, right?

      Plain old racism. The old fairy tale of the “Yellow Peril” rearing its head.

      Foreigners protest against a Japanese fishing village killing a couple of dolphins. The same foreigners are silent when it comes to the bull fight in Spain.

      If white people do it in the name of a tradition it’s fine. If yellow people do it it’s evil.

      The same old crap.

      1. That seems like gross over simplification. Of course, there are people who take issues with slaughtering of turkeys; they are usually vegetarians.

        Your argument always seems to be, “Well, others are worse.” Don’t you get tired of making the same idiotic argument that “other people do similar things and worse so if my group does it, that’s okay.” You’re like a guy at a murder trial pleading innocent on the basis, “yes, I get killed one person but there are other guys who killed more people awaiting trial.” Do you think a judge would take that as grounds for dismissing charges.

      2. Your arguments are so laughable, juvenile… I’m not sure whether you are serious or just trolling. Many of us do care about our turkeys and the animal peril that takes place on our own turf as well. Animals, unlike people, are not governed by the same borders, nations, politics, protection and rules. They don’t belong to any-one-nation. Japan’s dolphin culling and whaling practices affect more than just the Japanese people and takes place far outside Japan’s borders as well. We have every right to protest your actions, just as your country has every right to protest our country’s misdeeds. I wish you would! I’d LOVE to see Japanese people protesting and serving to protect our Turkeys, cattle, pigs, chickens… I’d march right along with you. Sadly, I don’t see Japan caring much about animals at all. As for racism. I used to cherish Japan–the art, and what I I thought I knew then about the culture. I have since learned how racist many old-world-thinking Japanese people are of anyone non-Japanese. Japan wrote its own version of history and science and denies many of the atrocities committed in war. While I still love many Japanese people, I was disappointed to learn about the dark side of the culture. I’ve been a loyal Japanese auto-purchaser since my first car to this day. Come February, I’ll be giving my Toyota back and turning away from Japanese products until the killing of cetaceans stops. Am I racist? No. I take comfort in knowing many Japanese care like I/we do.

    1. Don’t you think that’s a little extreme? If killing intelligent creatures for sustenance or for industry was a karmic crime, the major meat eating nation of the USA should probably be expecting a gigantic volcanic eruption. Ideally, it would be great if we didn’t eat sentient beings and were all vegetarians. We’re not.

      1. We’re omnivores, end of discussion.

        Also, if you eat plants, you’re also eating things that are alive.

      2. By the way, intelligence is no issue. And dolphins or whales aren’t up to snuff compared to us humans anyway. So dolphins can recognize themselves in a mirror. Big deal. I’ll take it into consideration when they can compose music, or paint (certain primates can do that, whales and similar can’t) or, something very simple: can drive a car.

        Other primates like gorillas or chimps are much closer to us. Some mammal living in the water isn’t.

  26. Jake, I respect your site, your reporting, your ethics and even this article, and I won’t flip flop on that like some other people. The article is fine, and the barbs aimed at the protesters (there are also barbs aimed at the whaling, but that apparently doesn’t earn me any points) are aimed at them, not you.
    The fact that some people find my comments, rather than more graphic insults from trolls, worthy of their “special” kind of attention is predictable and disappointing. Can’t debate on the merits, so they resort to intimidation.

    Well, I’m done.
    The intimidation worked.
    They must feel so proud, another voice silenced.


    1. I’m sorry to see you go. For many people this is a highly emotional issue and there is tendency to demonize the voices of dissent. I’ll take care to choose comments a little more wisely. I generally try to keep the tone of discourse respectful. Opinions aren’t deeds. Thank you for bringing the problem to my attention. Your comments are always welcome.

  27. Killing humans and killing dolphins is not the same thing. “Animal rights” activists are trying to tell us that they are, but that is utterly unscientific and, honestly, completely retarded. They’re telling us that humans eating meat is evil and that animals have rights. Where do they get this from? Pretty obvious, isn’t it? From the usual enviro-nitwits and their Mother Gaia approach to things, which isn’t founded in anything even remotely scientific, but rather the same old emotional nonsense.

    Okay, I say, then what about the lion eating a zebra? Are we going to arrest the lion for “murdering” the zebra? Oh wait, no, that’s a natural thing, right?

    But what’s the difference? Objectively and scientifically speaking, there is none. Humans are omnivores. We are designed to eat everything, which is one of the reasons why we are, at the moment, the most developed life form on the planet. Equaling the rights of a human with the rights of another animal is ridiculous at best, and shows that these people hate humans at worst.

    The only thing vegans, vegetarians and “animal rights” activists are doing is trying to be on the moral high ground, a completely pointless endeavor, because it’s serves only one purpose: stroking their inflated egos. They usually never have factual or rational arguments and resort on the usual highly hysterical emotional whine. Ironically, every single member of these groups I’ve ever met was a city person. People who think cows are animals for petting zoos. People detached from reality.

    Dear enviro-nitwits, enjoy being on the moral high ground. I’ll enjoy being on top of the food chain.

    1. PS: It’s kind of interesting to see how the counter protest is quickly dismissed as “right wing”, while the initial protest bears no such label, despite the entire enviro-nitwit industry being massively left wing. Heck, what am I saying, the entire anti-war, anti-nuclear, enviro-nitwit alliance is heavily left wing, driven by failed and partly insane ideas, which, more often than not, end up in genocide. Funny how that little fact is ignored. The entire anti-war and anti-nuclear nonsense that is still plaguing Europe, for example, was heavily financed by the Soviet Union. When the US fought in Vietnam people in the US and Europe protested against it. The same people were very silent when the USSR fought in A-stan. How odd.

      Also interesting how killing a couple of animals upsets so many people, while slaughtering literally millions of unborn humans is perfectly okay. It shows what kind of people are behind this “movement.”

      This stuff is not about the environment or facts or science (not that these people would be able to recognize science even if it would sneak up behind them and bite them in the butt). No. This is, and has always been, purely political. A small group of fringe lunatics trying to enforce their will on everybody else. No you must not eat animals. Why? Because I say it’s evil! That’s their argument and that is utterly fascist.

      As for the usual straw man argument about the health benefits. That is basically a load of horse manure. Any health benefits from food are highly depending on your genetic make up. You can eat vegetarian and die with 30, or you can eat meat every day and never touch any vegetables for years and live to 90 (I know both cases in real life.) In largely depends on your genes. All that this stuff influences are risk factors and those are purely statistical. Statistics and science are not synonymous.

      1. Mercury isn’t good for people. Maybe some people can eat a lot of it and be fine but in general, like lead poisoning—it’s not good for you.
        Here’s another question–why is the whale research subsidized? If there isn’t enough hunger for whale meat to sustain the practice, than why use tax dollars to prop it up?

        1. I don’t buy the mercury argument. The same thing was and is said about tuna. If this were true then there would be a high incidence of mercury poisoning in Wakayama because it has been eaten there for hundreds of years.
          That being said, I don’t really care one way or another if people choose to eat or not to eat. dolphin or whale. When I was young my father once said that he ate whale meat when he was young. I scoffed at such a notion but was told two things. The first was “you don’t have to eat it because we live in a country that has plenty of food”. The second was “you’d be surprised at what you”ll eat if you’re hungry ” .
          What I do find objectionable is that a group of people come in from the outside and try to dictate what other people can and can’t eat. What I mean by outside, are people from other parts of Japan that don’t eat dolphin and have nothing to lose. Because of the near extinction of blue fin tuna alot people in the US object its use in sushi, but I’ll bet that these same protesters went home that night and had maguro. Now if there was a protest against that, it would be quite a story.
          I also noticed in the pictures that a number of protesters had leather purses and shoes and we all know what the Buddha’s thoughts on that are, not to mention that over a billion Hindus worship cows as being God like. Middle Eastern and Jewish people view animals with cloven hooves as being unclean and alot are opposed to anyone eating them. And don’t even get me started on PETA and Vegans.
          When you allow these groups to dictate what you can and can’t eat, you won’t be left with anything to eat but tree bark and dirt because you'”ll be fighting the same animals and creatures that you would have consumed for the food that can’t even be genetically modified because that won’t be allowed..

          1. Firstly, the primary sources of mercury poisoning in the oceans are from industrial pollution such as coal-fired power plants … so that blows apart your “hundreds of years” theory.

            Coal-fired power plants have not existed for 100s of years.

            Secondly, the oceans are not “inside” Japan. What goes on in the oceans effects all of us, and all ocean life as they are not neatly packaged into national borders.

            Thirdly, the primary organizers appear to Japanese vegans. How can you tell which leather and fur trimmings are real or fake from a shaky video?

            The rest of your comment heads off the planet. A vegan diet is perfectly varied, healthy and satisfying and very close to the traditional Japanese diet which sustained it for 1,000 of near vegetarianism under Buddhist rule before the Americans changed it … where on earth do you get the “bark and dirt” equation?

            Lastly, sure, we need to stop eating tuna too. It’s cruel, exploitive and the species are almost extinct.

    2. If you know anything about “science” you would know there is no such thing as “most developed” species in evolutionary biology.

      So much for your “objective facts”.

      It’s amazing. You managed to throw up almost every tired, second hand and well worn joke cliche floating around the internet … and at the end of it, all you achieve if making yourself look like a fool screaming “nazis … communists … queers” from your barstool at the environmentalists. “You’re not a real man if I don’t eat meat and play with guns”.

      The issue is not about “a couple” of animals, it’s about humanity’s lack of ability to manage our interaction with the environment sustainably, which is current driving many species crucial for existence into extinction.

      The game is not over for humanity yet, and so I would not be so quick to claim “tops”. It’s likely we’ll destroy our own civilization along with the environment, whereas others species have survived for 100s of millions of years.

      1. If what you say is true then you can’t eat anything that comes from the ocean. Industrial waste in water has existed for more than one hundred years. It just went unchecked until the last 50 or so years. So that doesn’t blow anything that I have said out of the water. Japan is more interested in pollution issued than they were 50 years ago.
        The old Japanese diet itself is questionable because if you notice Japanese people are much taller than even the last 20 to 30 years ago. The bone density of Japanese people even in their 30s and forties is a joke. My Aunt who work in a Japanese school used to tell stories or how Japanese kids from Japan were breaking arms and legs just tripping or falling. Japanese people had more of a vegan diet because of the lack of food not by chose. Japan may be an industrialized country but it is a couple of disasters away from being a third world country in terms of starvation. The food prices are outrageous. A bag of apples for $50.000 dollars. The second issue which I omitted was the use of industrial waste water used to irrigate plants used for food not only in China now but even in Japan until recently.. How do I know, some of my family came from farming villages and it wasn’t unusual for the times. .
        The only way you can manage human interaction with other species is to eliminate modern medicine and allow people to die because the vast increase in the human population is the cause of food shortages and the need to explore other food sources. Science and anthropology has shown that if you have more people you need more food and the more food you need the more likely you are to starve because it causes over use of land and resources. Japan did not have 126,000,000 people a 1000 years ago or even 50 years ago so the dirt and bark comment applies and isn’t far off. Until Japanese food became popular other countries did not consider eating some of the things the Japanese people ate. Look at hijiki and gobo..My Father’s comment was a good example. They were not poor and were highly educated when most of the Japanese didn’t even go to high school but yet they faced food shortages in his youth.
        If you know Japanese people you know that they are very brand oriented and they will not be seen wearing anything that isn’t brand named or pleather. That’s why people who working with animals is no longer a reason to shun people and their future generations(burakumin).. There is a huge market for Japanese tourist in Europe and even in the US because fashion is cheaper outside of Japan.
        And as much as you seem to feel that I am taking things to absurd proportions, you”ll that life can take very extreme turns that are unpredictable.

        1. The amount of industrial waste and pollution is worse today. In advanced nations, Japan included, treatment is becoming better but in developing nations, like China, it is poor and vastly increasing in quantity. This makes it very difficult for Japan. How ever much good it can do, it is being undone 10 or 100s time by its near neighbour.

          We were discussing methylmercury in particular. The problem with such toxic substances in marine life (and the problem with plastics is just as bad), is that over the decades it is concentrating up the food chain to the type of fish and sea mammals commercial fishing industry like to sell to make most money, e.g. tuna, these dolphins etc.

          Mercury levels in the Pacific Ocean will rise by 50 percent within the next few decades as emissions from coal-fired power plants, of which China is building building about two every week, increase.

          Personally, I do not eat any seafood. You cannot safely eat “bottomfeeding” species because that is where the pollution faces, and you cannot eat top species, because that is where the toxins have concentrated! We have no idea how the problem with plastics (46,000 pieces of plastic per square mile) is going to effect marine life but they contain many cancer producing chemicals. Again, despite the best effort of Japan to recycle, it shares the same oceans with the rest of Asia and its garbage.

          Commercial fisheries are inherently cruel and inhumane. Whaling amongst the worst. There is no humane way to kill a whale or dolphin. The manner in which they are killed, and they are mammals like us, are incredibly cruel and barbaric.

          In response to the rest of your comment, it is difficult to know where to start as you are throwing out so many unconnected issue, half-truths and folk legends at once I don’t know where to start. e.g. you can buy apples from 50 yen if you want but they are not a very ‘Japanese’ fruit. Where I live you can get figs, mikans (citrus) and kaki (persimmon) for free if you want there are so many.

          There is no equation between ‘being big’ and being happy or financially success – even less so ‘being sustainable’ … therefore I don’t understand why that should a priority or a goal! There are a lot of very big, very poor, very unhealthy and unhappy people in the USA.

          As you say, the population of Japan is now 120+ million and yet people living in the country no longer face hungers and famines they used to. The diet was determine by what the land could produce (and rice taxes).

          There are many factors affecting bone density, and comparative studies. I’d put the lack of hard physical work or play and exercise (due space in cities) at the top of the list and then genes.

          A study of bone mineral density in premenopausal Japanese farmwomen prove that dietary patterns with high intakes of fish, fruit, and vegetables and low intakes of animal products have the most beneficial effect (lots of calcium in vegetables and seeds). That sounds like a traditional Japanese diet to me. Comparisons between Japan-born and U.S.-born Japanese-American women do show higher bone mineral density … but also higher fat levels and other problems, e.g. hormonal, diabetes, hypertension etc.

  28. Study finds unsafe mercury levels in 84 percent of all fish

    “A new study from the Biodiversity Research Institute in Maine found that 84 percent of fish have unsafe levels of mercury. That poses a health risk for humans, exceeding the guidelines for eating certain kinds of fish more than once a month.”



    “The American Dietetic Association contends that carefully planned vegetarian diets, including vegan diets, are healthful and nutritionally sufficient for individuals of all ages, including pregnant or lactating women, infants, children, adolescents, and athletes”.


  29. How comical, the right wing don’t like their own country men having freedom of speech, complain about westerners telling them what to do yet are guided by a ‘Texas Daddy’ hahahaha how laughable is that

  30. Please stop the whale and dolphin slaughter . The babies swim in bloody waters in the death of their family then are herded back
    Out to the ocean to survive on their own after witnessing the worst atrocity. the whale means is of no value. This is wrong!

  31. I guess it is not good to eat them.
    But I think real primary reason for killing them is fact that they eat lots fish and fishes are in short supply.

    Millions of people starve to death because they are not allowed to migrate and live. They die because people do not want their standard of living to go down. People need to acknowledge this and realize it is same as watching them being sent to a concentration camp.
    To me, ignoring this and making a big deal about animal, environment, or few death is silly.

    1. Ridiculous – they are killed for money for a handful of people – human mismanagement has reduced fish stocks. If you believe that a few hundred dolphin eat more than a factory ship that can suck thousands of tons of fish from the sea in a few hours, you are an idiot believer in the propaganda of the corrupt businessmen who make money from selling the dolphins. Nobody really wants dolphin meat, but the money is to be made from selling live dolphins to aquariums (as they don’t live very long in captivity)

  32. Whales and dolphins are just animals. You don’t hear Hindus complaining about the barbaric beef eaters. Condemning Japan reeks close minded bigotry and culture imperialism.

    1. We may not agree with those who elevate dolphins and animals to special positions but respect for all living things and mammals is a universal value.

    2. 1) Cultural Imperialism? Japan knows a heck of a lot about that. (I wonder why China and Korea are still pissed).
      2) Whales and dolphins are just animals? And humans are not?
      3) Condemning Japan… bigotry… (YAWN) your point?

      Japan is more than welcome to march in protest for our own animals and people.

  33. If they can’t afford to conduct scientific research they should stop all together. Alas we all know the “scientific” slaughter of whales is a front for some corrupt loop hole to sell and consume whale meat.

  34. I think that you probably can try to do all that you can to stop bad things in this world but it doesn’t always happen. In this world everything goes 360 so if you’re so hungry that you need to eat dolphins and whales then I would say you need to become vegetarians you are so overpopulated and have a big problem with mother nature leave the oceans alone or they will devour US

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