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Company uses whale meat vending machines to promote sales in JapanBy MARI YAMAGUCHI and KWIYEON HA YOKOHAMA
©2023 GPlusMedia Inc.
It's not part of Japanese culture if it is less than 80 years old. Sure there were smaller villages eatting it before that but not on a national scale.
It’s 1952 all over again!!! Yay
Utter disgust for Japans inability to stop senseless killing. It is just to try and proof a misplaced sense of stubbornness . Childish almost if it wasn’t so cruel.
Whalemeat from a vending machine. Kafka at its best.. or should I say worst.
I know Japan is struggling economically but I didn’t realise Japan was in such a bad state people need to resort to whale meat again ?
This is illegal under the international law as EEZ is international water. Japan has no rights to go hunt whales in its EEZ, only in its territorial water which is 12 nm from its coastline.
Well it is the third largest economy in the world, butter shortages, potato shortages, food costs skyrocketing it does makes sense to release offal that’s been in freezers for decades. I will worry when vending machines have packets of grass as a choice.
Awa no Gaijin
That's just a twisted outlook.
How to respect the life of an endangered sea creature by eating it ?
What the heck .
Awa no Gaijin
There's quite often minky whale meat available at grocery stores in Tokyo from iceland.
Not quite as unavailable as the article says !
Whale meat doesnt even taste that great. It may sell as a nostalgic type of item, but I have a hard time seeing the generation today eating as a "regular" food item.
They see whale meat as a means to make money and that is all. I have lived here in Japan about 22+ years and so far every Japanese person I have ever met says the same thing:
"I never ate and will never will eat a whale. I do not understand this concept. We in this day and age do not need to eat whale meat.
They are beautiful intelligent creations."
A heart-warming story of Japanese Late Stage Capitalism.
From what I know, whale meat is mainly eaten by the elderlies who have been used to.
The concern for this guy is just to keep his company and the industry alive, as it has been for decades
I don't care what anyone says,but this is meat that i still love and buy once a year. My grandparents love making some of the dishes for us during our childhood.
If those vending machines were in any other civilized country, they would be trashed.
the very reason why Japan is going nowhere but down the plug hole.
You want to sell whale meat? Making into beef jerky, promote it at snack bars.
Then it wouldn't be whale meat any more!
Whale has been a part of Japanese diet for centuries and, in this age of food shortages caused by global warming and war, may become an important source of protein. Britain is one of the anti-whaling countries but even the British people are whale meat during WW2 when their country’s sea lanes were blocked by the German U boats.
I find this to be very queer, the need to promote something so strongly that obviously is in small demand.
Not all whales are endangered. If the whale meat in question is NOT endangered then why can't it be eaten? Because you think its cute? Who gave the western middle class the right to decide the diets of the world?
The Gloucester Old spot is a very rare breed of pig. Should we stop eating pork to preserve it? Or just not eat the endangered species?
Amazing how people have such an issue with sustainable whale hunting-there’s around 1 million Minke Whales in the oceans. The Tuna population is nosediving because of over fishing and will most likely go extinct in my life time, if not my children’s life time yet nobody cares. Ridiculous.
Not even that Michael. Its just a typical rightwing knee jerk reaction from a bunch of jerks who don't even care about their own people's well being as whale meat is LOADED with mercury. Its not commercially viable as the average Japanese does not want to eat it. Its like when they tried to introduce it into the school lunches. Yeah-great job! Go ahead and poison the children. brilliant.
Same. I know NO ONE who wants to eat whale. No one.
absolutely. I see it in supermarkets near my home and in a couple of izakaya chains as well. Its still available.
I'm confident there are security cameras installed at all the vending machine locations.
If those vending machines were in any other civilized country, they would be trashed.
Dead in the water just like the poor whales they needlessly slaughter in the quest for financial gain. Kill the government subsidies (vote buying) and “research BS” and it will be gone forever. However until there is a complete change in the entire political landscape nothing is going to change. Apparently there is plenty of room for all at the feeding trough hence the lacklustre performance of opposition parties which I deeply suspect are simply there to give the illusion of a democracy. Unfortunately it’s not unique to Japan but a world wide phenomenon.
I was just stating the facts. If those machines were in any other country they would be trashed. And I got 6 thumbs down! Sorry people if you don't like the truth.
Pretty sure we have the technology to create synthetic meat that can possibly mimic the taste of whale meat. If the elder citizens want to eat whale so bad, they can wait until this type of tech rolls out:
What an horror!
Despite their sales attempts I think that the consumption of whale meat will continue to decline. There are alternative foods on the market while people prefer something more tasteful and inexpensive.
You've found one here. I have only had it a few times, but I enjoyed it every time. Very delicious. I would eat it more often if I could find it. My local sushi restaurant only has it a few times a year so it's hit and miss when I can get it.
With such mindset now wonder why this country lack behind animal rights among other things compared to the rest of the civilized world.
Fair enough but I have never met you. And I am sure that there are people out there who want to eat it but, of all the Japanese people that I know personally, NONE have wanted to eat it. And without being propped up and subsidized by the government, would that industry survive? I doubt it.
Our judgement of what should/can be eaten is highly arbitrary and culturally bound. It doesn't necessarily matter whether some are more intelligent than others (thus the latter is qualified for food). Even vegetarians should be condemned as some plants do also feel pain when they are killed for food (seriously, as recent studies conclude).
I believe that the rightful and sensible attitude for ”omnivorous" humans is to stay appreciative of all living things for their life sacrifice.
Why would anyone want to eat a pregnant mother that cries out loud while being hooked by a giant crane with angry mob armed with large cutting knifes axis and sward waiting for her onboard.
Japan must rise above this.
The reason for the vending machines is the falling sales of whale meat with the majority no longer buying it. The sale from a vending machine is no worse than sales in stores. I wouldn't eat it and prefer not to see whales killed. Whale meat represents only 0.1 percent of Japan's meat consumption.
The large supply of whale made it the cheapest meat on the market, and within two years, whale meat formed 46 percent of the Japanese diet.
So long as whales are hunted ethically, . . . they appear to be a source of protein and other healthy ingredients . . . . (I tried it many years ago . . . ) https://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/ethnic-foods/8081/2
Ask people that grew up in postwar Japan from the 1940s through 1950s. Most types of meat was scarce and expensive so many ate whale in their school lunches. They ate whale almost daily. I have heard this story from most people 70 and up.
Hilarious trying to promote a product very few people want, except the decrepit elderly and it’s like in their youth one of the foods they can afford. And as we know the decrepit are dying out let’s hope they do before they consume freezers full of whale offal. Then perhaps tasty foods might be on the menu.
This is not legally correct. A country does have the right under international law to exploit the natural resources, including fish (or in this case, whales) in the waters contained in its EEZ, so as a legal matter Japan is within its rights.
I mean, I think whaling is stupid and wish they would stop, but its not a violation of international law for them to do it in their EEZ.
Can't imagine these machines will bring in a lot of business. Maybe for the 60-year-old who buys some for the 90-year-old parent (like the lady mentioned in the article), who remembers when it was more widely available and what it tastes like. Young people generally aren't interested in it so the market is steadily shrinking. Wouldn't be surprised if such machines get vandalized by anti-whaling supporters (especially after English articles about them start to spread).
Go on and waste your money. We see the desperation and think it is good.
The way Japan's demographics are going, within a few years this type of transaction will constitute like 95% of all consumer sales in Japan....
Nothing wrong with sustainable hunting. Past generations hunted until species were verging on or became extinct. No human has that right.
One little corner of Japan is truculent. Not really revenant news.
If whale meat is such an important part of Japanese cuisine culture why are they struggling to sell it? There are thousands of tons of it stored in freezers around the country. They had planned to give it away to schools just to get rid of it but the rulers wanted money for it. Also, let's not forget that Japan makes no distinction between whale and dolphin meat. Most of the whale meat sold in izakayas is actually dolphin. This is despite the WHO deeming dolphin meat unfit for human consumption due to the high levels of mercury and other heavy metals in the meat. The people of Taiji who eat dolphin regularly have alarmingly high levels of mercury in thier blood. Minamata much?
There was a move to label whale meat noting the kind of whale and where it was caught, but this was squashed by the fisheries fearing that people would not eat locally caught whale and dolphin meat. The really stupid thing is, people are not eating whale meat from anywhere regardless of labeling. They can blame the protesters all they like for the decline in sales. The fact is, it is not 'oishii' and people are wising up to it not being fit to eat.
They are already introducing whale back into school lunches my kids have said they have had it several times this year already.
Back in ‘05 or so I was at and ALT beach barbecue/campout, and a few of us had a ‘Whale meat cook-off’. Some big angry Canadian woman caught wind of it and came bounding over, yelling and hollering, and she rather violently kicked my buddy’s grill over. His world famous whale kabobs scattered across the sand, deemed inedible. We laughed at her so hard we cried and our stomachs hurt. That made her even madder and then some gentle feller in Berkenstocks had to come steer her off somewhere to cool off.
When my son was in elementary I recieve a letter from the school if I would all them to eat whale meat,Never, why would I let my son eat mercury. My son told me that his teacher he can eat whale but it's a secret he said no I don't want to eat whale meat
ive lived here a while and as a person who has hobbies like scuba diving, when I talk to Japanese (always old men) they say it is comfort food from after they lost the war. They also say eating whale meat is a way to go to war.
most whale meat is used for pet food, young people are revolted by it. Not an expert, but just what people I meet tell me.
"But whale meat is part of Japanese food culture and we can respect the lives of whales by appreciating their meat"
Whale meat hasn't been part of Japanese culture since WW2. If it was, we'd see it sold in every supermarket - but it's not. There is no justification to keep whaling at the rate Japan does when almost no one is eating it. As for the BS excuse of research, no research takes this long, year after year, with no real results.
Whale meat is no longer being consumed. Why are the Japanese government & Kyodo Senpaku wasting 6 billion yen ($46 million) on a new whaling ship?
do some research. They are. Also research Mercury levels. It causes slow painful expensive deaths in humans. Same as dolphins so they are banned in school lunches in Wakayama.
"Kill something and eat it." What a bunch of simps getting their knickers in a knot about nothing. I will eat anything that doesn't eat me first.
Probably not. Elderly now eat whale because they had it when they were very young, but as most younger people don't usually eat whale now they won't have those cravings when they reach the 70s or something. As things are going now, it probably is a matter of time before the industry dies.
Again? They never stopped.
A huge proportion of Japan's whale meat is imported from other whaling nations .
Yeah that is true, my previous comment was more a general one about how messed up the demographics in this country are rather than about the market for whale meat specifically. The writing is on the wall for the whale meat industry for sure.
Ethics aside, (it is simply impossible to humanely kill a whale), the meat per gram contains 370 micrograms of mercury. At this concentration, a 60-kilogram adult eating just 0.15 grams of whale meat would exceed the weekly mercury intake considered safe.
People in Japan seem to either be extremely ignorant of the effects of mercury, or deliberately downplay the danger it causes, and they do so to the obvious detriment to their long-term health.
Whale meat vending machines..
Awa no Gaijin
Why don't you inform us of the whales that Japan fishes for ?or keeps as bycatch and then make the announcement that the whale species that are unspecified in the article arent endangered.
What's the point in stating the obvious well known facts that not always whales are supposedly not endangered.
Therefore your point is moot.
It would be more reasonable to assume the whale meat in the article is from endangered whales otherwise the species would be described.
i dont think it was lack of convenience that was holding back customers.
This is not true. Japan already has large stockpiles of whale meat in freezers around the country. They do purchase small amounts of whale meat from Iceland and the few other countries that hunt whales commercially to keep their support for commercial whaling. They only buy it for political reasons. Not for supply and demand.
Great idea! Hopefully his sales increase! Respect to this man.
Laced with mercury and other heavy metals.... madness to eat it just on health concerns alone.
Just stop killing whales.
This is simply crazy.
They cannot meet the catch quota they already have, and they want the quota to be increased? For an item for which there is only a small and rapidly dwindling demand?
It never, ever, says 'whale meat' in the ingredients list. I avoid any pet food that names simply and vaguely 'meat, etc'. If they can't tell you what it is, it's probably because you wouldn't buy it if they did.
It's virtually impossible to kill a whale humanely, so there is no such thing as an ethically hunted whale. Even if the animal is killed instantly with a first shot (and many of them are not), the shot is preceded by sometimes hours of chase until the animal is exhausted and terrified. Either way, the animal suffers.
The government of Japan conducted a study in 1994, which concluded that 29.4 percent of the 330 minke whales killed in Japan’s hunt that year died instantaneously.
In other words, 70.6% - over two thirds - did not.
Only the belly and fin tail of the whale is eaten. The rest is thrown back into the ocean if processed there. Whale meat past the sell-by date goes into pet foods.
Whale meat was imported from Norway and Iceland but stopped during the pandemic. Don't know if it has resumed.
Lol ! kcuf japan yesterday, your a snooze paper not a news paper!
Ooh. Once a year. You must really, really love it.
Unfortunately, that is how most Japan brand dog food is labelled. The type may say "chicken" or "beef". But, when you check the actual ingredient list, it will say "Meat (chicken, beef pork, etc)", which is pretty vague. Even if one doesn't care about which animals were killed to make the food, it makes it hard to control your pet's diet, if they have any food allergies or intolerances.
Whale oil beef hooked!
And thus an urban legend is born. This will go straight into vapid viral "Top 10 things you didn't know about Japan" listicles, right along the used panties vending machine, long after those handful of machines will inevitably be gone again.
I get the appeal of whale meat. It's a bit of "forbidden fruit", and it is tasty. Personally, I tried it as many times as my conscience would allow me to: exactly once. But if you really wanted whale meat, because you're oh such a whale meat connaisseur ... would you get it frozen from a bloody vending machine?
If you really love something you wouldn't be eating it only once a year would you. Good news is that you're only getting a small dose of mercury.
Yeah Japan really loves animals..........flat out lying that whale hunts are for scientific research then selling the meat. You clearly don't need to hunt as many as they do if it's really for scientific research.
There is no viable market for whalemeat.
It was consumed out of desperation when there was no other reliable source of meat available.
Anyone who still eats this does so out of either nostalgia for long-lost youth or sheer bloody-mindedness.
Hunting whales make Japan - the country I love - look bad on the world stage.
But Whale hunters donate big to the LDP, so we can expect more death, destruction of this beautiful creature until there's no money left.
Meat eating was banned until the Meiji Era.
For both religious and practical reasons, the Japanese mostly avoided eating meat for more than 12 centuries. The beef was especially taboo.
Japan started adopting meat-based diets from Europeans like the Dutch who were taller than them in the 18th century and then when the Meiji emperor ate meat in public on 24 January 1872.
They catch the Minke which is not endangered. If your only problem is Whales are cute or Whales are intelligent or love their young then please stop eating sheep and cows.
No culture has the right to make changes to other cultures diet. For religious, economic, cuteness or any other reasons.
Everyone decides for themselves if their choices are acceptable concerning food items. There is a feeling among some that whales are highly intelligent sentient creatures. Others look at them as a convenient and traditional food source. It's a complicated issue with no simple universal solutions.
They also hunt Sei whales, which absolutely are.
Agreed, but what if that part of their culture negatively affects other nations, cultures, even the entire planet?
Of course whale food is a part of Japanese culture. One can read about it in classics such as Ihara Saikaku’s “Nippon Eitaigura”, which is a famous work of Japanese Edo era literature. That he covered it in his “Nippon” eitaigura shows it was of significance to be included it the work. Indeed the book was about ways that people get rich in Edo Japan - whale was a money spinner back then.
1) The degree to which people eat it is not a conservation issue. The conservation issue concerns whether the amount of catch is sustainable or not. Ironically, the intransigence of anti-whalers drove Japan out of the “whaling” commission where discussions about such catch sustainability was supposed to take place.
2) There has been extremely limited supply of the food for decades now, so yeah there cannot be a big place in the diet for such a rare commodity. People cannot eat what isn’t there to be eaten.
Sustainable whaling doesn’t do that, by definition, and if that were to concern people would welcome Japan back into the IWC and authorize sustainable catch limits again.
Not stick to stupid blanket bans of other people’s culture.
This was censored as off-topic, so let's see. "killing intelligent animals" refers to the whales, so that must be on-topic. "this practice" refers to whale hunting, so definitely on-topic. "do it" refers to whale hunting again, so on-topic. "intelligent creatures", again refers to the whales. Then there is only sentence left, which compare the whale hunting with "other aspects" of the culture. Ok, that must be the line that was off-topic, but how are you supposed to be able to make an argument, if you can not do analogies, draw parallels, and make comparisons?
I agree, I don't disagree with whaling in principle, but I don't think Japan can be trusted to catch whales sustainably and be trusted to not hunt endangered species (which they are doing). And I don't think that Japan should be actively seeking to increase demand for whale meat. I suppose at least they are being honest about their intentions now though.
A lot of the furore around whaling also deflects from the dire situation regarding bluefin tuna and their importance in the marine ecosystem.
I dive with whales sometimes here in Okinawa when we see one out fishing and if they don't move away, sometimes they will come to a boat out of just curiosity. When snorkeling next to them and you look into their eyes, you get a sense of great intelligence. They can sense you mean no harm. Even when they have a calf. Sad Japan is taking this path.
and like one person said, it is not part of ancient culture
Whale meat is delicious;
I have admittedly tried whale in the past out of curiosity. For me, it really didn’t taste very good. That, and finding out the meat can contain a lot of toxins, means I’m not likely to try it again.
Nothing like starting off a thread with a completely false statement.
Earliest documentation is in the Kojiki, AD 700s. Plenty of records from the 1500s.
Philipp Franz von Siebold recorded whaling and butchering for meat in the mid 1800s.
Whale meat - Japanese Wiki Corpus (japanese-wiki-corpus.org)
Kujirazuka - Japanese Wiki Corpus (japanese-wiki-corpus.org)
Whaling and consuming whale meat has been and still continues, albeit to a far lesser degree than earlier, part of Japanese culture. Same with Norway and Iceland, part of their culture but less people eat it now than before. Anti-whalers continue to deny that eating whalemeat "was not part of their culture" in the face of historical documentation and evidence showing otherwise and is nothing more than political propaganda.
The entire population of a country does not have to eat something daily for it to be part of their culture.
Finding out? As in you sent samples to a lab? Or just read/heard from anti-whaling sites?
Whether you liked it or not is a personal taste, not relevant to whether whalemeat should or should not be eaten. Don't like it, don't eat it. That applies to anything.
Absolutely correct. But Whale was considered "a fish" and was never banned. Furthermore, meat from wild deer and boar were consumed outside the population centers.
The presence of high levels of toxins in whales is not, 'from anti-whaling sites', it's been an established fact for decades. Pretending otherwise is just being dishonest.