Dolphin Hunting — Understanding from Within

A captive dolphin sourced from Taiji drive hunts, leaps in its tiny enclosure. A captive dolphin sourced from Taiji drive hunts, leaps in its tiny enclosure. Credit: Mineto Meguro

A captive dolphin sourced from Taiji drive hunts, leaps in its tiny enclosure. Photo: Mineto Meguro

This is a short interview with Japanese activist Mineto Meguro concerning dolphin hunting in Japan.

Questions:

What made you first focus on addressing animal issues?

A: I became vegan after watching Earthlings. A year later, as I was taking a walk and wondering, “Will I live my life committed to animals? Just as I was thinking, a bird’s feather fell out of the sky and into the palm of my hand.

In your experience, what are the biggest challenges in tackling the problem of dolphin drive hunting in Taiji Town?

A: I see three main problems:

  • There are activists whose involvement in this difficult issue, are motivated by the desire for acclaim and money. For such people, the animals are unfortunately just a tool for self-fulfillment.
  • Some activists and supporters are demonizing the Taiji people and hunters, which inhibits useful progress.
  • Some of those involved do not have any long-term perspective or strategy, and mainly act on impromptu opportunity.

Mineto Meguro

Understanding that there is no easy and quick solution to end dolphin drive hunting, what changes can you expect to see in this situation over the next 5-10 years?

A: Expected changes will vary greatly—depending on the growth in numbers of activists and supporters. We are making efforts with the realistic goal of achieving results within 10 years. If successful, we expect to be able to significantly reduce dolphin hunting within this time.

What is the most useful way for foreigners to help Japanese people who are working on whaling and dolphin drive hunting issues?

A: I would like foreign activists to share their knowledge and experience in order to empower the Japanese themselves to solve the problem. Blindly providing financial support is not always helpful. If you wish to support Japanese activism, you should receive a clear explanation for the use of funds and activities to be performed beforehand. Also, when funds are gathered from public sources there should be clear accounting reports of budget spending issued to supporters.

In your opinion, what is required in order to see useful changes in the dolphin and whale problems across Japan?

A: Foreign organizations and activists need to have a better understanding of Japan and the mind-set of its people. If you are not getting the results you want to see on an issue, you need to properly analyze and understand the problem—and adjust your activities/support accordingly. If you act according to poor understanding, you will not get the results you want.

Meguro Minato: Animal Liberation Activist / Animalist / Vegan

MME / Political organization Animalism Party representative / NPO animal liberationorganization Rib representative https://m-m-e.biz

Website: https://animal-liberator.net/animal-liberator/tag/目黒峰人

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/animal.liberator/

10 Comments

  1. Penny says:

    As a “foreigner” please can you explain the mind set of the Japanese people when it comes to Taiji and Dolphin Hunting.

  2. Kathleen says:

    Excellent. Much respect for the work of Mineto Meguro/NPO Animal Liberator

  3. John says:

    This is an excellent interview. He says a lot which is similar to what we were saying 10 years ago. This shows that absolutely nothing has changed regarding the approach to the Taiji issue. I doubt if anything actually will change.

  4. Karl says:

    Please see my response below, as a Westener who has lived in Japan, worked for Japanese business and represented the Japanese. First and foremost, there is a constant, the activists always want support from the West, including Westerners money/financial support.

    In your experience, what are the biggest challenges in tackling the problem of dolphin drive hunting in Taiji Town?

    A: I see three main problems:

    There are activists whose involvement in this difficult issue are motivated by the desire for acclaim and money. For such people, the animals are unfortunately just a tool for self-fulfillment.

    Okay, this sounds a lot like a personal attack on another activist. The problem starts with the fact that the Japanese activists are fractured and seemingly refuse to work TOGETHER, in this keiretsu.

    Some activists and supporters are demonizing the Taiji people and hunters, which inhibits useful progress.

    For over a decade people from all over the world have begged, pleaded, and petitioned to have these inhumane practices stopped. They are a fraud perpetrated upon many people under the guise of “tradition” and “culture” which now uncovered is nothing more than suffering and death for financial gain practiced by a Japanese group protected by an ageist Japanese government. How would Japan, having failed to reason with their own people, respond to people who bathe in the blood of innocent animals and laugh at the activists? Yesterday, the Japanese activists were silenced by the hunters who were covered in the blood of dolphins with a single phone call.

    Some of those involved do not have any long-term perspective or strategy, and mainly act on impromptu opportunity.

    I believe many of us Westeners would love to hear the Japanese Activists (JA) long term strategy. Many of us applaud the actions of the JA we have seen this year, I for one would want to work and support Japanese activist more if I knew it would be more than just handing out flyers and asking the hunters to stop killing dolphins.

    Mineto Meguro

    Understanding that there is no easy and quick solution to end dolphin drive hunting, what changes can you expect to see in this situation over the next 5-10 years?

    A: Expected changes will vary greatly—depending on the growth in numbers of activists and supporters. We are making efforts with the realistic goal of achieving results within 10 years. If successful, we expect to be able to significantly reduce dolphin hunting within this time.

    Translation, in 10 years supply of dolphins will decrease so that hunting them will become futile. So waiting for Japan to kill every dolphin until they run out in Japanese waters is not really a strategy, more of an excuse to wait. That will only lead to them hunting in international waters.

    What is the most useful way for foreigners to help Japanese people who are working on whaling and dolphin drive hunting issues?

    A: I would like foreign activists to share their knowledge and experience in order to empower the Japanese themselves to solve the problem. Blindly providing financial support is not always helpful. If you wish to support Japanese activism, you should receive a clear explanation for the use of funds and activities to be performed beforehand. Also, when funds are gathered from public sources there should be clear accounting reports of budget spending issued to supporters.

    Okay, again this appears to be a personal issue between certain activists. I am sure many Westeners would love for Japan to solve their own problem e.g. shooting whales with exploding harpoons under the guise of “scientific research” look, killing a whale with an exploding harpoon while claiming Japan is studying if a whale’s penis is bigger than a Japanese government official’s penis, is insulting. But when Japan was asked, politely, to stop killing so many whales, what did JAPAN do, they said F, no, we will just pull out of the international group so we can continue to pay whalers to kill whales, force schools to sell whale meat, and then report to the Japanese public that their is an increased demand. Of course, leaving out the fact that the “demand” is created by paying for the killing of whales and paying to have the meat forced into meals for school children. Killing dolphins, well that’s just a sport for certain members of Japanese prefectures, who also have a financial interest in creating their own dolphinarium. So once again, what are the JA going to do? Because asking the hunters to stop killing dolphins isn’t really working. It is highly likely that Japan is engaging in the same practices of China, using the oceans as an investment pool, removing as many dolphins/whales for their personal financial gain. When the supplies dwindle to near extermination, Japan will be able to charge more for the last dolphin caught and killed by Japan. Japan is doing the same with the world’s supply of tuna, so this isn’t a new practice by Japan.

    In your opinion, what is required in order to see useful changes in the dolphin and whale problems across Japan?

    A: Foreign organizations and activists need to have a better understanding of Japan and the mind-set of its people. If you are not getting the results you want to see on an issue, you need to properly analyze and understand the problem—and adjust your activities/support accordingly. If you act according to poor understanding, you will not get the results you want.

    You are fighting a keiretsu with Japanese businesses protected by Japanese ageist government. Asking or begging them to stop will not work. The focus here is MONEY for Japan and only when there is no more money funding drive hunting, or alternatively, when many Japanese businesses suffer from boycotting of Japanese products, will the government feel some pressure to stop driving hunting for the better of the whole country.

    Your article provided NO plan or intention of the Japanese activists and how they intend on changing THEIR country. Are you prepared to elect a new government, stand up and be heard, force change in YOUR country? Japan COULD BE a great country again, but not built upon suffering, death and greed.

    We want to help you help yourself. What are you prepared to do?

  5. Pic says:

    John, things have changed. This amazing, growing body of active Japanese are now involved and that was not the case ten years ago. Quite a few of them engage the public with flyers and demos on a weekly basis–something that westerners with no Japanese language, on the other side of the world cannot engage with directly. Also, whaling in Japan, which has relied on massive subsidies to continue, due to lack of demand for whale meat–is about to have to face more real market forces as their subsidies are being cut back and turned into loans that must be repaid. That free sleigh ride is ending. The numbers of dolphins killed in Taiji for meat–has halved in the last 7 years–due to simple lack of demand. Only old people eat dolphin–young people have no interest. And so on…so, plenty of changes.

    • Cheree says:

      I agree with Karl 100%.
      To say some activists are there for money and self promotion ,sounds like a personal attack on other activists. To be an activist fighting for change ,is emotionally draining and often little financial reward.
      Also the statement , ’oh you have to understand the Japanese and their culture is ,futile!
      You could go down to the wharf ,get down on your knees and bow one thousand times and they will only laugh at you. It’s about money, greed and probably yakuza involvement as well. Where you have large profits ,a lot of it untraceable and untaxable the crime syndicates will be there also.

  6. Wade Gonsoulin says:

    I agree with the logic in this piece. Whatever it takes is what we should do.

    But here is what makes me frustrated – The dolphins and whales are dying NOW. They’re dying horribly. They don’t have time for the humans involved to work out ways to avoid hurting each others cultural sensibilities. It’s the same with animal-abuse and brutality in other counties. The concepts of etiquette and protocol are advancing human interest and killing everything else. We need to evolve.

    Not a very helpful comment, I know. Just venting. I appreciate the experience of those who have traveled to ground zero and have a first hand perspective. They’re knowledge is vital. Thank you.

  7. Pic says:

    Hi Wade, yes it certainly is frustrating and of course we all want to see this kind of suffering end NOW. The road to getting there is anything but straight forward. In dealing with the realities of such an entrenched practice, supported from the top down by aspects of the government, who have also placed a media blackout on news coverage that does not tow the party line–we’re left with having to support a groundswell of regular Japanese citizens–a public majority, who can collectively voice their disapproval and wishes and vote for these cruel practises to end. In dealing with the modest means currently available to Japanese activists, it means this will indeed take time. For those of us that have been deeply involved in these issues for 30+ years–another ten represents real light at the end of the tunnel, even though its far from ideal.

  8. Neil Sturman says:

    I am extremely frustrated with the Dolphin slaughter and capture happening in Japan! I support and have much respect for the activists attempting to end this cruel and unnecessary hunt. Less than one percent of Japanese people still consume the meat, getting less everyday and the wharehouses are full of it. If true,the activists need to come together against the common enemy and not fight amongst themselves. The slaughter will only cease when the change in attitude comes from within the Japanese citizens and mostly from the younger generation. I do feel that “foreigners” can and should play a part supporting caring activists, petitioning the Japanese government and their own government leaders to put intense pressure to finally end this disgusting and barbaric killing of Dolphins, Whales, endangered sea turtles and all other by-catch. Mostly it’s all about money and Japanese Olympics and products should be boycotted and Japanese government shamed for their inactions to stop this before wild populations are decimated! Remember, we are their voices and we need to be heard now, so please keep up the fight and never give up! Thank you

  9. Debi Orick says:

    I totally agree with everything said in this article. I feel that change will come through our Japanese Activist friends. I have been watching these horrific drives for years. I want this to end in my lifetime. I feel that it has to come from Japan. Also I do think more education is needed on the Japanese culture from a lot of people. Much respect to all you do . I appreciate all The Japanese Activists You will stop The Cove

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