Saturday, September 1, 2012

We Make Dolphins the Japanese Agenda

Mayor Sagen, Taiji, Japan talking about us

by Steven Thompson, TDAG 
Sept. 2, 2012

I got a telephone call today from a Japanese friend at the Cove today. Ric O'Barry and I showed the Cove (watch for free) at the home of our mutual friends in Taiji four years ago. We still have security issues for the Japanese. Violence is possible. Town shunning is par for the course. It's not easy to challenge the tradition of the-way-it's-always-been-done.

My friend cannot easily contact Sea Shepherd or Save Japan Dolphin activists directly. He has a message for them--he's happy you are here. Many Taiji people are happy you are here! The hunt gives their town a bad reputation. He is on good speaking terms with people in Taiji including hunters. It's a small friendly town.

The message to Cove Guardian, Melissa Sehgal, and Cove Monitor Tim Burns, is that the hunters are upset...he used the phrase "mecha okotteiru" (damn angry). Being here works. Thank you for coming! We could arrange a meeting sometime when the undercover police escort stops tailing you or you slip away.

The hunters get together at the Isana izakaya (bar) after their hands are clean. Deiter Hagmann with Atlantic Blue, got some good footage in the bar and we observed the Korean live dolphin export party when we got one of our tires sabotaged. The hunters also lounge around outside the union smoking cigarettes after they get cleaned up. They are happy to talk to people walking by, including non-Japanese. I have shared potato chips with them. They usually love to debate. Really. It's always a bit of rowdy fun. But today was different.

The media coverage...the heavy and constant police presence...the town meeting...Taiji will feel under siege for 6 months and today is just the second day. The news last night (Sept. 1, 2012) in Japan prime time covered the opening of dolphin killing season. The news anchor seemed more concerned about Sea Shepherd than the peacefully assembled Save Japan Dolphin Activists. Sea Shepherd has become the buzz word for those attacking Japanese "culture".

Activists around the world demonstrated in front of Japanese consulates and embassies. Now that we have activists reporting minute by minute from Taiji, we have taken over the Japanese agenda in every city where there are dolphin activists and a Japanese presence. We are the Japanese agenda.

One well-known hunter, SHIMETANI Kazutoyo (aka Private Space), who helps manage the day to day hunt and butchery, had no idea who he was talking to. He was angry. he even uses the F-word, in English of course. I interviewed him when he was following me around with a video camera when I was alone at the Cove. When I turned my camera off, he started talking. Shimetani san really is a nice guy. He has a good heart. He isn't evil. His soul is not corrupted. I think he is just following tradition, and extremely misguided.

I hope he doesn't have a heart attack. I hope he sees the light and saves baby dolphins and pregnant females at least.

The hunters have gone back after killing and released babies, pregnant females, and a few males when we protested two years ago. It's a time consuming reverse process of banging the poles and pushing frighted dolphins out near international waters. Of course they may be intelligent and warn other dolphins to stay away (I think they did...the hunt numbers are down as a result). When the hunters do make the decision not kill every male, female, and baby, Taiji will not be known as the dolphin baby killing capital of Japan. There are more options for Taiji than following tradition blindly. Please demand that that the dolphins save the babies and pregnant females. This is the strategy recommended to us by trusted Japanese people.

I recommend a letter writing campaign too--it has certainly worked for Amnesy International: Identify the people doing bad things, and inundate them with mail. The wonderful thing about post offices is that they will hand deliver your message. These are the men most responsible for dolphin deaths in Japan.

Let's all write a letter every week to:

1. Mayor SANGEN Kazutaka at the Taiji Town Office

Taiji Town Office 3767-1, Taiji, Taiji-cho, Higashimuro-gun, Wakayama 649-5171  Japan

2. Mr. SHIMETANI Kazutoyo, Chief Butcher, at the Isana Union.

Taiji Isana Union 3167-7, Taiji, Taiji-cho, Higashimuro-gun, Wakayama 649-5171  Japan

Also consider writing to
3. Mr. MATSUMOTO Shuichi, the President of the Taiji Isana Union (Gyo Gyo Kumiai). Same address as Mr. Shimetani.

Taiji Isana Union 3167-7, Taiji, Taiji-cho, Higashimuro-gun, Wakayama 649-5171  Japan

Consulates and Embassies
The staff at these offices exist to answer our questions. Please ask them if they could advocate for the baby dolphins. You can call in English anytime. Many have 24 hour numbers.

If they don't have the telephone number to call off the hunt, you can give it to them.

Mayor Sangen                                          
Taiji Town Hall                                               Taiji Isana Union (Gyo Gyo Kumiai)
Call: 0735592335                                            Call: 0735592340
Fax: 0735592801                                            Fax: 0735592821
Add 81 for Int'l and drop the first zero

The alternative to the killing is to hold a new vision for Taiji...a beautiful Taiji...maybe with wild dolphins happy to interact in the open seas.

Dolphins can be so forgiving.
They will help.
Give 'em a chance.
First, save their lives.

For the Taiji Dolphins!

Note: I am not a member of Sea Shepherd or Save Japan Dolphins, but I think they are doing a heck of a good job spreading outside pressure (gaiatsu) awareness to end the dolphin hunt. Please support the individuals using their own funds to get involved. Please support Japanese activist when you find them. They are ones who will end this. They are the ones who will create an alternative.


  1. Thank you for sharing this info. with us!!!!

  2. This makes me feel hopeful, thanks for sharing :-)

  3. You are welcome. Please visit the Taiji Dolphin Action Group on Facebook.

  4. This blog would not be possible without the input of Japanese. Thank you.

    There are many people to write to besides Sangen, Matsumoto, and Shimetani. There is value to focus with those with actual dolphin blood on their hands as well as focusing on those in the white collar ministry jobs that enable the knife holders. If you've got the stamps, here are five more top decision makers who actively support killing Taiji dolphins.

    1. Yoshifumi Kai at Isana Union who is in charge of selling dolphin meat. He is often seen overseeing the hunt. He has the power to recommend cancellation of the hunt and did so when CNN came. I spoke with him at length on several occasions. He calls me his #1 Enemy for bringing western outside pressure (Gaiatsu) to Taiji.

    Mr. Yoshifumi Kai, Dolphin Meat Sales and Marketing
    Taiji Isana Union 3167-7, Taiji, Taiji-cho, Higashimuro-gun, Wakayama 649-5171 Japan

    2. Wakayama Prefectural government issues the permits and negotiates with the national government. The drive dolphin hunt is permitted by the prefecture so you can demand that the hunt be cancelled for cruelty to the babies and pregnant females or for unsustainability (a word they may understand) or cruelty.

    Wakayama Prefectural Governor Mr. Yoshinobu Nisaka
    1-1 Komatsubaradori Wakayama City, Wakayama 640-8585 Japan

    3. If you stress dolphins should be protected, not eaten, such demand should be sent to Ministry of Environment.

    Mr. Goshi Hosono, Minister of the Environment
    Godochosha No. 5, Kasumigaseki 1-2-2, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo 100-8975, Japan.

    4. The quota is set by the Ministry of Agriculture Forestry and Fisheries and they give the permission for small-type coastal whaling

    Mr.Akira Gunji, Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries
    1-2-1,Kasumigaseki,Chiyoda-ku,Tokyo 100-8950,Japan.

    5. The mercury or meat contaminate issue should be referred to the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare

    Ms. Yoko Komiyama, Minister of Health, Labor and Welfare
    1-2-2 Kasumigaseki Chiyoda-ku Tokyo, 100-8916 Japan

  5. Helpful link for phone and email

  6. Which planet are you on, Steven Mitty?
    If you understood Japanese a bit better you'd know that Japanese activists deplore gai-atsu. That's why the only Japanese people in TAG are the nutty ones. Ah, they are the only ones you know, aren't they!
    "We still have security issues for the Japanese."
    WTF does that mean? Bombastic drivel!
    "We could arrange a meeting sometime when the undercover police escort stops tailing you or you slip away."
    Haha! Oh it's Steven Bond now, is it?
    "Many Taiji people are happy you are here!"
    Absolute bollocks.
    Sure, many of the ones who will speak to YOU are……

    The rest would rather be dead than seen near a shit-stirrer like you.

    Enough of the bitchery, what I really want to say is this:

    Are you feeling "mecha okotteru" now?

    Does it make you want to listen to what I have to say?
    Of course not!!

    Then why do you think it will work on the dolphin hunters any better than it works on you? They're only human.


    Steven Thompson really is a nice guy. He has a good heart. He isn't evil. His soul is not corrupted. I think he is just following his idea of tradition, and extremely misguided.

    Best wishes to all dolphin lovers. You don't have to believe what I say.
    If you want to know what really goes on in Japan, I can give you contacts. The people you will meet by coming to Taiji are hardly representative of Japan as whole, or even of its conservationists.

    As a translator for several Japanese conservation groups, resident in Japan for over 30 years, I have a rather different view from Steven's.
    If you find me on Facebook later in the week, you can see photos of what I did with dolphins today.

    Simon Varnam

  7. Thank you for your information and e-mails and addresses. Until the cove at Taiji is blue forever we will NEVER GIVE UP AND NEVER BE SILENT!