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'The Cove' puts Japanese fishermen everywhere on the defense

89 Comments
By Miles Edelsten

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As soon as the fishermen saw my TV camera, one ran at me, yelling “No!” and pushing me out of the building. Another smeared his rubber fish gutting glove across my lens, while a third threw snow at me with a shovel.

Different than people living in Amazon Jungle would react to... ?

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As soon as the fishermen saw my TV camera, one ran at me, yelling “No!” and pushing me out of the building. Another smeared his rubber fish gutting glove across my lens, while a third threw snow at me with a shovel.

Not like that's assault or anything. Japan's finest as usual look the other way.

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And Japan's ugly side shows itself again.

living in Japan is like having a girlfriend: they love compliments and hearing how special they are, but say anything critical and watch them get all upset and spiteful.

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when will japanese learn that criticising japan is not necessarily japan bashing?...they are two different things...

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Oh come on guys - have any of you seen "the cove?"

I dont blame these guys for being on the defense - the movie was completely and utterly one sided, and If i was them I would be sceptical too.

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I think The Cove only won the aware because there were no good entries in the Documentary category this year. How else could biased one-sided propaganda win an award like that in Uhmerica?

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Oh come on guys - have any of you seen "the cove?"

I dont blame these guys for being on the defense - the movie was completely and utterly one sided, and If i was them I would be sceptical too.

I agree. As a dolphin lover (and not in the eating aspect) I don;t agree with the killings in Taiji. However, when the whole world comes bashing down on your tradidtions, how could you not be sceptical of 'outside' interaction.

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Shufu

have any of you seen "the cove?...the movie was completely and utterly one sided.

I have seen it, and the movie was completely and utterly NOT one sided. The fishermen were those who decided not to allow cameras in there, and more "declined" any requests for interviews (by punching cameras and smearing lenses, while shouting loudly).

How would you then propose to make such a movie then?

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living in Japan is like having a girlfriend: they love compliments and hearing how special they are, but say anything critical and watch them get all upset and spiteful.

...add Japanese spouses to make that list comprehensive.

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what did this guy expect a welcoming party ??

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Good to see that the police have nothing better to do than harass journalists.

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The 758

The author was trespassing first; he was on the fishermens' property and inside their building without their permission. I'm sure he didn't call ahead and try to arrange access and interviews in advance because he knew that he would be turned down. Mr. Edelsten is an idiot if he expected any other reaction from the fishermen when he walked in there unexpectedly shouldering a video camera.

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"“Just don’t want you to do anything else that will cause trouble,” "

Words of wisdom that they should take to heart. If what they are doing is creating such a strong global reaction, maybe the cops should say the same thing to those catching whales.

As for one sided. Leaning on the "tradition" crutch does not work anymore. We all know that rituals exist world wide where cultures celebrate past practices without causing any harm. Dances replace dangerous or violent rites of passage, people have ceremonial hunts, others reenact tribal conflicts or sacrifices.

Humanity grows up on an endless cycle of change people. Bad practices are left behind and new better ones found to replace the gap. And culture is retained through ritual. Japan needs to learn this from her own cultures who still practice and celebrate Japan's Samurai and military culture without actually burning anyone's castle or hacking anyone with swords. I mean just look at sword laws that do not allow people to carry katana despite the tradition of once doing so.

Change and join the 21st century. Remember and preserve your heritage in a nondestructive manner.

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Doesn't this local reaction to a foreigner with a camera remind you of China? Well, on second thought China twenty years ago. Surprised they didn't arrest him for being a "public nuisance".

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Just wait! Very soon every fishing port in Japan will have "NO FOREIGNER'S" signs posted all around them to keep us out! Whole coastal villages might ban foreigners completely!

And yes, I have seen "The Cove" and the only reason it might seem one-sided is that only ONE SIDE managed to behave in a civilized manner and maintain their composure.

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Change and join the 21st century. Remember and preserve your heritage in a nondestructive manner.

But, who is defining the 21st century. Why is it that what is acceptable in your country must be changed in another country. I am not an advocate of what they do in Taiji, but I don't grasp the idea that other countries have the right to change another country's customs. And, I am not talking of only Japan. There are other countries that perform yearly killings of other animals in which I am not an advocate of either. But I do respect thier rights in performing what they do according to 'thier' customs, beliefs, or heritage. If I had my one way, I'd goto Taiji or these other countries and voice my opinions that the killings must stop. However, I would never force them to stop, nor would I critisize or bash the cultures for doing so.

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Leaning on the "tradition" crutch does not work anymore. Hear hear. It is time for Westerners to stop leaning on their tradition cruch and stop attempting to impose their views of what is right or not right to kill on others.

Humanity grows up Hopefully it grows up, but hopefully it does not grow more Western, or blind to its own culture.

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@ ebisen -

The very FACT they showed the fishermen doing this is complete evidence of how one sided the documentary was. By doing this, the editor has already made the small town fisherman into the "bad guy" and created a bias. If he had done it properly, arranged interviews etc, Im 100% convinced that this movie would not even be in the Oscar line up, let alone a winner. I mean, if the fisherman had a chance to put their views across, it would be be just another documentary which people would rule down to "cultural differences".

In a movie like this, I am always more interested in what they don't show than what they do.

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Ths is the amazing thing to me: this is such a prized, venerable aspect of culture, but it has to remain secret, hidden away from not only foreign barbarians who could not hope to understand our unique way of life, but also from other Japanese people.

It must be kept secret. Nobody must know. It is culture. Don't ask questions. Ask questions and you are a Japan-basher. Remain ignorant of what we do, or you will make us look bad. YOU will make is look bad. What we do will not make us look bad, only your knowledge of what we do.

Try applying that logic to any other aspect of life, and it would be indefensible.

But when We Japanese use precisely the same argument, it's magically valid.

Nope.

If there's nothing to be ashamed of, let's talk about it. If you want to hide it away, why?

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Sorry Japan, but if you expect to manufacture and sell first class products, and continually beg for a permanent seat on the UN security council, and fire your chief of tourism for not hitting your tourist quota's, you gotta expect some scrutiny and judgment for things that aren't accepted in other G7 (G8?) Countries.

You can't expect to be a first world country on one hand, but get angry when people question your 500 year old "culture" on the other.

Right or wrong, that's just the way it is. And if they put up "no foreigner" signs on fishing villages, that too will receive international disdain.

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Do you hold the same opinion with regard to FGM, 'honor' killings, acid splashed in the faces of wives wanting a divorce, children mutilated at birth to make them more effective beggars, or the now-defunct (because foreigners objected) foot-finding and throwing of widows onto funeral pyres? How about slavery?

I knew this would come up. Now you're getting into criminal catagories here. There are no countries that let these types of human rights violations go without criminal reprocussion...if cought or followed thrugh with. There are also no laws that I know of that protect dolphins or the right way to kill these mammals. If there are, please let me know.

I never said that it was terrible to interfere with anothers culture. What said was, what gives anybody the right to enforce 'thier' culteres on another if what they are doing is within the law?

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If it's legal to do it, continue doing it. If it's a great cultural tradition, let's have a look at it. Not interfering, just opening up this nasty little secret so the japanese can decide if they want to continue with it.

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One sided because the fisherman hate foreigners now.

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Can anyone tell me if dolphins are on an endangered species list? Or is it simply that people find these things cute and don't want to see them killed?

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wontond:

we're not here to do your internet search for you

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The issue isn't whether or not they kill dolphins, it's whether they are killing endangered or threatened species. If these species aren't given protected status - then what are you wasting time for? Any time we kill something for meat - it's not going to be pretty.

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Gurukun -

Foot-binding, suttee and FGM were all legal, time-honoured traditions until the foreigners came in, kicked up a fuss and agitated until they were made illegal. In many African countries FGM was not made illegal until the 1990s - yesterday, in cultural/traditional terms. In Egypt no law regarding it was passed until 2007, and 95% of Egyptian women are thought to have been circumcised.

Slavery was once legal, too.

When something is seen to be wrong, in the past the colonialists simply passed a law from on high; today you first let people know about the problem, then you get them to understand that it's wrong if it isn't bloomin' obvious in the first place, then you get them to outlaw it. Films like The Cove are the first step.

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cleo- That is because these are human rights issues. The crimes that you are mentioning were also pushed by those humans that had thier human rights taken away from them. Until I see dolphins getting signatures and demanding that thier rights be upholded and ask for international support, I still dont see how other countries can justify a country to changes thier customs. And please remember, I adore dolphins, dogs, cats, cute baby seals, but I also respect the different cultures, races, countries and deversity of our world...as long as it falls within the international and local laws of that country.

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95% of Egyptian women are thought to have been circumcised.

There are cultures when the men just know better in how do get the job done the difficult way.

Anyway to summarise, I hate your race for treating an animal I love as food while I proceed to offend Hindus and probably redicule their beliefs while I have tea.

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When something is seen to be wrong, in the past the colonialists simply passed a law from on high; today you first let people know about the problem, then you get them to understand that it's wrong if it isn't bloomin' obvious in the first place, then you get them to outlaw it. Films like The Cove are the first step.

Hear! Hear! Couldn't have said it better myself.

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Sorry, I don't think I quoted that last post properly.

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When something is seen to be wrong, in the past the colonialists simply passed a law from on high; today you first let people know about the problem, then you get them to understand that it's wrong if it isn't bloomin' obvious in the first place, then you get them to outlaw it. Films like The Cove are the first step.

I'm sorry but most modern rational people unlike religious conservatives of the old times need 'reason' why an act must be outlawed. "Thou shalt not eat dolphins for they art cute" just doesn't cut it, though it might work for traditional Catholics,Hindus, Arabs and Jews.

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I'm sorry but most modern rational people unlike religious conservatives of the old times need 'reason' why an act must be outlawed.

If you're searching for reasons, perhaps seeing the film is a good place to start.

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Japanese fishermen: But it's our tradition.

Rest of world: But there will be no fish anymore.

Japanese fishermen: But it's our tradition.

repeat...

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stereoman, everyone gets defensive when you criticize their country. I have split my life between Japan and America. Both countries are proud of their culture, products, etc. When I point something out that I can see because of my experience, it is met with disapproval if it is the least bit critical. I have learned to keep my mouth shut in both countries, lest I make enemies. People posting here need to learn that imposing your views is not the best way to go about doing this.

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That is because these are human rights issues.

how about the right to eat untainted food? How about the right of a consumer to know what they are buying? How about the right of the populace to be informed about the dangers of certain food products? Do you consider any of these "human rights?"

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How about a reason to search for reasons? If it is just that dolphins are cute, then that does not work for me.

But because I find the tone here so partonising I saught a reason...

timtak,

I agree that cuteness is not a valid reason for anything except buying kids toys, but I can only suggest that you watch the film as you examine the pros and cons of the issue, rather than dismiss any possible evidence without seeing it. I understand how people in favour of the slaughter feel patronised- posters from both sides of this issue can be quite patronising and inflammatory at times. I believe however, that we have a duty to examine both sides of the issue to form our own beliefs, regardless of those types of distractions.

As for a reason to search for reasons, I can't help you there. Either investigate and decide, or don't. I don't believe that the two issues are mutually exclusive though, in fact I'm sure you'd find a great deal of support in environmental circles.

No suprises. Not news.

I think many people have been surprised by the film, and it does seem to be news, so I have to disagree with you here.

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how about the right to eat untainted food? How about the right of a consumer to know what they are buying? How about the right of the populace to be informed about the dangers of certain food products? Do you consider any of these "human rights?"

I was waiting for this issue to come up too. No, I do not approve of the sale of the "tainted" food. But when I when I read the article again and again, there was never anything mentioned about what was 'in' the dolphins. I am addressing the killing of dolphins in Taiji (as well as other countries) and thier right as a culture. The mercury is another issue. But to answer your question, back in the day, most likely the fisherman of Taiji had no reason to test the dolphin meat for high levels of anything. But now that the Japanese know, it will be thier decision to eat it, not eat it, buy it or not buy it and to label it as such. That still doesn't give the "outsiders" the right to force feed what is right on another country by thier own standards.

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“Just don’t want you to do anything else that will cause trouble,” one of the detectives said in parting.

Perfect, the world now knows how to get to them. Cause "trouble" by showing the world what a regular day looks like.

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WHy not just solve the problem in the traditional way? Manipulate finance in such a way as to force Japan to turn to the WOrld Bank or the IMF for help, which is given on condition that they institute "reforms" that allow multinational corporations to buy control of their industries, leading to control of their media, leading to suppression of the issue, and out of sight, out of mind. It works with logging rainforests, etc. It might be a little difficult to bankrupt Japan, but nothing ventured, nothing gained.

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bamboohat,

you gotta expect some scrutiny and judgment for things that aren't accepted in other G7 (G8?) Countries.

3 out of 7 (4 out of 8) of these countries hunt whales. So not sure what you are referring to.

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Richardson - are you serious?

You would financially cripple Japan of the deaths of a few dolphins? For you the rights of those dolphins are more of a priority than the millions of people who would be affected if Japan was indeed "bankrupted?" I would hope that if Japan was every treated this way, it would be as a last resort.

Goodness me, dolphins are not an endangered species list, someone above mentioned the "cute and cuddly" aspect, and I think thats exactly the problem. No one gives a crap about Octopus (which on average are as intelligent as dogs.)

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I think it is not so much the killing of the dolphins but the manner of their killing that is the main issue here.

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back in the day, most likely the fisherman of Taiji had no reason to test the dolphin meat for high levels of anything. But now that the Japanese know, it will be thier decision to eat it, not eat it, buy it or not buy it and to label it as such.

And tell us, how are the people supposed to know and decide?

How will you know that when you buy a box that says "whale meat" you're not actually buying toxic, full-of-lead dolphin meat? Are you going to be happy feeding mystery "whale" meat to your children? I don't know about you, but most people care to know that what they think they are buying is really what they are buying --and that it's not going to poison them.

Thus, clearly you didn't watch The Cove. Otherwise you would've seen how dolphin meat loaded with lead is sold in markets as whale meat. And that that same meat was going to be fed to children. But of course, any foreigner who dares to highlight that fact is just force-feeding their alien values on the locals right?

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foxtail-I'm not understanding your question/s or exactly what you are trying to refer to. And to answer one your question if I have seen The Cove? No, I have not. However, As I adore dolphins, I was aware of the killings in Taiji many years back. But as I stated in my earlier post, the toxicity of the meat, what they mix the dolphin meat with, etc., is a whole different discussion.

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As I adore dolphins, I was aware of the killings in Taiji many years back. But as I stated in my earlier post, the toxicity of the meat, what they mix the dolphin meat with, etc., is a whole different discussion.

can't follow your logic here, could you explain how these issues are not related? Although the culture/tradition card is constantly being played by the Taiji city officials and fisherman, this really is about money. If it were strictly about food culture, maybe 100 dolphins a year would be killed. That would be sufficient to feed the folks that eat it, and I thnk many more would except that explanation.

But now that the Japanese know, it will be thier decision to eat it, not eat it, buy it or not buy it and to label it as such.

I'm with you here. It's because of this film that dolphin meat was removed from school lunches in Taiji, by the folks in Taiji themselves. But do you see the hypocrisy of not wanting their own children to eat it but wanting to sell it mislabeled to others? Again, this is not only a cultural issue, and the film is much more than an animal rights screed.

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It is clear the reporter risked life and limb bringing us this article. I admire his courage greatly facing all of those unexpectedly angry local folk.

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I am waiting for the food and safety people to pull this crap from the market. I mean the go ape-crazy over mislabeling of beef, especially if it is foreign. Toxic food from China. OMG! But, if it is from Japanese fishermen, and has a high level of lead in it, its OK. Just waiting!

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IMHO I'd rather maintain a balanced view of Taiji and whaling.

What's at play here is the marketing value of conservation vs culture & tradition.

So I agree with Kobekid that it's about money.

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It's time to move on, and for these towns to find a new source of livelihood.

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@ninjaninaritai

3 out of 7 (4 out of 8) of these countries hunt whales. So not sure what you are referring to.

I was referring to this article, which is about hunting dolphins. How many of the G8 countries hunt dolphins?

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Quote Unexpectedly angry local folk?

That&s weird on many levels. How unexpected? Their way of life, identity, job, craft, existence is belittled and put down by foreigners who get an Oscar and then international recoginition. And these are small town ppl who work hard braving the elements to do wat they do and live their life. Braving and living at the mercy of the elements is good enough, but now they have the pressure of the world looking at them and judging them without trying to get to know them, and probably the pressure of the rest of Japan, which is being judged on the basis of those villages. Like, duh. Think about what&s really going here and the ppl involved.

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I see why these fishermen are scared of reporters. It is funny!

The Director of "the Cove" was part of sting operation in California last week. The chef of a Sushi restaurant chain called Hump (Japanese owned) was arrested for serving an endangered species of whale. They have film, audio and whale evidence. The penalty is a guaranteed 1 year in jail and $200,000 fine.

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The staff, chef and owners at the restaurant knew the whale species was endangered and illegal.

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I wonder if after the announcement of the Cove winning, the fishermen of Taiji went into a frenzy and repeatedly grunted, stabbed and slashed at anything in their path, with whatever was in their hand at the time (i.e, chopsticks, bento, meiji chocolate, etc) for a good 5 minutes...

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This type of finger-pointing reporting is getting tedious, predictable and smacks of hypocrisy.

Picking on the little guys abroad like in this piece who have been farming the seas sustainably for generations and trying to goad them into making a comment is pathetic.

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Soochi,

Picking on the little guys abroad like in this piece who have been farming the seas sustainably for generations and trying to goad them into making a comment is pathetic.

You should read my other post. They just did it to another company in the US (California) selling endangered species whale meat at their restaurant last week. The company, staff and chef knows the animal is endangered. This is a Japanese owned restaurant chain.

Where is the picking on the little guys in this situation?

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The whole situation reminds me of that Oscar Wilde quote about fox hunting. 'The unspeakable in pursuit of the inedible'.

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Sustenance harvesting I can understand, but that's not what's happening here.

Harvesting porpoise simply because it "perpetuates a culture" I can't understand. Harvesting porpoise because it is your "livelihood" doesn't wash because there are plenty of other things you can get out of the ocean to sell besides porpoise.

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Fadamor, You could remove the word "porpoise" from your final sentence and replace it with any other sea insect, mammal or vegetable. Why do you value porpoises so highly over any other sea organisms?

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@ shufu - Just because I used "porpoise" here doesn't mean I think they are the only ones worth protecting. They ARE, however, the ones being targeted by these "fisherman" who don't catch fish.

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from the EIA web site

However the biggest market for Dall’s porpoises lies in the south of Japan, particularly in the Shizuoka and Kyushu areas. EIA investigators have been told by courier companies transporting Dall’s porpoises to southern Japan that the meat is sold “all over Japan as minke meat”. According to a worker at the company: “It’s no big secret, everyone in the industry knows this”. These findings have been backed by independent DNA analyses. Mislabelling is a direct infringement of Japanese law, but enforcement is non-existent.

http://www.eia-international.org/cgi/news/news.cgi?t=template&a=583&source=

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The great thing about this sort of journalism is it lets us forget our own sins that are thousands of times greater and point our fingers at a whole country for what a few of its citizens do.

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How can the Japanese police order people to stop filming? Is there a law in japan against taking pictures of the sea, and of fishermen? Is there no freedom for foreigners in this country? It seems like freedom for foreigners here is becoming less and less. I can`t wait to see The Cove to see what all the fuss is about. It seems to me that in this culture of shame, these fishermen have been shamed interntaionally, and they are just not happy about it. Tough, boys - welcome to the big world of globalization.

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momodaisuki said,

"The Director of "the Cove" was part of sting operation in California last week. The chef of a Sushi restaurant chain called Hump (Japanese owned) was arrested for serving an endangered species of whale. They have film, audio and whale evidence. The penalty is a guaranteed 1 year in jail and $200,000 fine. The staff, chef and owners at the restaurant knew the whale species was endangered and illegal."

That's news to me. I didn't know whales were an endanger species and it is illegal to serve whale meat.

Lenin said,

"It is clear the reporter risked life and limb bringing us this article. I admire his courage greatly facing all of those unexpectedly angry local folk."

I disagree. The reporter life is not at stake. The local don't trust the reporter because of "The Cove." The reporter is there to write any stories associated with the local and report it so people will buy their newspaper and increase ratings. There are stories that don't get any attention because it doesn't sell. Saving the cute mammals and animals in the wildlife sells news. Yes, picking on the local way of life is a better story. Plus, there are a lot of attention on Japan because of Toyota which will cause the media to write any stories that is associated with Japan will be noted as "news worthy."

I still wonder why "The Cove" won the Oscar for what reason(s). It is the right time and people who are not living in Japan is paying closer attention to anything related to Japan since 2010 began due to Toyota. At the same time, it is the wrong time and place to show this movie (won the oscar) and maybe the majority of the Japanese people will not take into account of the significant meaning about toxin dolphin meat due to Japan bashing that starts with Toyota by the media whether it has merits or not. Both movies "The Cove" and "Food Inc" are essentially about the same subject. Both American and Japanese consumers are not aware of the scenes behind the food on the table that they eat daily. Both movies talked about the government role or lack of role in governing the food that we eat. Both movies says that the food we eat are unhealthy for us. If the movie won later in the year I would probably feel differently. Things don't happen without a reason...

I think every posters here can agree that mercury dolphin meats is bad for your health. People should not eat toxin dolphin meats. The majority of people here also agree to stop hunting the dolphin because we favor the dolphins lives. I think majority of us can agree that there is a need to educate the Japanese people about toxin dolphin meats. The majority of people may agree that "The Cove" was the best way. I don't think the movie was the best way. The skeptic in me said otherwise. Subtlety is a better way to resolve a serious matter then in your face kind of things in Japanese culture I believe. Diplomacy should have been taken into consideration. If both subtlety and diplomacy were taken into account then there wouldn't be "the Cove" as the winner of the Oscar.

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This "my mass killing is better than your mass killing" hypocritical hogwash just does not wash because dolphins are cute, friendly and gentle. Dolphins are hardly unique in those respects.

Moderator: Readers, please stay on topic.

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It wasn’t always like this. Seven years ago when I was filming in Taiji, the villagers were generally more willing to talk. One diver who slits the dolphins’ throats offered to line up an interview with the fishermen’s cooperative chief—a request that was ultimately denied.

One rotten apple spoiled it for everyone.

It seemed that more than ever towns like Taiji and Ostuchi were closing ranks to protect traditions they feel are under threat.

Their way of life is under threat and they have a right to protect what they believed is right. Not saying that dolphin hunting is right and people eating unsuspecting toxin dolphin meats eating is okay. If the Taiji were educated about the dolphin as carrier of toxic and what happens when people consume the dolphin meats that have mercury in it then maybe the Taiji would more than likely stop dolphins hunting. The author of "The Cove" went ahead and started filming and broadcast to the whole world about how backward the Taiji are in the 21st Century. Therefore, all outsiders reporters have lost their trust by the local people.

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HeyLars,

The great thing about this sort of journalism is it lets us forget our own sins that are thousands of times greater and point our fingers at a whole country for what a few of its citizens do. This "my mass killing is better than your mass killing" hypocritical hogwash just does not wash because dolphins are cute, friendly and gentle. Dolphins are hardly unique in those respects.

I believe my rebuttal is to the article and not to you by any means. I may not agree with everyone on the BBS and you all the time but that's my opinion and likewise.

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Skipbeat wrote:

That's news to me. I didn't know whales were an endanger species and it is illegal to serve whale meat.

Are you being sarcastic? There are certain species of whale that are endangered. That is why they are illegal to hunt. That is why the chef was arrested. That is why "the Cove" director recently made news again.

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momodaisuki said,

Are you being sarcastic? There are certain species of whale that are endangered. That is why they are illegal to hunt. That is why the chef was arrested. That is why "the Cove" director recently made news again.

No, I was not being sarcastic.

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skipbeat said: I believe my rebuttal is to the article and not to you by any means. I may not agree with everyone on the BBS and you all the time but that's my opinion and likewise.

Did I mention something you said?

But I totally agree with your point that filming has caused fishermen problems so of course journalists are getting stiff-armed! It does not matter how legal or sanctioned that activity may be, you will be stopped from taking pictures if it causes the doers trouble.

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Can anyone point to me a film journalists showing the legal and actual slaughter of any animal that was taken with the permission of the person doing the slaughtering? What makes Japan different is that once upon a time they allowed it!

Moderator: This discussion is about how "The Cove" has put Japanese fishermen on the defensive, not how other animals are slaughtered. Stay on topic please.

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No, I was not being sarcastic.

Skipbeat,

I guess you learned something new about Whale species and "the Cove" director.

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Indeed, this is about how Japanese fishermen have been put on the defensive. I am just illustrating that no one advertises slaughter and that the defensive position is not at all unique to Japan. Of course some might say the difference is that dolphins and whales are hard to slaughter humanely, but humane slaughter has got to be one of the great oxymorons of this age! The Japanese are hardly unique in covering this stuff up and tossing out the reporters, so this round of hypocritical Japan bashing is falling really deaf on my ears!

And this from a guy who, if he started his own religion, the dolphin would be regarded as a something of a sacred animal because if their tendency to rescue drowning humans! I wish all people would see that, but same is same. Sorry to kill the story.

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here's a very interesting interview of Louis Psihoyos done by two Japanese at the premiere of "The Cove" in New York last year,

CFT: Did you have any dialogues with people who are involved in the hunting in Taiji?

LP: A lot of my discussion was with a curator at the Taiji Whale Museum. He is a young guy. He used to be an assistant curator at New Bedford Whaling Museum in America. And he's been very helpful and helped me to understand a lot of issues. But, he likes to say he is an anthropologist, he's always studying the historical study of whaling... I asked him, “Would you let your child eat dolphin meat?” He said he wouldn't. I said "Why not?" Then he said "We didn't believe you when you gave us the statistics. We thought maybe you are lying or exaggerating.” So I asked him "What's the change?" He answered "One Japanese media did the story about the mercury. So now we believe the statistics." (「Uncleared Suspicion about "The Use of Polluted Whale Meat in School Lunch" (1)」 September 5th, 2007 and 「Uncleared Suspicion about "The Use of Polluted Whale Meat in School Lunch" (2)」September 9th, 2007) So I said, "You thought we were lying seriously?" It took one of their own media for them to believe the story. For me it started to get into the mind-set. Okay it is really problem for Japanese people to trust or understand westerner's statistics.

Read the whole interview here,

http://ashitaenosentaku.org/people.html#english

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How can the Japanese police order people to stop filming? Is there a law in japan against taking pictures of the sea, and of fishermen?

They may or may not be. But there are definitely laws against harassment, which is the crime these "journalists" commit every time they disrupt the legal business of the fishermen.

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Hey Mr. USA,

still waiting for those links to back up your accusations of fabrication in the movie.

BTW, the Cove is located in a national park (kokuritsu koen) and it is the fisherman who have no jurisdiction over the property the are conducting their "legal business". Obviously you haven't seen the film.

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@momodaisuki,

Thanks for the link.

@KobeKid,

The problem with the movie in the larger picture is that it is okay to pick on an aspect of a culture because you disagree with the way they are doing things and showed it to the world. What happened to politeness and respect? In all cultures there are things that are right and are wrong. Cultures can change with the times but not over night. Because the movie is from a Westerner point of view it is attacking the fishermen livelihood even if it has merits. If the film makers spent a year living in Taiji partnering with a Japanese research team that specialize in studying about dolphin meats which have mercury then the movie would not be a big deal from the fishermen, Taiji, and the majority of the Japanese population because they have been informed about the problem of containmentation meat beforehand. The way the movie went about is wrong. Therefore, the results are going to be negative responses from the local. The movie should have been shown in Japan first before the rest of the world. The movie should have educated the majority of the Japanese people if that was the intent of it in the first place. I can't help that the purpose of the movie was to win an Oscar.

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skipbeat hasn't seen the movie either.

“I thought about how to approach people of importance to protect the oceans and the dolphins, which prompted me to decide to make this documentary. At that time, though I understood what Ric had described about the place and his complaint, we decided to visit Taiji-cho ourselves because I wanted to find out the reasons and stories behind why people in Taiji were persisting in these dolphin drives. In the beginning, we planned to have the script present both Ric’s side of the story and the fishermen’s side of the story to compare them. However, the people in Taiji refused to provide us with their half.

“Cinema is a powerful weapon. I simply wanted to start a debate by showing the film and offering close-up coverage of the dolphin hunting problems – such as the fact that dolphin meat is polluted with mercury and unsafe for human consumption.

“On the other hand, I also wanted to help the fishermen in Taiji. My feeling was that the fishermen in fact do not wish to see the dolphins suffering. I have a son who was also a fisherman, but he could not continue fishing any longer. The reason he gave it up was because of concerns that the big fish at the top of the food chain may contain excessive levels of mercury. Like my son, the fishermen in Taiji will have to find other work eventually. That was why I wanted to help them.”

from an interview with Louis Psihoyos by Shunkan Kinyobi http://suigin-iranai.jp/en/archives/639

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Either way it is just SO WRONG. How can you kill such majestic intelligent animals. I found watching the "cove" deeply disturbing. I never realised this was happening and I feel very strongly that something has to be done about this.

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How can you kill such majestic intelligent animals.

With nets and knives.

They're hardly majestic and not very intelligent either (not smart enough to avoid Taiji anyway).

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As for eating whale meat, why not??? And yes, dolphins are whales, so labelling the meat as such is not deceptive. Lamb is mutton, too. The parts of the movie I saw were indeed disturbing to me. But if I saw a film about slaughtering a cow I would feel the same. We like to live in denial. The film is a political tool being used to promulgate the social mores of one society. Hollywood bullying. It stinks of American self-righteousness.

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humans have been determined to be quite magnificent, majestic, intelligent creatures as well

You wouldn't think so from reading the newspapers.....

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One of the big issues here is the heavily controlled media in japan, the majority of the public are not aware their tax paying dollars are being used to subsidize whaling and the slaughter of dolphins.

But to uncover the veil of secrecy, brings the danger of being arrested.

Recently a high school teacher obtained one of the few copies of the movie in japanese and gained permission to show the film to students. Before the showing, he recieved threats by phone, but screened the movie anyway.

His students were horrified, mainly unaware of the situation and it certainly incited some lively debate. The very next day, he was required to answer calls for his job termination by an official coming from Taiji...a Mr. Maeda.

He luckily kept his job, but the incident shows the lenghts the government and fisheries agencies will go to to keep the slaughter a secret.

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I posted the comments made by those students after watching the Cove on an earlier thread, but since you've mentioned this here I'll repost,

I posted some of the comments on a different Cove thread and since they've been mentioned here I post them once more

"Dear Friends: I showed The Cove to my Japanese high school students at my high school in Osaka, Japan. To my knowledge, this is the first time Japanese teenagers have seen the film. I will share their reactions with you now. It was not easy to get permission to show the film, one of the few copies in existence with Japanese subtitles. There was considerable resistance at every step: co-workers, administration, and most of all, the rights’ holder in Japan who seemed afraid of a lawsuit from the dolphin hunters’ union. My high school fortunately chose to support students' education. The Cove was shown on March 5th, 2010, two days before the Academy Award ceremony. A reporter, camera crew filmed and encouraged discussion before and after the showing. The result of a short questionnaire is as follows. I have selected answers that show the variety of responses. Generally, the teenagers’ answers are interesting and well thought out. I feel blessed to have such students. The students write that they are motivated to suggest that their friends and family see the movie. Many noted that they felt shocked that dolphins are being hunted in Japan.

QUESTION 1: What will you tell your friends and family about the movie, The Cove? -I will tell them that we should watch this movie. -I know this movie might be a sad story, but it is worth seeing. -Some people in Taiji are insane...they are killing many dolphins and I assume that they don't feel anything. How can they kill dolphins? They must be dead inside. -Why do they kill dolphins in Taiji? They are our family. -Don't eat dolphins! -I will tell my friends and family to watch the movie, to see what is going on under our noses. -I’m going to tell them that they have to see the movie and I hope they think twice about dolphins. I know this movie might be a sad story but it’s worth seeing. QUESTION 2: What would you like to happen in Japan regarding issues in the movie? -I want to help in solving this problem. -Of course I want the Taiji people to stop killing dolphins. The Japanese government has to tell everyone what’s going on in Taiji. All citizens have the right to know this. Under no circumstances does the government have the right to cover up this problem. -I want everyone to protest this problem and the government to give an obvious way to solve this situation of killing so many dolphins. -After seeing the movie, I feel so sad, but something tells me that I should take action against the killing, -I would like no killing and for us to enjoy life with many animals. This is a good ending I think. -I would like (the hunters) to stop killing dolphins. Besides they can’t give food poisoned with mercury to people! -I want more people to know and face this fact happening in Japan. Then we can move more and more people to take action. QUESTION 3: What do you think and feel about the movie? -I felt so sad to see the movie. I can’t understand why they kill dolphins. -I really love dolphins and I want to keep dolphins from being captured. I also can’t understand why the police try to arrest the people who are trying to save lives. The people who try to kill dolphins are the one’s who should be placed under arrest. -I think the biggest problem is that there are not many people who know about this problem. -I’m angry. Dolphins are so kind, but people kill them. I can’t believe it. -If Japan wants to kill dolphins, they must show it to the world. -I really can’t believe it. I’m shocked. They are poisoning people for money and they don’t care! I think they are breaking the law for living creatures. How is it that they have the heart to make dolphins suffer? -I felt myself helpless because there are many people from other countries trying to solve this problem happening in Japan, while most Japanese who should do something about it, don’t know about it. -One world, one dream. Take our earth beautiful and keep every creature healthy. Let’s live peacefully. In the near future, I hope to show The Cove more in Japan. I am happy with the results of my first showing. I will know more about the mystery on Tuesday. Thank you for your interest in ending the dolphin hunt in Taijji. If there is anyway you think you might be able to help, please contact me. For the dolphins and for us, Steven Thompson Founder: Taiji Dolphin Action Group"

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KobeKid, your students brought tears to my eyes. It's good to see that most Japanese feel shocked, helpless, frustrated about this ugly problem. You should be proud of them!

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Sorry Kobe.

If you let a bunch of high school kids (anywhere in the world) see a film about any animal (farmed or not) slaughter, you're going to get the same reaction.

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If the Japanese nation wants to pull the cultural argument card then they would have no reason to sugar coat the industry by restricting the observations of the hunt. How about the lack of public knowledge? I strongly believe that most younger Japanese have no idea that dolphin was served up to them when they were in public school...

What about the science here? Isn't mercury still a problem? I remember as youngster outside Japan learning about Minamata disease. Honestly, they should really check that out.

High concentrations of mercury is recipe for disaster and deformity.

Once again, the public does not question their leaders, everybody just putting in time. I can hear the nation say: "Shoganai", it can't be helped.

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I wonder if the average Japanese citizen on the street is completely aware of what is being served up at schools. I taught as a JET and ate whale myself once upon a time. It could have been dolphin, not sure. It feel that if we are in agreement here then, there wouldn't be any contraversy. The facts speak for themselves.

The Japanese public need to know what they are eating and if it is safe, free of mercury. If the Japanese government is subsidizing the fisherman for this, the public should know and have a right to disagree. Not all Japanese are fond of whale meat anyway.

Why such an outcry? Could it be that the farmer and fisherman of Japan are worthy of a lot of rural votes, maybe?

Disention and discourse is part of this thing we call the democratic process. We should question our leaders, health officials and those we voted for, that is healthy. Society evolves and as such has the right to decide whether or not they want to continue a practice that may have been deemed cultural or not to one which is not.

Therefore, if the public wants to continue the practice of eating whale and dolphin, maybe the Japanese public should know the whole story and finally decide for themselves, have honest public discourse, not be duped into submission by the International Whaling Commission or pressured by a few disgruntled fisherman.

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