Marketing Japan: Japan Bans the Cove and Other Atrocities…

By Mike in Tokyo Rogers

Once again, Taiji, the small village that holds dolphin hunts is headed to the news for the coming annual dolphin hunt. regardless of the fact that in Taiji less than 10% of the annual catch of dolphins are killed, it has become to focal point for protests. This is my take on this subject.

The award winning movie about the killing of whales and dolphins, the Cove, has been censored in Japan. More and more movie theaters have bowed to nationalist and suspected Japanese government pressures to cancel the showing of this movie.

I come out as one person who protests this assault on free speech and the free market and condemn actions to block this movie from public view. This movie should be made available to anyone who wants to watch it.

I also come out, as a person who thinks this subject about whether or not Japan hunts whales or dolphins is none of anyone else’s business. I, for one, especially do not want to hear anything on this subject from hypocrites who reside in select countries in the west. I think the average Japanese person would agree with me.

Maybe whale and dolphin hunting isn’t ideal, but, I assure you, we have other problems that are much more pressing than this. I would think that most westerners, if they stopped to think about it, would agree. That’s the problem. Most people don’t stop to think about it.

This “hunting the whales and dolhins business” is now returning as the new flavor of the week. Is this because global warming is now out of favor? Remember that problem? Or remember when we were all going to die because of Swine Flu, Bird Flu, SARS, etc.? Ah, yes. I remember when AIDS was the big problem a few decades ago….

And who could forget the movie, “China Syndrome”? Right after that movie came out, I remember my silly friends getting all excited about that and going out to protest at San Onofre Nuclear Power Plant in California and doing stupid things like demonstrating by chaining themselves to the fence of the power plant. I guess people don’t do that anymore. I was unaware that nuclear power had been made 100% safe. When did that happen? Or is it because it is no longer trendy to protest nuclear power?

My foolish Hippie friends, in the 70′s, used to wonder why I refused to go with them to protest nuclear power. I wouldn’t go because I believed that my friend’s were just tools being manipulated by the mass media to follow the “trend of the week.” They all failed to realize that they were being used as a promotional weapon for Social Media Marketing of a product way before it was ever called, “Social Media Marketing.” I also told my friends that if they truly wanted to protest nuclear power, that they’d throw out their TV and refrigerators. Interestingly, none of them took me up on that.

Another Hollywood actress sheds real tears for the dolphins, or Brazilian rainforests, or Amazon something-or-others, blah blah… Or is this just a promotion?

The nationalists and those in Japan who have been accused of pressuring the movie theaters into not showing the Cove have actually done a favor to the promoters of this film. Why? You couldn’t buy promotion this good. Think of how well the Sex Pistols did because the British government banned them. The people, who made The Cove, and their advocates, actually think that, if they show this movie to the Japanese public, the Japanese will somehow rise up and demand that whaling be stopped. What a bunch of simpletons. There’s no way that that would ever happen. The Japanese won’t protest the government printing them into debt that is 200% of GDP. This debt is going to bankrupt this country and ruin the lives of half the nation. But there are no protests about this.

Do people actually think the Japanese are going to protest what a tiny village in eastern Japan does? That’s laughable.

Either way, there’s no way that masses of Japanese people would ever go see the Cove, as it is about a disgusting subject. I’m sure Americans, too, would be rushing to theaters this weekend to spend their leisure time and money by watching a movie that deals in subject matter like the slaughter of animals with all the blood and gore. My, can you imagine? What a fun first date or family outing that would be. I’m sure my wife and kid would be thrilled… “Let’s go watch the cute dolphins gets clubbed… On second thought, honey, let’s go see Toy Story 3…”

I’d like to add here that, if the makers of The Cove were truly sincere about their motivations in protecting the whales and dolphins, and how, if they truly believed that if the Japanese saw the movie, they’d demand the end of this whaling and dolphin killing, then they’d make the entire movie free on Youtube. Other people with a message have made theirs free, why doesn’t the makers of The Cove do the same? Trust that Youtube has hundreds of millions more viewers than the movie theaters in Japan ever could hope to have. But, you know what? The Cove is not available on Youtube; only trailers for sales promotion are available. There goes their credibility.

And don’t tell me that they can’t give the movie away for free because then they won’t make any money; just look at Google. Google gives away almost everything for free and they are one of the biggest money making companies in the world.

So just keep that in mind when you think about this problem and are bursting veins in your neck screaming about how evil these Japanese fishermen are.

Face facts, even if the average Japanese did see the movie, it wouldn’t alter their thinking so much. They still couldn’t really care less about this, as they don’t see it as a problem. And, no, it hasn’t anything to do with “Westerners eat cows, don’t they?” I think you’d find that almost all foreigners who have lived in Japan for any length of time believe that western reaction to this problem is way overblown.

It has to do with the hypocrisy of the west and westerners. Let me explain it how I see it.

I gather that, because Japan was such a desperately poor country for so many centuries, that it is ingrained into the Japanese psyche that the #1 priority for people is survival. Until you’ve walked in your neighbor’s shoes, then you shouldn’t judge what they do in order to survive, as long as they do not harm other people.

My dear deceased father-in-law used to tell me, “American people worry about how they will spend their vacations. Japanese people worry about how they will survive.” I gathered that this saying has been around in Japan for over 100 years.

The hypocrisy of the west lies in the fact that westerners and western society (Americans, British, Australians, especially) will spend their time pointing fingers at the Japanese for fishing practices while they conveniently ignore little things like invading the countries and dropping bombs on the homes of dark skinned people, most recently children in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Somalia, etc., You know, killing and maiming two-year-old girls, boys, old people and pregnant women…

This disconnect makes people with common sense wonder “What the heck are these people who get furious about whaling and dolphin hunting, etc., thinking about?” And “Where the heck are their priorities?”

When people begin to love their fellow human and quit the wars, then perhaps, they can have a believable pulpit to complain about the slaughter of whales or dolphins. Until then, it is nonsense.

Let me give you some facts. The people in question in the movie The Cove are from a tiny fishing village in eastern Japan called, Taiji in Wakayama Prefecture. The Taiji people have been hunting whales and dolphins since the 17th century. Taiji is the traditional whaling village in Japan. They’ve been doing this for centuries and even have whaling festivals. The dolphin hunt is an annual event. The dolphins that are killed are not an endangered species. I certainly think that the activities of a small fishing village in Japan will probably not hurt the population of dolphins or whales. They have, after all, been doing this fishing for 300 years.

Woodblock print of Whaling in Taiji from the Edo Period (at least 150 years ago)

Further research shows that Taiji is a minute fishing village with a total area under 4 square miles in size with a population of something like 3,400 people…. If the total population of Taiji is 3,400, how many able bodied fishermen are there? 300? 400? People don’t actually think that the fishing practices of this group of villagers are going to destroy the global population of whales or dolphin population, do they?

Some advocates of the Cove claim that the dolphin meat is pumped full of mercury and that these people in Taiji are poisoning themselves eating the dolphin meat. So we have to stop them. Well, which is it? Are these “Cove folks” worried about the people of Taiji getting mercury poisoning or are they worried about the dolphins getting killed? Get the story straight. Japanese people, on the average live seven years longer than Americans; do you hear the Japanese complaining that Americans are pumping themselves full of processed food poisons and sodium-laden fast food? No, you don’t.

I’d like to think that Japanese adults are able to decide their own diet menu by themselves, thank you very much.

If people are stupid enough to want to eat food that is high in mercury, then that is their choice. If people are stupid enough to eat processed food constantly and walk around 50 ~ 100 kilograms overweight, well, then that is their choice too.

A good analogy is: if people want to drive a car without a seatbelt, then let them do that too.

How can anyone from the USA, Canada, Oceania or NATO country complain about the killing of whales and dolphins in Japan when that person does nothing to stop their own government complicity in the bombing, maiming and killing millions of innocents, children, old people and women?

The killing of these animals is seasonal, but the killing of children by the US government (Australian, NATO, etc.) goes on around the clock, around the world, 365 days and nights of the year in a slaughter that continues even to this very day.

What right do these people have to say anything about the killing of whales and dolphins in Japan?

I think none.

But, I am against the censorship of the Cove, or any other movie for that matter.