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Dolphin-hunting town begins annual pursuit

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47 Comments
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People gotta eat.

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People gotta get mercury poisoning. Wait a second...

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Just wanna ask, what did they return empty handed without? Am I missing something here...

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The extremely high mercury levels in the meat is fact, not simply what critics say. How they can sell such meat to people is beyond me.

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les batardes!

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About two dozen fishermen who left early in the morning returned empty-handed

Good.

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Gotta love the self-justified defensive overtone of this article.

"because he doesn’t trust the foreign press."

"have hunted dolphins for centuries"

"portrayed the fishermen as rough goons"

Also got to love the blatant lies in the article:

" though it is rarely eaten in most of Japan."

Only because it is labeled as whale meat before it is distributed to supermarkets across the country.

"The dolphins killed are not endangered, and the hunts are regulated by the national Fisheries Agency."

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If the mercury levels in the meat are so high (like we always here and read) why hasn't the J Government banned the sale and consumption of it?

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Disillusioned, I think stating that whale meat is sold or eaten by most Japanese people across the country would be incorrect. I've yet to see it being sold in a supermarket where I live and everyone I talk to do not eat it. Where can I find some?

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why hasn't the J Government banned the sale and consumption of it?

Because it's a tradition! We can't just ban traditions! ... actually, I don't know. But pretty much any major health organization in any other country advises against eating dolphin meat at all, which counts for something.

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Yes, bicultural. I agree with you. Every time I visit my supermarket I check if they have whale meat. Maybe once a month I see 2 packages of whale meat among an abundance of other seafood. But hey, for posters like Disillusioned this a perfect topic to spit on Japan again.

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bicultural: "I've yet to see it being sold in a supermarket where I live and everyone I talk to do not eat it. Where can I find some?"

Again, you can often find it labeled as 'whale'. I've seen it in supermarkets in the greater Osaka area, although it looked like it wasn't selling.

"If the mercury levels in the meat are so high (like we always here and read) why hasn't the J Government banned the sale and consumption of it?"

Good question. It took this kind of documentary for Japanese scientists (via the mayor in Taiji) to look into it, and ONLY then did they stop putting it in lunches for kids. Bottom line is that it's a business, and it's ALWAYS better to leave later governments to clean up the messes they could have avoided with a little effort. What's amazing is that instead of making people more aware of it, up until this documentary was made (and maybe still), the government helped PUSH it on people -- even pregnant women!!

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is dolphin sashimi good?

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bicultural-Whale meat had been sold in supermarket across the country until 1986. But, according to "Catch a Wave" (27 May, 2005),

whale fishing for commercial purposes was largely suspended by the International Whaling Commission (IWC) in 1986, and whale meat gradually disappeared from Japanese meals. As for the mercury levels, it is the same for all other fish/sea animals, including tuna. Japanese gov't has certin guidline for the maximum consumption per day, especially for pregnant women or children.

Dolphin hunting is one of Japanese tradition and people in Solomon Islands are also hunting dolphins.

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biculture-Even my local supermarket which is in the sticks sells whale meat and shark meat. I prefer whale meat though. Poor dolphins don't have it easy but so do many other species. We are living in a hunters world.

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Go Japan!

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sugamosumo - is dolphin sashimi good?

Oh, yes! Lightly seasoned with fresh mercury. It's delicious!

bicultural and roomtemperature - You two need to get out more. Just because your pissy little corner store doesn't sell it doesn't mean it not available. Go to any of the large izakaya chains and ask for whale meat and nine times out of ten you will get dolphin meat. There is no distinction made between the two and because of Sea Shepherd's persistence the supply of 'true' whale meat has dwindled and is being supplemented with dolphin meat. And, BTW, I am not spitting on Japan, but a spade is a spade as much as a lie is a lie!

Foxie - Are you sure you are actually getting whale meat? It is more likely to be dolphin at a local supermarket.
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@bicultural. You can buy whale meat (canned) in the supermarket of Corridor, meryll lynch building Nihonbashi. Rear far right corner. That is just one place I know off hand.

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Disillusioned- That's what it says on the package, anyway I should take some samples and have it checked. Hopefully you are right and I can sue them.

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Good luck fishermen, here's to a bumper season!

Hopefully there won't be too much disruption from the headline-hunting protesters.

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way to piss off the world Japan... and for what.... nasty tasting, mercury poisoned bambie meat.

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Someone says, "Don't kill dolphins because they have high IQ." Well, but I have a question. Why do dolphins come back to the sea of Taiji at the same time each year even though they know they will be killed? Dolphins don't have learning ability?

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I just hope they share the same faith with the dolphins they slaughter.

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Well, but I have a question. Why do dolphins come back to the sea of Taiji at the same time each year even though they know they will be killed? Dolphins don't have learning ability?

Maybe you equate a high IQ with the ability to communicate with the dead? Or do you imagine it's the same pod of dolphins that gets slaughtered every time?

Dead men (and dolphins) don't tell tales.

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TAMAGAWABOAT- They have no time to learn since they got slaughetred. ;-)

I have seen whale meet only 3 times (sushi bar & supermarket) in my 7 years here and I go to supermarkets/restaurants often. It is clearly not a part of japanese diet. (except some coastal towns like Taiji, maybe...)

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This tradition won't last much longer because there will be no food for dolphins and the filthy ocean will kill them before the Japanese can harvest their poisonous carcasses. We are all to blame for that, not just the Japanese. starving whales are washing up on coastlines around the the world. The ocean has been raped,pillaged, and dumped on.but once the current ice age ends, the ocean will get it's revenge.

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By the way, if dolphin meat would be labeled as whale meat....people at supermarkets could tell, right?

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Regarding whale meat, for 20 years I have asked around to Japanese people about eating it, as well as looked for it in the supermarket. Most of the younger Japanese have never had it. Those in their 40s (my generation) used to get it in their school meals, but once they left junior high school, they never ate it. Nobody I knows eats it now.

I have only found whale meat in all the supermarkets I have frequented over the past 20 years a few times at most. I have even purchased it and eaten it once. I didn't like the taste; it reminds me of "deer" as in it has a "wild" taste that I do not like (as opposed to elk or moose which is delicious).

We do have to ask a few logical questions about the whaling (dolphining?) industry in Japan, though. I haven't confirmed, but I have heard that the whales that are killed and not used for research must be consumed. If they don't go into pet food (most pet food comes from China now - recall the melamine issue that killed thousands of pets... grrr) and we cannot find them easily in the supermarkets, where does all the meat go? It is not realistic to imagine that the locals gorge themselves on dolphin or whale meat... so where is it? Perhaps it is all stored where they stockpile the rice they import from other countries but refuse to put into the Japanese market as it will lower the price of rice, and put the local farmers out of business...

I prefer eating bear, or horse to whale.

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Dolphin hunting is a Taiji culture. They would surely hunt them for next hundreds of years. That is understandable.

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"The dolphins killed are not endangered" No, they are just speared to death in a grossly barbaric way. Another example of Japan giving its fingers to the world. Taiji "culture" is barbaric in the eyes of the civilised world.

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if dolphin meat would be labeled as whale meat....people at supermarkets could tell, right?

How?

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Cleo:

"How?"

Well, dolphin meat isn't whale meat. Like pork isn't beef.

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sugamosumo said: is dolphin sashimi good?

I don't why you ask, but if you want to eat it, be sure to ask for extra "quicksilver" sauce. You will deserve it, so treat yourself.

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Someone says, "Don't kill dolphins because they have high IQ." Well, but I have a question. Why do dolphins come back to the sea of Taiji at the same time each year even though they know they will be killed? Dolphins don't have learning ability?

I mean, its not like a dolphin survivor managed to escape the clutches of death to warn other dolphins not to tread near Taiji as surely certain death awaits them. I'd like to see these fishermen try and snag a couple of Killer whales. Would love to see who would win in that struggle. Methinks, I already know.

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Regarding whale meat, for 20 years I have asked around to Japanese people about eating it, as well as looked for it in the supermarket. Most of the younger Japanese have never had it. Those in their 40s (my generation) used to get it in their school meals, but once they left junior high school, they never ate it. Nobody I knows eats it now.

the urban-rural divide must be wider than I thought - the only time I can`t buy whale at my local is when they are sold out, and the majority of the people I know look forward to the chance to partake.

One thing I have noticed, though - some people have told me they don`t like it, only to change their story when they know I am not likely to start lecturing them on why whales are better than people.

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I think dolphin meat is gross. But in the end. I don't think people from other cultures should lecture people from other culture on what food people can eat. To each his own.

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They should show re-runs of Flipper in the movie theatre in Taiji.

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dolphin meat isn't whale meat. Like pork isn't beef.

You can tell the difference between pork and beef by just looking at it, just as you can tell the difference between a cow and a pig. Not so between dolphin and whale; even the experts need to rely on DNA testing. Names don't help much, either. A killer whale is a dolphin; so is the pygmy killer whale, the false killer whale and the pilot whale. Many of the beaked whales look like dolphins.

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Most people I've talked to under 40 haven't eaten whale. Most over 40 ate it in school and dislike it (there's a couple who were indifferent). I've met approximately one guy who liked it, and he was one of those "COVE SUX!! JAPAN IS VICTIM!!" types, loudly questioning my accumulated anecdotes and insisting that I couldn't have spoken to anyone middle-aged because people of HIS generation all liked it.

Thank goodness a similarly aged lady in the lesson set him straight that she didn't like it either and didn't know anyone who did.

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(Yawn) They've been told that the meat has high levels of mercury, yet they continue to consume it. In a few generations this problem will resolve itself when the town's population dwindles due to mercury poisoning. Move along people... ...nothing to see here. Dead Town Walking!

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Almost all people eat some kind of meats. Some people eat dolphins and some people don't. As long as we eat some meats, you can't say they can't eat dolphins if they think they are food for their daily life. I don't think they are barbaric. That is their life.

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The only question I have about this is, are the dolphins endangered? If not, then who cares? Methinks too many people have been rotting their brains with reruns of flipper, and free willy. They're animals. Thats it. No different then eating tuna, or beef. So long as the species isn't endangered, I see no reason why this hunting should be condemned.

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cleo at 09:54 PM JST - 1st September "dolphin meat isn't whale meat. Like pork isn't beef." You can tell the difference between pork and beef by just looking at it, >just as you can tell the difference between a cow and a pig. Not so >between dolphin and whale; even the experts need to rely on DNA testing. >Names don't help much, either. A killer whale is a dolphin; so is the >pygmy killer whale, the false killer whale and the pilot whale. Many of >the beaked whales look like dolphins.

I disagree that you can't tell the difference. I have seen both and whale meat looks very red like beef whereas "dolphin" or "porpoise" meat looks pink and is more transparent. But I fully agree that the names are the first cause of confusion, a Pilot Whale or Killer Whale or White Whale (Beluga)isn't really a whale, it's member of the dolphin/porpoise group. And with many species yes, a DNA test would be needed to accurately identify the meat source. I am under the impression that pilot whale meat more closer to real whale meat in appearance than dolphin/porpose meat. In which case one could, and some do, argue that the two are indistinguishable.

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Cleo, thanks for the explanation. That's exactly what I wanted to hear.

"Not so between dolphin and whale; even the experts need to rely on DNA testing."

But it seems some so-called "experts" here on JT know for sure dolphin meat is distributed across the country as whale meat or they just "SAW" it in the greater Osaka area WITHOUT DNA testing.

I'm totally against the useless brutal slaughter of these animals, but some posters here think they know everything better for the sake of being against Japan or pretending to be an oracle on this website.

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Isn't mahi mahi a dolphin? Why discriminate on the types of dolphin a human can eat.. because of the TV show "flipper"?

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Isn't mahi mahi a dolphin? Why discriminate on the types of dolphin a human can eat.. because of the TV show "flipper"?

No, it's not. The Mahi Mahi-Hawaiian or Coryphaena hippurus is also known as the Dolphin fish, but has absolutely No relationship to the mammalian Dolphin. Not the same thing, not the same animal.

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Yummy.

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