Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Taiji - Town of sun, the black tide and whales

Most people have seen, or are familiar with the movie "The Cove" and while nobody can argue that it has brought the world's attention to the plight of dolphins  the movie has been criticized by some for not treating the Japanese fishermen fairly, that is up to the individual to decide but we believe that if a solution is ever to be found that all parties involved should have a fair voice and as such we would encourage everyone to watch the following short 3 part documentary.

Film makers synopsis

over 400 years ago, in the small coastal town of taiji, organized whaling began in japan. since then, the town and its people have been closely connected to both whales and whaling, making it a fundamental component of their culture. the western world however, began a worldwide campaign against the killing of these cetaceans not only at open seas but also around territorial waters. environmental groups and organizations applied what seemed to be a knockout punch on the issue when videotapes of the slaughter of whales and dolphins at hatajiri bay in taiji surfaced all over the world, prompting the production of news articles, ad campaigns, news clips and even a film. people from taiji felt violated by those who objected to their ancestral practice, and in response they began to isolate themselves. consequently, we have only heard one side of the story. until now, when a small group of westerners spent almost three weeks in taiji, getting to know its people, interviewing people from taiji, including two different generations of whalers, on camera for the first time in years, expressing their feelings about whales, whaling, environmental groups and culture.





  1. This does show thier side pretty well but I am still frustrated that they call it tradition. It is no longer tradition when the ritual is removed. I live in Alaska and have many friends that are Native Alaskan. These Natives have done whaling a hell of a lot longer than those in Taiji and they still stay to tradition. They don't use explosive harpoons or high powered boats. 1 whale feeds their village for a winter. Each whale hunt they pray, pray to the spirits to give them a whale, pray to the whale to offer itself for their survival through the winter, and pray thanks for the life offered and life taken to the spirits and the whale. Does that sound like tradition or does going out on a commercial boat and killing hundreds of whales to sell as meat to others (not using any of it to survive) sound like tradition?

    I am angry that they make it sound like these whalers are an endangered species. These humans will survive with other jobs the whales will not last and do not survive. I live in town called kodiak. Our community is failing. The town is always on the verge of collapse mainly because we are a commercial fishing based income. I know how the Taiji people feel but I also know that we could over fish and ruin our waters for good. So what if we have to struggle for awhile. It's called co-existance not exterminate-all-other-species-and-ourselves-with-them.

    Alternative ways to make incomes are a must for villages and towns like ours. That's why we have been building up our tourism. Whale watching is huge here. I bet we make more for our community through people experiancing our wildlife than Taiji does killing it. There is a whaler in Ike, Japan that has started up his own whale watching buisness and makes more than he ever did hunting them, and his town is benefiting from it as well.

    If they want to keep hunting fine but they have to do it the proper way with real tradition and can only hunt for subsitance, which means no selling the meat. If they want to ingest toxic levels of mercury fine that's thier life but you can't take the worlds dolphins to do it and sell them. This all goes for the Faroe Islands too.

    They act like we don't know what we're talking about. Like we haven't been in their shoes. Like we don't know thier struggle. Here in America the buffalo were hunted the same way they hunt whales and dolphins. Now on a few herds are left in all of the country when millions used to run free. In the north escpecially in Canada seals are hunted on such a large scale it's called the largest mass slaughter of marine mammals. It is claimed by most of these hunters that they do it for population control (the only reason seals would have a population flux like that would be the drop in Orca and Polar Bear numbers whish is because of humans anyways). Like the whalers these sealers killing indiscriminatly, pregnant mothers and new borns even only weeks old are free for the kill and like the whalers they do it for a living.

    So as long as we do it to make money so we don't have to find other jobs and claim it's tradition then it's ok. Well down in africa tribes have been attacking each other for centuries. The mass genicide that occurs down there on a daily bases, yes with pregnant woman and young children as victims. It is more tradition for these people than whaling is for Japanese and yet I promise you if you ask them they will say it is horrific and needs to stop.

  2. I understand taking animals to survive. I even go so far as to beieve in it. But if that existance is destroying ecosystems then it needs to change. You don't cut off your skin just to get a close shave. Logic dictates change and unfortunatly humans in a society revolt against change (which is one reason I don't believe in indirect evolution, ie: apes to humans. It goes against the natural order, doesn't mean I believe in oraganized religion either so slow down you evoheads ;) ) Our best attack is understanding them, their point of view, and their culture. Then take it and turn it back on them. Combining thier own words, history, culture and traditions to show them the error of thier ways and then giving them examples of our own words, history, culture and traditions that we've errored in but have accepted and changed. Maybe even some examples of areas we need to change.

    You lead by example and say if I could do it you can do it. And always pick your battles. Adapt, overcome and improvise.

  3. OK...having watched all 3 video's i have to say that it is just not good enough to cry " tradition ", many country's in history have had traditions that in light of knowledge gained throughout the years they have dropped! when you continue to support a tradition that you now KNOW to be wrong that is IGNORANCE! also there is the legal view, the antartic sea is an INTERNATIONAL WHALE SANCTUARY. YET STILL THE JAPANESE INVADE THESE WATERS AND KILL PROTECTED SPECIES OF WHALE! they say it is for research....but quite clearly ( and from there own mouths ) it is NOT! I fail to see why this should be allowed to continue, as far as taiji is concerned many small towns have to change customs in order to progress and prosper all over the world, why should they be an exeption?