Tag Archive: Ichiro Fujisaki


This blog is designed to be a persuasive tool for my readers (ideally including Ambassador Ichiro Fujisaki) to become aware of dolphin slaughter in Taiji and join in the campaign against it. Part of this education involves understanding why the practice has reached this point to begin with.

Dolphin meat has been consumed for centuries, chiefly in smaller towns without the agriculture for other food sources. Dolphin teeth also are seen as valuable and even serve as currency in some primitive societies. Therefore, to them, dolphin hunting is not a violent blood bath. It is a way of life.

Below is a snippet (ok, a link, it cannot embed) taken from the Animal Planet TV show, Blood Dolphins, that helps convey this cultural concept. (The show, which was inspired by The Cove, follows Ric O’Barry and his son as they spread awareness and campaign against dolphin abuse. On this episode, they travel to the Solomon Islands to negotiate with the group.)

Please click HERE to view the clip! Sorry I can’t embed it into the post!

Even though this society relies on dolphin for their survival, the tribe was willing to work with Ric O’Barry and his organization to change this cultural habit. Several non-profit organizations, such as Blue Voice and Earth Island Institute, are working with these civilizations to teach them other profitable ways to make money, such as dolphin-watching tours and sustainable fishing practices. Despite the fact that this tradition has been integrated into their survival for centuries, these people are realizing that it is not a necessary or appropriate practice for this time.

That being said, Taiji is not the Solomon Islands. They are a developed and industrialized society within the second richest country in Asia. Taiji cannot make the same claim of economical limits that the Solomon tribe does.

Kihiro, Solomon Islands                  vs.                             Taiji, Japan

Most of the Taiji people are unaware that dolphin slaughter is a common practice.  O’Barry went out into the streets of Taiji and asked 100 residents about dolphin slaughter. All 100 had no idea. Taiji cannot make the same claim of cultural essence that the Solomon tribe makes.

The Taiji people have not been welcoming to viewers who express curiosity about this issue. Politicians look their other way when asked to speak on the topic. Giant warning signs surround the Cove area. Fishermen yell and threaten anyone who approaches the area as well. Protests over The Cove have gotten so agressive that some screenings were cancelled. Taiji has not created the image that the Solomon tribe has. In fact, they almost act as if they are trying to cover the issue up (out of shame or embarrassment, perhaps?)

One of the biggest criticisms of this campaign is that these egotistical Americans are not respecting Japanese culture.  Well, to be honest, I am yet to be convinced that this practice even has a strong cultural root in Taiji, Japan. But even if this is the case, it does not mean it is right. There are other means of economic profit that does not involve endangering the Japanese people as well as destroying a beautiful species. Even though dolphin slaughter was accepted centuries ago, the 21st century is not a place where it is appropriate or necessary.

Ric Barry and “The Cove” film crew are not the only ones fueling the campaign against dolphin hunting. In fact, many celebrities are contributing to the cause as well.

Hayden Panettiere, famously known as the cheerleader on the TV show Heroes, is one of the most outspoken marine conservationists fighting to end dolphin hunting around the world. Panettiere first stirred up Japanese waters in September of 2007, when she and five other surfers paddled out to the Cove in an effort to protest the annual dolphin hunt in Taiji, Japan. However, aggressive fisherman broke up the demonstration and then continuing their killings, leaving Panettaire and her friends with nothing but broken hearts and a warrant for their arrest.

Since the situation in 2007, Hayden has found more politically traditional ways to present her message. Panettiere is the international spokesman for the Whaleman Foundation, which is dedicated to the preservation of dolphins and whales. On the right side of my blog is a SocialVibe widgit to support this organization. Patteniere has also traveled back to Japan several times (despite her warrant) to speak with officials and leaders about “finding other ways to generate income and utilize the nature” (CBS News).  Although many officials still refuse to speak with her, Panettiere is able to expose the Japanese people to dolphin controversies in a peaceful and respectful manner. Some demonstrations include creating an outline of a dolphin and diver with people lying down around the border to make the shape.These experiences are documented in her online dolphin diary, as well as in the interview below.

However, Hayden is not the only Hollywood name playing a role in the push for appropriate dolphin treatment and Japanese fishing regulations. Many celebrity endorsements are being used to spread awareness on the mistreatment of dolphins and whales. Here is a public service announcement that utilizes these familiar voices to urge others to take part in the campaign against dolphin hunting.

To take action in the fight against dolphin slaughter, go to:

takepart.com/thecove

Frankie Says

Frankie Churchill is nine years old, but we have a lot in common. We both go to school in California. We both are fans of the ocean. And we both have a message for  Ambassador Ichiro Fujisaki.

Sadly, my message doesn’t come inside a hand-drawn heart. Niether did Fujisaki’s answer to Frankie, stating that he “takes note of [Frankie’s] concerns but also wish[es] that [he] understand the many different cultures in the world, many of which have traditions that are different to those found in the United States.” Fujisaki goes on to explain to young Frankie that “most people eat some sort of meat, whether it is hamburger (meat of cow) or some other form.” Hmmm. Touche, Fujisaki. What’s funny is I don’t remember consuming toxic levels of Mercury at my last barbeque.

Ichiro Fujisaki is the US Ambassador for Japan, and as such serves as the ideal bridge of power for an American like me to influence a foreign issue. Revoking or restricting Taiji’s fishing permits would be a monumental step in eliminating the dangerous and disturbing treatment of dolphins in Japan. Including appropriate, eco-friendly tourism like dolphin tours would help supply economic profit in a non-harmful manner as well. Furthermore, getting the Japan Fisheries Agency Food Sanitation Committee to ban meat that contains mercury would cut off the demand for dolphin meat, therefore decreasing dolphin hunting as well. Ichiro Fujisaki holds enough weight in the political system to serve as a persuasive voice in making these changes a reality. I urge that he listens to the messages of people like Frankie Churchill and takes this issue seriously. The safety of the Japanese people and the preservation of a beautiful species needs to be taken into consideration above the success of an economic product.

Here is a link to Fujisaki speaking about Japanese environmental policies and nuclear waste. But what about the waste that his people are consuming daily?

Japanese Ambassador Ichiro Fujisaki on Going Green