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Sunday, January 2, 2011

A Little Taiji History

The Whalers of Taiji began to use harpoons in the 12th Century; before that people had to depend on whales washing ashore.   During the mid 1800's, Western Nations moved in, decimating the coastal whale populations and wasting so much of the whales; like the sealers of Canada who take just the fur pelts from the seal pups they slaughter while the Inuit people of the North waste nothing .  The people of Taiji looked on with the same horror that we now do when we witness the dolphin slaughter.  They turned to the pilot whales and other cetaceans for their survival. 

From the Internet:  "By 1822, thirty ships were whaling off Japan. By 1846, together with Russian, British, Dutch and French ships, as well as the big American whaling fleet, there were seven hundred or more vessels hunting off Japan, killing right whales, humpback whales, grey whales and sperm whales in great numbers. However, unlike the shore-based Japanese, the foreign ships had no use for meat or bones, and certainly not for entrails. They killed for oil, baleen, and what little ivory came from the sperm whales. To the Japanese, the wastage of those years is a horror story."

But I feel certain that the dolphin drive must be replaced with something...such as Eco Tourism built around such local attractions as the Dolphin families swimming by, Onsens, Surfing, Kayaking, Hiking, the rugged beauty of the area, and much more.  There are now roads and rail lines into Taiji;  the people  no longer need to depend strictly upon the sea for survival, if they have alternative employment.   In my opinion traditions should revolve and evolve around keeping nature in balance...Ninja philosophy is "harmony with nature".  And if Organizations from the West can offer a helping hand; all the sooner the dolphin killings will end.  While surfing Jeffrey's Bay, South Africa....would awake at dawn and marvel at all the different species of dolphins and whales breaking the surface....making life more beautiful.

1 comment:

  1. Leslie,

    I agree with your thoughts. Although I have my own blog primarily for whales, I by no means exclude dolphins.

    The only way that Japan will stop slaughtering whales and dolphins will be because of enforced sanctions and loss of profit. And secondly because great documentaries like "the Cove", are put out on an international level.

    There is a balance to life and we as a species ignore it most of the time as we are, unfortunately, species centric. We don't really think about the little guy, whoever or whatever he might be.

    And I agree. Eco tourism is the right road. But when you have an island country that consumes upwards of 2000 tuna per day, you can see why they don't really care about keeping the ocean replenished. "After all, it's a big ocean", is the thought process, while ignoring the fact that their own seas are fished out and the Japanese are now going into other waters to capture fish. One trawler can harvest 7,000 tuna in one day.

    Do the math.

    And here we have a very playful, sentient species that on record has saved men and women in the sea. And yet we kill them and contain them from their own pods. For our own profit.

    So I am totally with you. People like you and me, the Qiwis and the Aussies, and Watson are doing their best to stop this slaughter. Let;s hope we win.