Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Japan "Bans" The Cove and Other Atrocities

By Mike in Tokyo Rogers
Once again, Taiji, the small village that holds dolphin hunts is in the news for the coming annual dolphin hunt. Regardless of the fact that in Taiji less than 10% of the annual catch of dolphins in all of Japan are killed, it has become the focal point for protests. This is my take on this subject. I think 98+% of the Japanese population agrees with me. 
The award winning movie about the killing of whales and dolphins, the Cove, has been censored in Japan. More and more movie theaters have bowed to nationalist and suspected Japanese government pressures to cancel the showing of this movie. 
I come out as one person who protests this assault on free speech and the free market and condemn actions to block this movie from public view. This movie should be made available to anyone who wants to watch it.
I also come out, as a person who thinks this subject about whether or not Japan hunts whales or dolphins is none of anyone else's business. I, for one, especially do not want to hear anything on this subject from hypocrites who reside in select countries in the west. I think the average Japanese person would agree with me.
Maybe whale and dolphin hunting isn't ideal, but, I assure you, we have other problems that are much more pressing than this. I would think that most westerners, if they stopped to think about it, would agree. That's the problem. Most people don't stop to think about it. 
This "hunting the whales and dolhins business" is now returning as the new flavor of the week. Is this because global warming is now out of favor? Remember that problem? Or remember when we were all going to die because of Swine Flu, Bird Flu, SARS, etc.? Ah, yes. I remember when AIDS was the big problem a few decades ago.... 
And who could forget the movie, "China Syndrome"? Right after that movie came out, I remember my silly friends getting all excited about that and going out to protest at San Onofre Nuclear Power Plant in California and doing stupid things like demonstrating by chaining themselves to the fence of the power plant. I guess people don't do that anymore. I was unaware that nuclear power had been made 100% safe. When did that happen? Or is it because it is no longer trendy to protest nuclear power?
My foolish Hippie friends, in the 70's, used to wonder why I refused to go with them to protest nuclear power. I wouldn't go because I believed that my friend's were just tools being manipulated by the mass media to follow the "trend of the week." They all failed to realize that they were being used as a promotional weapon for Social Media Marketing of a product way before it was ever called, "Social Media Marketing." I also told my friends that if they truly wanted to protest nuclear power, that they’d throw out their TV and refrigerators. Interestingly, none of them took me up on that.
Another Hollywood actress sheds real tears for the dolphins, or Brazilian rainforests, or Amazon something-or-others, blah blah… 
The nationalists and those in Japan who have been accused of pressuring the movie theaters into not showing the Cove have actually done a favor to the promoters of this film. Why? You couldn't buy promotion this good. Think of how well the Sex Pistols did because the British government banned them. The people, who made The Cove, and their advocates, actually think that, if they show this movie to the Japanese public, the Japanese will somehow rise up and demand that whaling be stopped. What a bunch of simpletons. There's no way that that would ever happen. The Japanese won't protest the government printing them into debt that is nearly 200% of GDP. This debt is going to bankrupt this country and ruin the lives of half the nation. But there are no protests about this.
Do people living in foreign countries actually think the average Japanese is going to protest what a tiny village in eastern Japan does? That’s laughable.
Either way, there's no way that masses of Japanese people would ever go see the Cove, as it is about a disgusting subject. I'm sure Americans, too, would be rushing to theaters this weekend to spend their leisure time and money by watching a movie that deals in subject matter like the slaughter of animals with all the blood and gore. My, can you imagine? What a fun first date or family outing that would be. I'm sure my wife and kid would be thrilled... “Let’s go watch the cute dolphins gets clubbed… On second thought, honey, let's go see Toy Story 3...”
I'd like to add here that, if the makers of The Cove were truly sincere about their motivations in protecting the whales and dolphins, and how, if they truly believed that if the Japanese saw the movie, they'd demand the end of this whaling and dolphin killing, then they'd make the entire movie free on Youtube. Other people with a message have made theirs free, why doesn't the makers of The Cove do the same? Trust that Youtube has hundreds of millions more viewers than the movie theaters in Japan ever could hope to have. But, you know what? The Cove is not available on Youtube; only trailers for sales promotion are available. There goes their credibility.
And don't tell me that they can't give the movie away for free because then they won't make any money; just look at Google. Google gives away almost everything for free and they are one of the biggest money making companies in the world.
So just keep that in mind when you think about this problem and are bursting veins in your neck screaming about how evil these Japanese fishermen are. 
Face facts, even if the average Japanese did see the movie, it wouldn't alter their thinking so much. They still couldn't really care less about this, as they don't see it as a problem. And, no, it hasn't anything to do with "Westerners eat cows, don't they?" I think you'd find that almost all foreigners who have lived in Japan for any length of time believe that western reaction to this problem is way overblown.
It has to do with the hypocrisy of the west and westerners. Let me explain it how I see it.
I gather that, because Japan was such a desperately poor country for so many centuries, that it is ingrained into the Japanese psyche that the #1 priority for people is survival. Until you've walked in your neighbor's shoes, then you shouldn't judge what they do in order to survive, as long as they do not harm other people. Also, through archeologolical studies, there is lots of evidence that the Japanese have been hunting whales since before 12,000 BC.
My dear deceased father-in-law used to tell me, "American people worry about how they will spend their vacations. Japanese people worry about how they will survive." I gathered that this saying has been around in Japan for hundreds of years. 
The hypocrisy of the west lies in the fact that westerners and western society (Americans, British, Australians, especially) will spend their time pointing fingers at the Japanese for fishing practices while they conveniently ignore little things like invading the countries and dropping bombs on the homes of dark-skinned people, most recently children in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Somalia, etc., You know, killing and maiming two-year-old girls, boys, old people and pregnant women...
This disconnect makes people with common sense wonder "What the heck are these people who get furious about whaling and dolphin hunting, etc., thinking about?" And "Where the heck are their priorities?"
When people begin to love their fellow human and quit the wars, then perhaps, they can have a believable pulpit to complain about the slaughter of whales or dolphins. Until then, it is nonsense.
Let me give you some facts. The people in question in the movie The Cove are from a tiny fishing village in eastern Japan called, Taiji in Wakayama Prefecture. The Taiji people have been hunting whales and dolphins since the 17th century. Taiji is the traditional whaling village in Japan. They've been doing this for centuries and even have whaling festivals. The dolphin hunt is an annual event. The dolphins that are killed are not an endangered species. I certainly think that the activities of a small fishing village in Japan will probably not hurt the population of dolphins or whales. They have, after all, been doing this fishing for 300 years. 

Woodblock print of Whaling in Taiji from the Edo Period (almost 200 years ago)
Further research shows that Taiji is a minute fishing village with a total area under 4 square miles in size with a population of something like 3,400 people.... If the total population of Taiji is 3,400, how many able-bodied fishermen are there? 300? 400? People don't actually think that the fishing practices of this group of villagers are going to destroy the global population of whales or dolphin population, do they? 
 Some advocates of the Cove claim that the dolphin meat is pumped full of mercury and that these people in Taiji are poisoning themselves eating the dolphin meat. So we have to stop them. Well, which is it? Are these "Cove folks" worried about the people of Taiji getting mercury poisoning or are they worried about the dolphins getting killed? Get the story straight. Japanese people, on the average live seven years longer than Americans; do you hear the Japanese complaining that Americans are pumping themselves full of processed food poisons and sodium-laden fast food? No, you don't.
I’d like to think that Japanese adults are able to decide their own diet menu by themselves, thank you very much.
If people are stupid enough to want to eat food that is high in mercury, then that is their choice. If people are stupid enough to eat processed food constantly and walk around 50 ~ 100 kilograms overweight, well, then that is their choice too. 
A good analogy is: if people want to drive a car without a seatbelt, then let them do that too.
How can anyone from the USA, Canada, Oceania or NATO country complain about the killing of whales and dolphins in Japan when that person does nothing to stop their own government complicity in the bombing, maiming and killing millions of innocents, children, old people and women? 
The killing of these animals is seasonal, but the killing of children by the US government (Australian, NATO, etc.) goes on around the clock, around the world, 365 days and nights of the year in a slaughter that continues even to this very day. 
What right do these people have to say anything about the killing of whales and dolphins in Japan?  
I think none.
But, I am against the censorship of the Cove, or any other movie for that matter.


salil said...

Actually the ''food-chain'' that controls the food-supply in any country today on the world map has shown that besides extinction of the species the consumption and sale of its flesh and parts are legal for eating...
Excessive ''beef'' production could alter the food-chain and cause extinction to occur anyways....
One could plead on the cows behalf as much as layers for and against the consumption of whale meat would claim.....
crocadile meat in florida cost $45 a pound....
and snake venom $3500 a pound....

mike in tokyo rogers said...

Thank you, Salil... As always and interesting angle!

Anonymous said...

NATO countries are killing children and old people? Do you have evidence for that? At least they are involved in international politics and take responsibilities, as opposed to Japan, which basically minds its own business. No other industry nation has such horrible relations with its neighboring countries than Japan. Now, why is that?

mike in tokyo rogers said...

Thanks Anonymous,

Evidence for NATO countries killing children and old people?
You are kidding, right? A simple Google search of the words, "afghanistan bombing children nato" will result in 10,400,000 results. "bombing children nato" will get you over 17 million results. Wake up.

Check it for yourself.

Anonymous said...

Search for "taliban afghanistan women" and read about the alternative. I have some Afghan friends (particularly women) who are really thankful for the presence of NATO troops.

But of course NATO is specifically fighting the kids over there, because they pose the biggest threat. Gimme a break. Sometimes it's good to fight distress/plights in the world (to make it a better place despite collateral damage), instead of turning a blind eye like the Japanese government.

Why has nobody invaded North Korea yet?

mike in tokyo rogers said...


You were the one who denied that NATO was killing children. Now, you give up the point because you've been proven wrong.

Next up you change the subject with the idiotic idea that dropping bombs on Afghani women, children, men and old people is far better than having their women follow customs that are centuries old?

You are debating in the wrong place, my friend... Please do yourself a favor and go to some other site and write this nonsense. You need to debate with Americans who have never been outside the USA, like yourself. You are way out of your league here.

Your illogical points have already shown gross inconsistency and foolishness. The absurd idea that killing these people is preferable to the women following old customs is just plain, well, asinine.

Good day.

Anonymous said...

I'm neither American, nor do I live in the US. Plus, I don't think that a mere Google search (or the number of results) is a credible and verifiable source of information. However, I find it highly ignorant to approve women abuse, and to subscribe to the idea of it being an old custom that is nobody else's business. It's like saying that killing Jews during the Holocaust was an old custom of Nazi Germans and hence no one was allowed to interfere.

mike in tokyo rogers said...


It's obvious that you didn't do your research.

1) The Google search links to literally millions of articles from AP and other world famous and respected news sources that document Killing of innocents by US and NATO forces. That is a fact that you initially denied. Now, you change the subject.

2) No one approved of abuse of women.

3) Your comparison to Nazi crimes against Jews is ridiculous and a complete non-sequiter.

The point remains that your idea is that killing children, old women and men is preferable to them following cultural norms of their own country (not ours). That is the crux of your argument. It is ridiculous nonsense.

Anonymous said...

I didn't read ther other comments but this is all I have to say:

1) The film does not sympathize that dolphins are going extinct (hence why we should care about the dolphin drive), but rather that the fish that support their ever collapsing fish market are going extinct. So they are saying that they need to kill off the dolphins to support their unsustainable fishing practices.
*Literally, every year you can go diving and see right before your eyes the depletion of the sea's supply of fish*. Basically, they are screwing themselves. They think that by killing 23,000+ dolphins a year they are preserving their supply of fish, well.. sorry but eventually they will run out and won't be able to blame the dolphins.

2) Sorry but I don't really think you can compare the killing of humans to the killing of dolphins. Did you miss out on the part that dolphins are potentially as if not more intelligent as us? They can tell what is going on.. they can tell that their babies are being killed.. they are one of the very few species that are self-aware. We are talking about animal cruelty here. I think it is irrelevant to compare the killing of humans. Just because those other issues are important and need to be addressed, so too do issues like this dolphin slaughter. I think this documentary is important because it reveals just one instance of corruption that is going on - that it is possible to crack the case and that much change does come from the passion of individuals, not just governments.

Like you said, everyone is entitled to their opinions.

Anonymous said...

Brilliant analysis of the disconnect people, especially Americans, suffer today. When the US government kills and bombs people in Afghanistan, Iraq (now, Pakistan, Yemen, Libya, next Syria) what does the average white person do?
Complain about dolphins? Are you kidding me?
It is much easier to complain about your neighbors behavior than it is to look in the mirror and see the horrible ugliness of yourself. Don't look! Look over the fence at what those terrible people over there are doing!!!!! Isn't it horrible?

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