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Rabid animal rights activists go head-to-head with tradition

45 Comments

In an article timed to coincide with "Be Kind to Animals Week" (Sept 20~27), Jun Mishina writes in Shukan Shincho (Oct 1), about how activists are riding roughshod over tradition in order to safeguard the life, liberty and happiness of non-human members of the animal kingdom.

In January of this year, the Suwa Grand Shrine in Suwa City, Nagano Prefecture, was beset by placard-bearing protesters, who were upset over a "frog-hunting ceremony" -- a 1,000-year-old ritual that calls for capturing amphibians and impaling them with arrows, which are then offered to the gods. Presently, only two frogs are so sacrificed, with the impaling ritual taking place in the shrine's inner sanctum and not in public. That, however, was enough to infuriate a dozen demonstrators, who disrupted the event with chants of "Cruel! Cruel!"

"What I found most objectionable was the female protester who waded into the Mitarai River and physically attempted to stop parishioners from catching frogs," Masao Kasahara relates. "The shrine regards the spot in the river as a 'sacred place' where even the head priest isn't permitted to enter. And there was this woman, yelling "Stop that!' and 'Don't kill frogs!' She was pushing so hard she slipped and fell into the river. That was a huge offense to the gods."

"Are you planning to write an article that goes against the worldwide trend toward animal protection?" a representative of Animal Network Japan, which organized the protest, asked the writer of the article. "Since frog hunting is an illegal act, what's wrong with citizens raising their voices against it? We'll be back next year to protest again."

Another assault on tradition has taken place at freak shows, some of which date back to feudal times. During festivals, people would set up as many as 300 tents on shrine grounds, where rubes could come to gawk at such spectacles as "The Human Pump," "The Fire-spouting woman" and others. (Tokyoites can still see some of these at the Hanazono Shrine in Shinjuku during the "Tori-no-Ichi festival held every November.) But you'd better go soon, as their next act may be a vanishing act -- literally.

The Hakozaki Shrine festival held every September in Fukuoka City has been beset upon by animal rights advocates, vociferously demanding that performances by the "hebi-onna" (snake woman) and "okami-onna" (wolf lady) be halted.

The demonstrators were particularly incensed by a female geek who would bite the heads off live chickens and snakes.

"That poor snake looks pitiful!" a protestor bellowed.

The demonstrators also persuaded two very reluctant patrolmen to accompany them to the venue.

"The cops were saying, 'If we go along, then the incident will be blown up out of proportion,'" said one of the freak show organizers. "Anyway, they did issue a warning to us, saying, 'You're not allowed to do anything illegal or you might get arrested.'"

"Nothing ever came to the point that the cops would walk on stage and make an arrest," he continued. "But after that, we completely stopped using snakes. 'Why did you stop?' spectators were asking. But it couldn't be helped. After that, we just don't have the heart to keep doing it."

Activists have also taken a bite out of dog fighting, a tradition in Kochi Prefecture. They even went after an elderly Yamagata farmer who booted the butt of a bear that came down for a snack while he was harvesting kinoko mushrooms.

"There was a time when the killing of animals for food used to be an everyday occurrence," opines critic and author Tomofusa Kure. "Now it's farmed out to people who specialize in it, and when anyone else does it, they're considered to be cruel and unfeeling.

"I think you can say this kind of hysterical behavior by animal rightists is rooted in 'fraudulent narcissism.'"

© Japan Today

©2018 GPlusMedia Inc.

45 Comments
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If it's part of the religion then they have a right to do it if it's only 2 frogs. It's not like their going a hunting spree and killing hundreds of them. Plus its in room closed off from the public, what gives these people the right to order people around when they have been doing this for 1,000 years. I hate this type of Eco-activist when they have give no consideration to the religion.

2 ( +14 / -12 )

The Jews used to sacrifice lambs, but stopped when the 2nd temple was burned to the ground. I hope they do not burn down these wonderful temples.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Apparently, they haven't gone to Taiji yet... Many "traditions" have been "discarded" in Europe. For example, the "stocks" where people, accused of committing a crime, had their hands "locked" through holes in wooden boards so that passers-by could pelt them with rotten eggs and/or fruit... That's just one of the "traditions" that was discarded long ago...

4 ( +10 / -6 )

I wonder if they intended humor with that title, "Rabid animal rights activists . . .

6 ( +6 / -0 )

That was a huge offense to the gods.

Gods who demand animals be dragged out of their habitat and impaled on sticks for the sake of 'tradition'? Let them be offended.

freak shows, some of which date back to feudal times

What happened in feudal times can stay in feudal times. This is the 21st century.

you’d better go soon

Or better still, not go at all. The weirdos will see no further point in continuing their feudal barbarity when they have no one gawking at them and no one paying them money to be deliberately cruel and disgusting.

a female geek who would bite the heads off live chickens and snakes.

How can anyone even begin to consider defending this stuff???

we completely stopped using snakes. ....., we just don’t have the heart to keep doing it.

Good. Result.

Activists have also taken a bite out of dog fighting, a tradition in Kochi Prefecture

Stopping dog-fighting is wrong? ?????

“There was a time when the killing of animals for food used to be an everyday occurrence,” opines critic and author Tomofusa Kure. “Now it’s farmed out to people who specialize in it, and when anyone else does it, they’re considered to be cruel and unfeeling.

Not a single incident mentioned in this article involved killing for food, so Mr Kure is indulging in fraudulent outrage. But yes, when people who don't know what they're doing decide to kill something, they usually do it badly and cause the animal to suffer needlessly. And of course if they're killing it for no good reason in the first place, even if they do it 'well', they are committing an indefensible act.

“I think you can say this kind of hysterical behavior by animal rightists is rooted in ‘fraudulent narcissism.’”

This kind of hysterical article (by 'traditionalists'?) is rooted in fraudulent muckraking. If you're going to get upset, get upset about the people continuing the outdated cruelty and barbarism, not the people trying to stop it. How about an article on 'Traditional practices that have no place in the modern world and should be stopped at once'?

12 ( +19 / -7 )

From what I heard, Taji is actually a hunt they been doing for culture/ hunting reason and not for religious reason, even I'm against something like rounding them up and killing them. As for European traditions is that just legal laws or was that type of punishment used based on religious reasons? I know that every religion has there legal laws but what about sacrificing an animal? For the Jewish religion what was the reason for them stopping it by chance?

2 ( +3 / -1 )

When modern times overlaps tradition pagan events, it is tradition that is disregarded along with peoples religious believes. Some even compromise and change the tradition of these celebration to there advantage, like Christianity. They replace the traditionally winter solar event of sacrificing objects and life to the birth of a new trendy entity, The God of Can-fix-it-all. These challenges to people believes usually involves two main reason, one of groups being effect financially or they feel that their existing comforbility is being effected negatively.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

The human body needs food. Animal flesh is a good supply of protein. So I can understand killing animals for food.

Culling animals that might cause problems if they became too numerous (deer) or that are dangerous (snakes, tigers, etc.,) is also understandable.

But killing animals for pleasure, as in hunting or because one's predecessors did it (tradition) are both a form of insanity.

10 ( +15 / -5 )

"...she slipped and fell into the river. That was a huge offense to the gods.”

"...a female geek who would bite the heads off live chickens and snakes."

Seems like there's stupid behavior by both protesters AND the accused offenders.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

I suspect the original Japanese article was being completely sarcastic. They talked about snakes at freakshows, sacrificing frogs, dog fighting and then they quote the guy saying these activists are narcissists because we all used to kill animals for food.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Activists have also taken a bite out of dog fighting, a tradition in Kochi Prefecture>

Is dog fighting legal in Japan? If it is then I am really surprised. This is because when I was holidaying in Japan I saw some Japanese walking their dogs in prams! They love their dogs so much that they are willing to push them around themselves! Also Hachikō is famous and pretty well known outside Japan and even has a bronze statue in Shibuya. Also with cat cafe I kinda think Japanese really love dogs and cats.

How are the laws against animal cruelites in Japan? Is it illegal to eat dogs or cats or rabbits or other small animals? Is there a RSPCA in Japan and does it go after people who commits animal cruelties?

1 ( +4 / -3 )

Now if only all that oddly directed activism could be rechanneled into shutting down pet stores that snuff puppies, kittens, etc., when they reach their sell-by dates...

6 ( +7 / -1 )

I know rabbit and carp in certain communities is a big no-no and I would not harm them in these areas. I have tradition also and I get annoy when one of my traditions are abuse. like men wearing the colour pink. It offends me because my tradition is that the ownership of this colour belongs to young girls. Like Nun uniform or a Sumo's attire. One should not wear this style or colour due to offending people. But this does not give me the right to enter a steam to abuse men are wearing pink jumpers who are peacefully fishing for trout.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

@yoshisan88

There are some laws that make it illegal to mistreat animals (I can only assume they cover dog fighting), I've pasted the link below. Suffice it to say that in reality, nothing in Japan is strictly legal or illegal, it all depends on who you are, who saw you, how much trouble you caused, how much publicity your actions received etc.

<http://www.japaneselawtranslation.go.jp/law/detail/?id=61&vm=04&re=02>

Is there a RSPCA in Japan and does it go after people who commits animal cruelties?

No, there's no organisation in Japan that's been given the power to independently prosecute people and bring them to court (like the RSPCA does). The police, local governments and NGOs would all have to hand any evidence to an ordinary public prosecutor, who is the only person who can decide to charge someone.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

@M3M3M3

Thanks for your information, mate. I had a quick look at the link and I believe I need more time to read it.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

What a bizarre story. "Rabid?" "Running roughshod?" Assertions made by quoted people without counter-arguments? And the overall tone: "They even went after an elderly farmer!" Oh my heavens, what's next? Outright murdering of people to protect animals?

Is there a context here that's missing? Is this an opinion piece without an attribution? What is the point of this?

1 ( +2 / -1 )

To each his/her/their own, but I’ve never been able to understand people who claim that because an activity or event has historically been done by their culture that it cannot be changed, adapted to fit a new era, or outright stopped.

Old traditions are wonderful and help bind people together, but when they cross lines and involve cruelty to any species, then I think that members of that culture should have a serious rethink of that tradition.

Cultures make themselves up. Every one of those traditions is man-made; every one can be man-stopped, especially if it does harm to another living creature.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

"They even went after an elderly farmer!" Oh my heavens, what's next? Outright murdering of people to protect animals?>

Here in Australia. I have seen a TV ad. made by PETA about the animal cruelties against fish. PETA thinks it is wrong to catch fish out of the sea and let them die without water.

Not long ago PETA ran a compaign against the sheep industries in Australia. Accusing them of animal cruelties because they shear sheeps. PETA even used some misleading graphical photo to support its cause.

I have also read some online comment saying that PETA wants to ban butchered meat in supermarkets because they upset the kids.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

She was pushing so hard she slipped and fell into the river. That was a huge offense to the gods

No, it wasn't.

"There was a time when the killing of animals for food used to be an everyday occurrence," opines critic and author Tomofusa Kure. "Now it’s farmed out to people who specialize in it, and when anyone else does it, they're considered to be cruel and unfeeling".

Are those frogs that are sacrificed eaten afterwards? Is the loser of the dog fight killed and eaten? Even if they are it doesn't justify the cruel manner of their death. Clearly, it's Mr Kure who is cruel and unfeeling.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

Yoshisan: The shearing practice you are referring to is not actually shearing. It is referred to as crouching. It is very painful act for the sheep. Where they remove the skin around the groin area to prevent wool growing in this area to prevent Fly strike. They do this for the health of the animal and it is a old traditional way of animal husbandry. I seen this Fly Strike and it not pleasant and it is a very slow painful death for the sheep. This is the main reason why traditional Japanese saw people who ate lamb as barbaric and referred to the invading Mainlanders force in as Barbarians.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

What happened in feudal times can stay in feudal times. This is the 21st century.

Appeal to novelty fallacy,

0 ( +4 / -4 )

@John-San

Thanks for your information. Interesting to know that traditonal Japanese saw people who ate lamb as barbaric. Is lamb a popular cuisine in Japan? What is Japanese's view on eating rabbits and kangaroos? We eat them both here. On the other hand I am aware that Japanese eat horses.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Regarding rabbits, I think eating them was banned by the Buddhist priesthood back in the day, but times were hard and the folks didn't have a lot to eat, so they reclassified them as "birds" because their ears look like wings (!)

It's why to this day, rabbits in Japan are counted as "ichi-wa", "ni-wa", "san-wa" in the same way as birds and not as "ippiki". "nihiki" etc. like other small animals.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

@kohakuebisu

Thanks for your information. Saying rabbits as birds is really interesting.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Yoshisan: Basashi ( horse meat) is very popular in Nagano Prefecture. I do not know if it is tradition but it is very similar the Japanese Shorthorn wagyu in taste. My Partner is keen on trying Roo. I told her that it was the protein the Traditlonal Aboriginals utilised the most. Dairy and sheep farming was introduce to Haikaido in the late 1900 but the sheep farming never took hold and it is only a very small industry unlike dairy is today. I put it down to the believe associated with the Barbarians. I know that I would not order lamb on Honsu. At every Hotel I have worked at, has a big freezer in the kitchen and it is my job the check the turnover at end of season. The Lamb is alway out of date and is only purchase once at the start of each season and I have never had reorders of lamb during the season. My Partner is from a farming family and has many tradition and says that rabbits are sacred to shinto and she also say deer are. That why you see Deer at Mishima Shinto Temple.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

@John-San

Thanks a lot for your interesting information. I had no idea that Japanese dislikes lambs and rabbits, deers are sacred to Shinto. Many people, especially those in Asia, find rabbits to be cute and keep them as pets. However, in Australia rabbits are considered as pests cause they breed quickly in the wild and destroy the environment. It is actually a terrible mistake made by the first Eurpoean settlers.

For those who wants to try kangaroo meat in a restaurant in Australia. It is not wildly on menus (Aussie loves steaks) as you may think so better do some searching before you come down under. If you are being adventurous, although they are not common, you can find camel, crocodile, emu and possum meat in some butcher shops here. Why not try some true Aussie barbeques?

1 ( +2 / -1 )

'If it's part of the religion then they have a right to do it if it's only 2 frogs.'

In civilized, secular countries nobody should be allowed to act barbarically towards animals. Religion shouldn't be used as an excuse for barbarism.

'Plus its in room closed off from the public, what gives these people the right to order people around when they have been doing this for 1,000 years'

Who cares where it is? Barbarism is barbarism whether you close the curtains or not. As for 1,000 years, the French used to incinerate netfuls of cats for entertainment and men of science used to slice open the chests of living dogs to display a beating heart and blood circulation for a brief moment. These people didn't understand that dogs and cats had nervous systems similar to our own and were capable of physical and mental agony. They assumed it was just a reflex motion.

People living a few centuries ago, religious or not, were far less barbaric in that they killed these creatures in complete ignorance. People continuing to behave like savages with this knowledge open to all are something far worse.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

"...That was a huge offense to the gods.” My gods don't care about your gods.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

This moronic article by an eleventh rate writer is written to ridicule animal rights activists. What he does instead, in spite of the ridicule, is to reveal some incredibly disgusting Japanese "traditions" that would be unlawful where I come from. Cruelty to animals is disgusting. To hell with any religion and "traditions" that sanctions this.

Then toward the end this piece the writer brings up an irrelevant issue, hunting for food. The animal rights activists are not objecting to hunting. They are objecting to gratuitous cruelty. There is a difference. And that regards utility.

Okay, a confession. As a boy I hunted with my dad. When he gave me my spanking new Remington 30.06 he told me, "Shoot any animal you like as long as you are prepared to eat it." In short the killing of animals was not to be seen as entertainment. We mainly shot dear. We would not make trophies from the heads, not even the antlers. (The antlers went to a craftsman friend.) We always strove for a clean hunt but sometimes we only wounded the deer and had to follow it. I decided hunting was not for me when we came upon one wounded deer trailing its intestines. Dad, the more experienced hunter, finished him off.

You cannot speak lightly about hunting after cataloguing animal cruelty. Unlike the petty sadists described in this article, hunters who hunt for food love the animals they kill and agonize over their deaths. That is the difference between for-food hunters and frog impalers (and for that matter trophy hunters).

Finally, people who impale frogs end up impaling people.

-2 ( +4 / -6 )

@kabukilover An excellent post. Can I just ask about the sentence "Unlike the petty sadists described in this article, hunters who hunt for food love the animals they kill and agonize over their deaths".

Is that really true about those who hunt for food? Are you talking about people for whom hunting is necessary for survival? It's just that I've spoken to hunters who try to hit squirrels as target practice.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

"Rabid" because they want to protect animals who are being needlessly harmed? What's crazy is thinking that harming animals is sacred or entertaining or deserving of protection. If the activists were advocating for the protection of humans from unjustifiable harm they would be praised. Like human victims, our fellow sentient animals who the activists stand up for also suffer terror and pain. They deserve respect and protection, and the activists should be praised for protecting them, too.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

Ah, "It's tradition," the clarion-call people who are afraid of change but who can't actually be bothered to think of a reason to maintain the status quo.

I do so love it when someone tries to write a political hack-job piece to sway me to their side, only they write it so ineptly that it gives me sympathy for the side they're trying to denigrate.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

Jimizo. Thanks. Food hunters especially I think are modest sorts who do not kill creatures garuitously. One reason is once you kill something it is yours. You have to haul it. Subsistence hunters, like the Native walrus hunters in isolated communities in Alaska are very much in tune with nature out of necessity. Right now global warming is causing problems for them, walrus herds are moving away and out of reach.

Look food hunters are not all angels. There are some basic ethics you have to observe not only for nature's but for survival. There are hunters who are idiots of course who end up shooting each other.

Unfotrtunety a lot those people oppose reasonable gun control.

At least they do not torture frogs out of tradition.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

And there was this woman, yelling “Stop that!’ and ‘Don’t kill frogs!’ She was pushing so hard she slipped and fell into the river. That was a huge offense to the gods.”

Hilarious.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

This may very well be the dumbest thing I have ever read.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Um Taiji?! You're more worried about a few frogs but not about hundreds of dolphins? Or maybe they do. Anyone know?

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Rabid? Hardly the right word to use. Over-enthusiastic, certainly

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

This is how bullies are made through creepy traditions. First you learn to abuse animals and then you abuse people.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Whose rabid the hunters or concerned citizens?

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

First abuse animals, then abuse people. That is pseudo logic. Are the hunters in a hunter-gather society pedophiles? First work on human relations to each other. Start there, other behaviors will fall in place. The hunter does not enjoy the animal's suffering and want to make a clean kill. If a person likes to see animal suffering, check the parents who raised that person. Was that child a wanted and loved child with parents who demonstrated the good things in human nature?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Is that really true about those who hunt for food? Are you talking about people for whom hunting is necessary for survival? It's just that I've spoken to hunters who try to hit squirrels as target practice.

@Jizimo, I wouldn't say agonize over them but I sure don't like letting it suffer more than it already is. The other natural predators don't care how long it takes for their prey to die as they slowly choke it to death with their fangs in its neck or start chewing away at it while its still alive. Those hunters shooting at squirrels for practice are ***holes. Personally I don't go fishing unless I want to eat the fish I catch. Same goes with hunting. Not a fan at all for trophy hunting.

Yeesh, impaling frogs and dog fighting too? It's all completely unnecessary and useless.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Tradition is never an excuse for anything.

Anyone who excepts tradition without questioning its worth should not be involved in tradition in any way.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

I think people should let go of old customs which are no longer suitable for the new generation. Imagine some very cruel festivals from the dark ages in Europe, like "a burning man" for example, which would still be here if human rights activists had no say in the matter. The language used in the article is disconsiderate towards the animal rights activists, which tells me that perhaps the writer might actually enjoy the abuse of the poor creatures s/he writes about. So sad!

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Female genital mutilation is traditional in some cultures, you don't see many people defending it. Footbinding in China is another great tradition. Woman were burnt as witches in Europe, certainly traditional at the time. People, I use the term loosely, hunt foxes in my country for fun; badger baiting, dog fighting and other sports were considered great. Traditions should be judged on their on merits, slavishly supporting them is mindless. Every culture has plenty of examples of cruel practices, hopefully as time passes every culture will have a lot fewer.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Me Mishina needs to take a long hard look at animal cruelty in Japan Spearing snakes and biting the heads off chickens is just the tip of the iceberg....

1 ( +1 / -0 )

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