Taiji, Japan Blogs

“Peace is not something you wish for; it’s something you make, something you do, something you are, and something you give away”-Robert Fulghum

Something happens to you while you are here. You change. In more ways than one… and I can’t describe how and what it feels like, yet… but it is a change. Something happens watching death on a large scale… when you stand in the very place it happened… when you swim in trash… when you watch nature’s power and force… but most importantly when everyday you are reminded that we are killing the planet, and ourselves too. Knowing that most of the people turns their head and ignore it. We humans, are the most ignorant of all creatures on this planet.

I am having a really hard time trying to figure out where to start. I have a lot to say tonight, and I apologize because I don’t know what is going to come out. I don’t edit myself much, what comes out, you read. I think I would like to start by saying I am calling this the holocaust of our oceans, because I honestly believe that. I needed a word that described a mass slaughter of innocents, and not only dolphins but our entire oceans. There is no word more powerful and head turning describing a slaughter as, holocaust. That is why I chose that word… there is a holocaust happening right now, everyday at every fishing port all over the world.

Today was the second day of the festival in Taiji, so the fishermen did not go out! This does not mean they stopped hunting, they just are enjoying their holiday.  Instead Steven and I went and talked to someone who used to live in Taiji and has spent a lot of time talking to the fishermen and to the people. These are some of the things we discussed, it was a very interesting conversation

He started by showing us a article he found, written on 10/3/10. The article is about a City Counsel member (CCM) in Taiji that is fighting with the mayor. CCM is challenging the mayor, trying to educate the local people. The article said that all sorts of people are talking about the movie– CCM is saying the movie is true and that they should listen to it! The mayor of Taiji is telling people that the movie is all lies. From what I could gather, the language barrier can be hard sometimes so I don’t know who was saying this.. the CCM or the man we met said, “Have to change our system if it is possible, stop catching dolphin and just sell for show.”

The CCM was a fishermen many years ago, 1972. The man we met with said, “The slaughter started in 1972, it was going on a little before that, but it was not being called a ‘culture’ thing until 1970. I thought it had a longer history, I was surprised.”

1. What do you think of the Dolphin slaughter? “They are a kind of big fish. We have no movies or animation like in your country to understand. With animation, maybe we can feel your feeling.” What do you neighbors think of the slaughter? “They say, part of life cycle, like you eat cow”.

2. Have you ever been at the Cove during a slaughter? From what I understand the first time he saw a slaughter was in the movie, this is what he had to say about it– “I was shocked when I saw the movie, dolphins are very big and are being killed. First time I saw, was in the movie.”– I feel like I missed part of his response, I apologize!

3. Why do you think the fishermen hide it? “It really is not good for children to see these things. They hide because it is bloody. The children see slaughter and they will never swim there.”

4. Have you ever eaten Dolphin or Whale? “I have eaten it once or twice. I do not like it, it smells bad. I don’t like whale because it looks like blood. My wife does not like it either, she says it tastes like blood. They cover the smell with ginger”.

The man we met with started talking about our oceans. He said that if we leave the dolphins alone, they will multiply and multiply and then eat all the fish that are in the chain below them. He said same with anything in the middle chain, we leave that alone and it will eat all of the phytoplankton  etc etc. I said no. I told him that in a perfect world, if we were to leave all the fish alone. Not fish at all, that the oceans would become full again and balance everything out again. I said if fishing stopped all over the world, fish wouldn’t be eating all of the other fish, it would be the natural balance of things, it would sustain itself like it has for billions of years. Humans don’t need to mess with it, and try to keep it in balance… it’s done it on it’s own since there was an ocean. The only thing humans are doing is killing it, killing ourselves.

He asked why Dolphins, I said that I chose to start with Dolphins because I believe that we can learn from them. We have to start somewhere, and if you are interested in the Tuna, then you start there it all has to work together. I told him that it is all fishing that needs to stop. He was very worried about the phytoplankton, and I said I agree. Sharks are probably the most important thing on this planet that needs saving right now. They eat the bottom feeders that feed on the phytoplankton that convert a large % of our carbon dioxide into oxygen… we get more oxygen from the oceans than we do from the rainforest. I am not naive when I say that if the oceans die we all die. Everything works to keep everything else alive, humans are destroying it all. “I am not saying don’t protect them, I am concerned about the balance of the ocean”.. he said. He also said that they have stopped fishing in the past, and the fish did not increase in numbers… I responded with, that was only you. The entire world needs to stop, it won’t be fixed with just one port. Though it is a amazing start.

5. “People in Taiji don’t want to talk, the fishermen are in a difficult position. Some don’t like the fishermen, people in Japan are starting to attack them. Not only westerners. But they have life and family and cannot stop. Gradually it will be gone”. — He said that the fishermen and others believe that no one would come to see dolphins in the wild, etc. Because the dolphin shows they have here are very bad, and so no one in Japan even wants to come and see them in Taiji. The people do not believe that tourists would come, so they refuse to try.

6. “Before there was no meat eaten. After World War II we needed protein. 30 years ago there wasn’t enough basic meat– it was very expensive. So they turned to whale”.

7. “You average person is not interested in nature– it is not built up in schools. Kids don’t have that much love or interest in it. Maybe if we had more animation, kids would care”.

“Maybe the people here can change it”. That is it! That is the only way we are going to stop this. The people of Japan need to stand up and say NO! Enough! Stop it, do something else!

Today we went swimming at the cove this morning. It was lovely, warm, clear and very fun (not the cove, but swimming). This evening we went, Patricia, Jackie and I (the three girls!) went into the killing Cove. Jackie didn’t even want to swim in when we found it. Trash. The tide had come up and washed all the trash that was ALL OVER the fishermen’s beach and it as floating in the water. Patricia and I swam in and I was using my arms to make a trail through the dirt, leaves (not the problem) and tiny pieces of plastic, plastic bags, plastic lids, and other floating gunk! We were so disgusted all I could think about was all of the poor creatures that LIVE in this trash. I couldn’t do it. I just couldn’t, we could barley swim through knowing we would be out of it soon enough. I imagine life in that and I can’t imagine ever being happy.

I have Nothing light to end with unfortunately. I am sorry! The only thing I can think of, is that today we drove to the Cove (the same time we swam in the trash) and there were so many westerners there! TWO different film crews. One making a movie, and one doing a thing called 10-10-10 (it’s about what people are doing all over the world on 10-10-10). So the word is getting out which is amazing!

For the Animals,

Elora Malama

8 thoughts on ““Peace is not something you wish for; it’s something you make, something you do, something you are, and something you give away”-Robert Fulghum”

    1. A Japanese: Your citation would be convincing if it was an independent source. Until then, this is just false propoganda from the government and a waste of time to share. No one is fooled.

      Hang in there, Elora! You aren’t alone…

    2. And even if it were true…. the dolphins are still being killed! NO improvements are needed for a barbaric, horrific, senseless action. Just stop… plain and simple.

      1. Completely agree! And the balancing of our oceans is just as important, as Elora pointed out in her blog entry. It is great that people like the CCM and the couple that did the research about the ‘culture’ thing can share their info, as well as their thoughts, about the killings. I really appreciate knowing that the dolphin slaughter is NOT part of the culture!

        Yes, the slaughter of the dolphins, as well as whaling, can be stopped once and for all. All the fishermen have to do is leave the most precious wild cetaceans alone and set up new whale- and dolphin-watching businesses that will allow for increased revenues!


  1. Great interview, Elora. You are truly helping the Japanese people change. It will take a very long time to reach the whole country, but I believe that these daily steps will lead to the end of this “culture”! Thank you SO much. Steven is also amazingly calm during the interviews. I really admire that. After seeing the FU video I would’ve lost it because of how rude their tone of voice and their choice of words are. They are vulgar and have no class. Naturally they are mad because they are losing money, but the words they use towards you and even in The Cove movie disgusts me. I can’t wait to meet you, see you next weekend:)

  2. Great interview, Elora. I was reading the website from that link you posted yesterday, and there is a lot of great information on it. I think it really is crucial for the Japanese to be the ones to finally put an end to this. It will be wonderful if the CCM can really push to put an to this and the Mayor’s lies.
    It referenced a group called DWAN (dolphin and whale action network), who were based In Tokyo. From a google search, if it is in fact the same group, it appears as though they have changed their name to IKAN. The article states that this group was successful in exposing the slaughter and were very proactive in getting dolphins released.
    Have you guys heard of this group or any group like it in japan?? If not, I wonder why they would have given up the fight?

    1. Ashley, IKAN is the Japanese name (Iruka Kujira Action Network). They have not given up the fight, they have simply given up working with non-Japanese who, they believe, are trying to change something in Japan without any real understanding of Japan, Japanese people or Japanese culture.

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