February 18, 2015

Taiji, Japan and Kaikoura, New Zealand BY SHAUN O'DWYER 日本語付き

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                                  ↑The dolphin frescoes in the Queen's Megaron of the Palace of Knossos.
                     View the original frescoe in the Heraklion Museum.↑ Arranged on CG Art by Keiko Olds

Shaun went to Kaikoura, New Zealand in search for hints about whale hunting. When he went back to Japan, he traveled to Taiji thinking about their similarities. Please read his article that was displayed in the 2014 Japan Times newspaper.

This article does not compare Japan and New Zealand, It his about what small towns like Kaikoura (and hopefully one day Taiji too) can do to protect their dolphins, whales and other marine life while also maintaining their livelihoods.

                    Kaikoura and Taiji
           A tale of two whaling towns

Sep. 22. 2014 
Published in the Japan Times 

 In August, I stepped off a bus along a remote coastline on New Zealand’s South Island and was enchanted by what I saw. To the north, the jagged curtain wall of the Kaikoura Ranges soared over the coast; to my right, the sea, hiding within it the vast biodiversity of the submarine Kaikoura Canyon; and perched along the peninsula on which I was standing, the charming, low-key resort town of Kaikoura.

Kaikoura has long depended for its livelihood on the marine resources harvested from that sea, beginning with the Ngati Kuri Maori people who first fished there, followed by the European whaling stations in the 1840s. But the last whale was harpooned in 1964, and I was there last month to see whether New Zealand’s premier whale-watching resort had any lessons for Japan’s whaling towns.

I had arrived in an off-season period, but there were tourists around, most of them international. Sitting with me on a trip run by the Whale Watch company to see sperm whales were young backpackers and families from China, South Asia and Europe.

After the trip I spoke with the general manager of this Ngati Kuri-owned company, Kauahi Ngapora. He told me about its beginnings with “a small, privately funded boat” in 1987 and about its present-day success, with an annual revenue of 10 million New Zealand dollars ($8.2 million, ¥885 million), its catamarans taking out up to 100,000 tourists every year.

He also told me that Whale Watch’s entrepreneurship drove Kaikoura’s modernization from a declining rural backwater into a world class, EarthCheck-accredited eco-tourism destination — a community of 3,600 people balancing an annual intake of 800,000 to 1 million visitors with a commitment to conserving its marine habitats, under national and Maori customary law.

Ten days later I was in Taiji, Wakayama Prefecture, to see how it compared with Kaikoura. Taiji is also a charming resort town, of similar size to Kaikoura. Located on a picturesque coastline of deep, sheltered inlets and coves, it has numerous sites showcasing its whaling heritage, including old shrines, monuments and the Taiji Whale Museum, which boasts fascinating exhibits illustrating the town’s four centuries of whaling history.

There are also striking differences. In Kaikoura, tourists observe wild marine life, such as whales, dolphins and seals, only in their natural habitats. In Taiji, visitors observe captive dolphins held in the whale museum’s cramped pools and aquarium, and in its enclosed dolphin-show inlet, though there are small-scale dolphin-watching tours. Around town, restaurants sell whale and dolphin meat dishes.

A few hundred meters down the road I stumbled on the inlet made famous by the 2009 Oscar-winning film “The Cove,” where I saw tourists swimming, under supervision, with dolphins that are kept in pens there. I also noticed that Taiji’s hotels looked old and faded, and I appeared to be the only non-Japanese visitor in town. “This place could be doing better,” I thought.

Indeed, Taiji tourism is on a downward slide familiar to many Japanese rural tourist destinations. Annual — largely domestic — tourist numbers fell from around 389,000 in 1998 to 246,000 in 2009, and annual visits to the whaling museum dropped from a high of 478,573 in 1974 to 141,688 in 2009.

Since fisheries, the mainstay of Taiji’s economy is also (with one exception, which I will return to shortly) in decline due to overfishing, falling profitability and an aging, shrinking workforce, Taiji faces serious economic challenges.

Taiji could develop an eco-tourism strategy like Kaikoura’s to attract more international visitors. With its established tourist industry — and if access to Kansai International Airport is improved — the transition would be easier than it was for Kaikoura. For, as Whale Watch’s Ngapora told me, when the firm started, “tourism was a dirty word” and some hostile local white people even sabotaged its operations.

Taiji has plans for a 28-hectare marine park, where tourists can interact with captive whales and dolphins. An official at Taiji city council told me that it is also intended to appeal to foreign tourists. When I asked him how they would deal with foreign tourists’ unease about such a place — influenced by the Sea Shepherd activist group — he replied, “We’re thinking about that.”

With this plan, Taiji could be groping towards an eco-tourism future. However, Jun Morikawa, a scholar who has studied Japan’s whaling establishment and diplomacy, reminded me there is also a small but powerful “chorus” of pro-whaling politicians, Japan Fisheries Agency bureaucrats, whaling industry insiders, academics and media pundits who want what they see as Japan’s “indigenous traditions defended to the last breath.”

For them, that means the “traditional” blood-letting in the Cove must also continue. But if it does, few foreign tourists will come.

Early in September, veteran dolphin activist Ric O’Barry was in Japan, working with former dolphin hunter Izumi Ishii to push the Taiji eco-tourism message. O’Barry described to me Taiji’s depressed tourism situation, including the closures of hotels and restaurants.

“I love Taiji. It’s got one of the most beautiful coastlines in the world,” he said. “It has such great potential.”

But as he made clear to me, a major obstacle to Taiji eco-tourism is the profitability of the dolphin drive hunts, and especially of the dolphins captured alive and trained by the Taiji Whale Museum for sale to domestic and foreign aquariums. O’Barry says that such dolphins can fetch up to $150,000 each. Ceta Base, an online database that tracks the marine mammal captive industry using figures from the government and activists, estimates that in the 2013-14 season, 158 dolphins were captured alive and 834 slaughtered for their meat. Between January and November 2013, 78 Taiji dolphins were exported for an estimated total price of ¥278 million ($2.64 million).

There are other obstacles. A dolphin activist named Takayo told me, “The fishermen will not swallow their pride unless we (activists) swallow our anger.” Meanwhile, she said, “even those Japanese who don’t eat whale and dolphin meat feel like our culture is under attack by foreign activists.” Takayo asked that her last name not be used, because she has received online threats and harassment due to her advocacy.

After decades of confrontations with foreign whaling opponents and propagation of a national pro-whaling discourse, whale and dolphin hunting is no longer simply an economic issue. Many whaling advocates now frame it as a matter of cultural identity and preservation. Hunting and eating cetaceans, or even just defending those practices, become affirmations of Japanese identity against foreign attacks.

Anthropologists note that this cultural self-presentation feeds into Taiji’s branding as a kujira no machi (whale town) to domestic tourists. Old traditions and festivals have been revived, while cetacean meat and even the captive dolphin shows are marketed as aspects of its cultural experience. This will be difficult to modify to accommodate foreign tourists’ sensibilities.

The Ngati Kuri people of Kaikoura struck me as more pragmatic. Their traditional designation of cetaceans as taonga (treasure) has adapted through time to changing circumstances, indicating their status as rare, divine gifts of food washed up on beaches in pre-European times, as a source of income during both the whaling and whale-watching eras, and as sacred animals to be protected and revered today.

However, whaling in Kaikoura is a distant memory. The hunting of larger cetaceans ceased in Taiji following the 1988 worldwide commercial whaling moratorium, but Taiji fishermen and their supporters insist that the dolphin drive hunts are part of their whaling tradition — even as critics insist that they are about profits, not tradition.

A greater role for Japanese activists in Taiji could deflate this “us against them” attitude and speed up the end of the dolphin hunts.

“In the end, this has to be solved within Japan, and by Japanese people,” Takayo said. “It should be safe for us to speak up and not be called unpatriotic.”

O’Barry agreed: “Foreign activists can’t bring about change. We need to let the Japanese take ownership of this issue and lead, though foreign journalists should continue covering Taiji. The world has a right to know.”

For my part, I remembered the Taiji Whale Museum’s exhibit about the enterprising young local men in the late 19th century who worked in the European and American whaling industries, before bringing home their technology to modernize whaling in Taiji. Though it seems unlikely to arise, such an internationalist outlook could renew Taiji again, as a heritage-rich kujira no machi — where cetaceans are worth more alive, protected and free.

Back in Kaikoura, I met a young German couple while I was inspecting the remains of a former whaling station. They were seasoned eco-tourists in high spirits after a swimming tour with wild dolphins, so we got to talking about animal rights.

“She became a vegetarian last December,” the husband said, pointing to his wife.

“I am too,” I said. “But I wonder about my ethical consistency,” I added, looking down at my leather shoes.

“Well,” she replied, “we have to start somewhere, don’t we?”


         Taiji, Wakayama 和歌山県太地町                            Kaikoura, New Zealandカイコウラ、ニュージーランド
Taiji, Dolphin Hunt 太地のイルカ猟.                                                      Kaikoura, Whale Watching カイコウラのクジラウォッチング


October 24, 2014 Sasha Abdolmajid Reply
訳: キニマンス塚本仁希

ニュージーランドのカイコウラ町  捕鯨場の跡地











太地町の入江で生簀に入れられたイルカと泳ぐ光景客 | AP






しかし、太地町がエコツーリズムを実現させるにあたって立ちはだかる大きな障害はイルカ漁の利益性にある、と彼は説明する。特に生きたまま捕獲され、くじらの博物館内で訓練されるイルカは国内・海外の水族館へ高額で売却される。なかには15万ドル(およそ1600万円)で売れるイルカもいるという話だ。政府機関や活動団体から得る数字をもとに海洋哺乳類捕獲業界を調査するオンラインデータベースCeta Baseの計算によれば、2013‐14年期には158頭のイルカが生きたまま捕獲され、834頭が肉のために殺されていた。2013年の1月から11月まで78頭のイルカが総額2.78億円で太地町が売却している。3






太地町における日本の活動家達が今より大きな役割を持てば、「外国人VS 我々」のような思考を萎ませ、イルカ漁の終焉をもっと早く呼び込めるかもしれない。








                                  Whale Watch Kaikoura 2 Min Video

           Taiji, Wakayama 和歌山県太地                               Kaikoura, New Zealand ニュージーランド カイコウラ

 I interviewed Shaun O'Dwyer.★ Feb.23.2015

①When did you learn about Taiji, Shaun? 
: I learned about Taiji when I watched “The Cove” film, in 2009. 

②Please tell me what emotions you've experienced when you first learned about Taiji.
 : When I saw the slaughter scene in “The Cove” I was horrified. I thought it was so cruel. But during my childhood I lived on a farm, and sometimes I watched animals being slaughtered. I thought that was horrible too, and influenced by those experiences, I became a vegetarian when I was 16.

③Afterwards, will you write an article about Taiji?
: Right now I’m writing an article about why Japanese anti-whaling or anti-dolphin hunting groups don’t have much influence on Japanese public opinion, political policy, mass media or even on foreign activist groups-and why those groups are so small. I’m also taking into account the activist situation in Taiji. 

④Many people in the world are using every measure to stop the killing of A: Taiji, is there anything you would like to say to them? 
I want to say “patience!” “show some consideration!”. When some foreign NPO’s engage in anti-whaling vigilantism, and when some foreign people on Twitter fiercely condemn whaling and dolphin hunting and denounce Japanese people as “barbarians”, they provoke a strong nationalist reaction in Japan. The fact is, in the 1970’s Japanese people were eating less and less whale meat, and the whaling industry was just an “economic problem”. Nowadays, it has become a “Japanese culture problem”. Japanese conservatives are strongly advocating that Japanese “protect our traditions and culinary culture” and demanding that “foreigners stop their cultural imperialism”. Even apolitical Japanese who don’t eat whale meat are offended by foreign people’s denunciations.  Japanese activists are struggling to get their voices heard in the middle of this fight. In relation to Taiji activism, I think Japanese people should ideally be in the forefront, and foreign activist groups should be in a supporting role. But the reality is, there aren’t that many Japanese activists!

⑤What do you think about the developing whale farm? 
: The Taiji whale marine park? I think it’s a waste of money. It would be better for Taiji to invest in eco-tourism. 

⑥What sort of action will you take?
: My academic specialization is philosophy and now I’m tied up writing a book! But when I have time I want to continue writing newspaper articles about the whaling and dolphin hunting problems. 

Thank you very much Shaun


① ショーンさんはいつ太地のことを知りましたか?
: 2009年 「ザ・コーヴ」が公開された時、太地について学びました。

: 「コーブ」の虐殺シーンを見たとき、私はゾッとしました。とても残酷だと思った。

: 現在新聞に載せる論文を書いている途中です。テーマは、"なぜ日本の反捕鯨、または反イルカ狩猟グループは日本の世論や政治政策やマスメディア、更には外国の活動家からあまり影響を受けないのか、そしてなぜそれらのグループは非常に小さいのか、その理由についての記事を書いている。そして太地にいる活動家の状況も考慮しています。

世界中の人々があらゆる手段でイルカ猟を止めさせようとしています が彼等に言いたい事はありますか?
: 私は彼等に「忍耐!」と「気配り!」と言いたい。

: 太地の海上公園ですか? お金の無駄遣いだと思います。エコツーリズムを振興したほうがいいと思います。

: 私の専門は哲学で、今本を書いていて多忙で手が放せません! 


                Things to do in Kaikoura with Must Do New Zealand

When I heard about Kaikoura from Shaun I immediately searched the web for pictures. Looking at the similarities, I realize that they were not that different from each other. Many people around the world are very eager to witness the beauty and scenery of Kaikoura. The land displays the natural and beautiful wild whales. There are many places in Taiji that displays their own natural beauty, but their town is a bit on the "rusty" style. It is not a very widely known tour area. Those towns whom follow their old traditions makes an attempt to endorse and display these characteristics to outsiders. But it seems like an area in which a small family can visit. If they were to accept the negative comments to stop the killing of Dolphins and actually stop killing the mammals, they can put this in their traditions that Dolphins and whales were part of their past. There are many people whom know about Taiji, but it is not too late to turn things around and become known for something else more positive. People whom have been against Taiji will be relieved and forgiving. They will applaud the fisherman's courage to stop killing dolphins and they will for sure visit as a tourist to explore the glorious land of Taiji. 
〜Keiko Olds〜


Whale Watch Kaikoura 2 Min Video

              Remains of the Kaikoura whaling industry. The town's oldest surviving building, it has changed little since the 1860s.
                                            ↓Photographing by Shaun O'Dwyer
                                                                    ↓ 写真撮影/ショーン・オドワイヤー
★Built literally upon foundations of whale vertebrae, Fyffe House provides a rare opportunity for visitors to feel the small-roomed confines of a whaler's cottage, touch whale bones and baleen and even smell the fragrant aroma of whale oil.
European settlement of Kaikoura began in 1842 when Scotsman Robert Fyfe established a whaling station. His cousin George Fyffe (they spelt their surnames differently) joined Robert later. The cousins employed many local Maori men in their whaling crews along with whalers from Australia, Great Britain, North America, France, Germany, Hawaii and India. Many of these foreign whalers married local Ngai Tahu women and their descendants live in Kaikoura today.
Harpooned whales, mostly Southern Right Whales, were dragged to a large rock shelf in the bay near Fyffe House and their flesh removed and boiled down for oil. Southern Right Whales were already rare in the 1840s and their numbers soon collapsed. At this time George Fyffe and many of the whalers turned to sheep and dairy farming to make a living. Farming soon became the mainstay of the local economy until whale watching began in 1987 and shifted the emphasis back to whales.
Humpback and Sperm whales sustained a small whaling industry in Kaikoura until the early 20th century. Whales were still being hunted in other South Island locations until commercial whaling ended in New Zealand in 1964

Taiji, Wakayama 和歌山県太地 ↓                                                Kaikoura, New Zealand カイコウラ ニュージーランド↓
Taiji, Capture Dolphins 太地の捕獲されたイルカ                              Kaikoura, Wild Free Dolphins カイコウラの野生の自由なイルカ
Taiji, Whale Museum's wall painting 太地の鯨博物館の壁画            Kaikoura, Cafe's Wall painting カイコウラのカフェの壁画
Taiji, Whale Tale's Monument 太地の鯨の尾モニュメント                 Kaikoura's Real Whale Tale カイコウラの本物の鯨の尾
Taiji, COVE 太地の入り江                                                                              Kaikoura's beach カイコウラの浜辺
Taiji, Captured Orca Show 太地の捕獲されたシャチのショー           Kaikoura's Meet the Wild Whale カイコウラで野生の鯨に出会う

☆History of Whaling☆捕鯨の歴史
9th Century     Whaling starts in Norway, France, and Spain 
9世紀                  ノルウェー、フランス、スペインで捕鯨が始まる
12th Century  Hand-harpoon whaling starts in Japan
12世紀              素手での銛打ち捕鯨が日本で始まる
1606          Hand-harpooning whaling by organized groups starts in Taiji, Japan
1612          Hand-harpooning of Baird's beaked whales starts in Chiba Prefecture, Japan (near Wadaura)
1675          Whaling using nets begins in Taiji, and spreads to Shikoku and Kyushu, contributing to rapid           
                         expansion of whaling

1712          Sperm whaling starts in the U.S. (US-style whaling)
1838          Organized whaling using nets starts in Ayukawa, Japan
1864          Modern whaling is developed in Norway
1868          With harpoon guns completed in Norway, Norwegian-style whaling starts
1879          A storm claims the lives of 111 whalers from Taiji. This incident prompts transition from net 
                         whaling to modern whaling
1899             Japan starts Norwegian-style whaling


1903          The world's first whaling factory ship (Netherlands) sails out to Spitsbergen sea
1904          Norway sets up a whaling station in South Georgia Island; Whaling begins in Antarctic Ocean
1905          First whaling factory ship sails to Antarctic Ocean
1906          Full-scale modern whaling starts in Japan with construction of modern whaling station in Ayukawa
                        日本の鮎川の近代捕鯨基地で 本格的近代捕鯨建設を開始
1925          A mother ship equipped with a slipway goes on whaling for the first time
1931          First International Whaling Convention is signed

1932          Claws (tail fin pinchers) appears
1934          Japan enters mother ship-type whaling in Antarctic Ocean
1940          U.S. quits whaling
1941          Japan suspends mother ship-type whaling upon the outbreak of World War II
1946          International Convention for the Regulation of Whaling is signedJapan resumes whaling in r
                         Antarctic Ocean
1948          International Whaling Commission (IWC) is established
1949          1st IWC meetings are held
1951          Japan joins IWC
1959          Olympic system is abolished; Self-declared whaling starts
1962          Country quota system starts
1963          Hunting of humpback whales in Antarctic Ocean is bannedUK quits whaling
1964          Hunting of blue whales in Antarctic Ocean is banned
1972          Resolution calling for 10-year moratorium on commercial whaling is adopted at United Nations 
                            Conference on Human Environment Blue Whale Unit system is abolished; 
                         Catch quota by whale type system starts
                         Norway withdraws from whaling in the Antarctic Ocean
                         Japan starts minke whaling
1975          New Management Procedure (NMP) is adopted
1976          Hunting of fin whales in Antarctic Ocean is banned
1978          Hunting of sei whales in Antarctic Ocean is banned
1979          IWC adopts an Indian Ocean whale sanctuary
1982          IWC adopts a commercial whaling moratorium
1985          Japan withdraws objection to IWC moratorium
1987         Japan withdraws from Antarctic whaling and starts research whaling (JARPA)
1988         Japan suspends coastal catching of minke and sperm whales
1990         IWC estimates population of minke whales in Antarctic Ocean as 760,000
1992         Iceland withdraws IWC; North Atlantic Marine Mammal Commission (NAMMCO) is established IWC 
                        completes development of Revised Management Procedure (RMP)
1993         Norway resumes commercial whaling
1994         IWC adopts southern ocean whale sanctuary
1994        Japan starts research whaling in northwest Pacific (JARPN)
2000        Japan starts research whaling (JARPNII) for feeding study
2002        54th IWC meeting is held in Shimonoseki
2003        IWC adopts Berlin initiative
2005        Japan starts research whaling (JARPAII)
2006        IWC adopts St. Kitts and Nevis Declaration
2007        Confrence for the Normalization of the IWC in Tokyo

                                                                                   Taiji's stamp

   Let's go New Zealand !
                             Thanks Mr. Shaun O'Dwyer                               

1. Taiji Town 太地町役場 <www.town.taiji.wakayama.jp/tyousei/sub_02.html>

高山新 2007 和歌山県太地町の地域経済および財政状況と住民暮らし。「第4次太地町長期総合計画」(太地):27-28 <https://ir.lib.osaka-kyoiku.ac.jp/dspace/bitstream/123456789/19680/1/koumin_15_021.pdf>

遠藤愛子 2011 第10章 変容する鯨類資源の利用実態 和歌山県太地町の小規模沿岸捕鯨業を事例として。松本博之編「海洋環境保全の人類学」国立民族学博物館調査報告 97: 262-263 <http://ir.minpaku.ac.jp/dspace/bitstream/10502/4429/1/SER97_011.pdf>

2. Jun Morikawa 2009. Whaling in Japan: Power, Politics and Diplomacy. (New York: Columbia University Press) を参照。

3. Ceta Base 2014. Drive Fisheries: Capture Results and Information. Web: <www.ceta-base.com/drivefisheries.html#20132014>

4. Arne Kalland 1998. “The Anti-whaling Campaigns and Japanese Responses”. In The Japanese Position on Whaling and Anti-Whaling Campaign (Tokyo: Institute of Cetacean Research). Web: <http://luna.pos.to/whale/icr_camp_kalland.html> (日本語訳はこちらのリンクへ <http://luna.pos.to/whale/jpn_kalland.html>)

Original article: <Kaikoura and Taiji: a tale of two whaling towns>

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