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David @ Tokyo

Perspective from Japan on whaling and whale meat, a spot of gourmet news, and monthly updates of whale meat stockpile statistics



160 tonnes of whale meat for school lunches

Previously I've covered Japanese media reports from various regions in Japan where whale meat is being used in school lunches. Also I graphed the amount of research whaling by-product meat allocated to "public purposes" (school lunches included) versus total by-product volume.

I found another interesting article along the same theme at isanatori's french blog on whaling.
Let's defend our food culture! Moves to revive whale in school lunches / Yamaguchi

Whale meat is starting to be revived in school lunches in regions where whaling once flourished. Whale meat was representative of school provided lunches during Japan's period of high growth, but had disappeared with the cessation of commercial whaling in 1988. Against the backdrop of no advance in international acceptance for a resumption of commercial whaling, and whale food culture waning even in areas associated with whaling, there is a sense of crisis towards the waning interest in whales.

"The meat seemed hard... but when I tried it it was delicious". On the 8th at Furukawa middle school in Nagato city, Yamaguchi prefecture, whale tatsuta-age appeared on the school lunch menu. Since February the city has been reviving whale in all municipal elementary and middle schools, using whale about twice a year. This was the second time at Furukawa. Opportunities to eat whale in the households of even Nagato city, which flourished with whaling, have declined. Whale is a foodstuff to which students here are unaccustomed, but they carried the whale meat to their mouths with relish.

Nagato city moved to utilise whale in school lunches following the inauguration of the "Nagato Ootsu association for the preservation of whale food culture", which started in 2002 when the annual IWC meeting was held in the neighbouring city of Shimonoseki. Nagato city and other Japan-sea coastal areas in Yamaguchi prefecture flourished with old-style whaling during the Edo period, and whales were deeply associated with everyday life. Whale graves and whale song traditions have been inherited since this time, and a local speciality dish, "Nanban-ni" of whale meat stewed together with burdock remains.

However, with the cessation in commercial whaling, whale meat in circulation was reduced to just a fraction from whales taken in research whaling, and the culture connected with whales has waned. "It's become very difficult to eat in in the home, and housewives no longer know how to prepare a whale meat meal. If we don't proactively put whale meat in school lunches and so forth, even if whaling were resumed, the food culture itself will be gone" says Fuminori Fujii, the curator of the Nagato city's whale museum who also serves as the secretary of the "whale food culture preservation association".

On the 8th at the home economics class prior to lunch, when Furukawa middle school's nutritionist, Kieko Koike and others proposed to a Year 1 class of 28 students "making a different kind of food with today's ingredients", there were no students that imagined food using whale. "The children probably aren't familiar with it", remarked Koike.

This sense of crisis is what is behind moves in recent years to revive whale in school lunches in various regions. In Nagato, it was 30 years since whale meat had been used in school lunches. "Kujira-jaga" and tatsuta-age appeared on menus. The number of schools in Hokkaido, Wakayama and Hyogo using whale in school lunches is on the rise.

Tokyo's Institute of Cetacean Research, which conducts research whaling and other activities sells whale meat destined for use in school lunches at one third of the normal price. According to the institute, in the last fiscal year approximately 160 tonnes of whale meat was used in school lunches, and this volume has been increasing at around 20% each year.

The whale tatsuta-age that appeared at Furukawa middle school on the 8th was gobbled up with most students leaving none left over. "It was good because I don't often have the chance to eat it", was how Year 3 student Yuuki Matsubayashi (14) reflected on the meal. "People who grew up without eating whale are the parental generation now," says Curator Fujii. "If the children eat it, parents too will come to eat it, and this will raise their interest in whales", he hopes.
This is interesting information, as this article puts the annual volume of whale meat for school lunches at 160 tonnes (although increasing by 20%), making this an almost insignificant part of the whale meat market in Japan. As the article suggests, there is significance in that whale meat in school lunches is a useful vehicle for regions to pass on regional whale food cuisine to their future generations.

Another article on whale meat in school lunches in Hakodate (Hokkaido) notes that 76 schools there are running a whale meat lunch there once each year.

* * *

That's it from me in 2007.


Hi, the first time to comment.
I am having the debate on the whaling issue. Since it seems you are familiar with the issue, can I ask a question?

In the debate, the opponent has argued ;
"This statement assumes the premise that whales are not extinct is also assumes that whales are not near extinction and also that they are not on the endangered species or about to be. It is of course, contrary to findings by many other institutions outside of Japan"

"I used to subscribe to New Scientist, Scientific America, Nature and many others, I no longer do, too expensive. I also did not bring all the old editions with me to Japan. Suffice to say there are many sources available."

Is it true that the findings out side Japan indicates the whale Japan is hunting is near extinct.

I watched the video in which a Japanese says that almost all
the scientist agreed that the whales Japan is hunting is nowhere near extinct.

I'd be happy if I can have your opinion.
The debate in question is here.
Dear David@Tokyo:

Would you be so kind as to forward the following two messages to your sidekick Isanatori? I've been reading his stuff on the Greenpeace ESPERANZA weblog, and want to pass a few thoughts on to him directly. They are also addressed to you and anybody else in the pro-whaling community that you think may find them interesting. Thanks. - JG Moebus (S/V WayFinder)


Dear Isanatori:

On what basis do the Japanese or anybody else claim a "Right" to slaughter whales, for food or any other purpose?

Because their government has enough money to outfit a whaling fleet?

Then if I have enough money to outfit an anti-whaling fleet, I have a "right" to stop you and your chums from slaughtering whales, right?

Because I happen to believe that Whales have Rights just like whalers and their government sponsors. Unfortunately, the whales and their rights were not represented when the IWC was set up. Nor are they yet. But that can change. Even in our lifetime. And will, if I have anything to say about it.

The IWC was and is not set up to protect whales; it is set up to manage the so-called "sustainability" of whaling (see following comment) so as to maximize the profits for those who invest in whalers. That is why the IWC will ultimately fail: because there is no profit to be made in whaling. There hasn't been for a long, long time.

If there was, your Japanese, Norwegian, and Icelandic whaling fleets would not require taxpayer-funded government subsidy to even exist, let alone survive.

(You and your sidekick David@Tokyo are big on waving numbers around: how about some profit and loss statements for Japanese whalers for the last 30 years? "Not For Profit!!!" you say? Fine, then show us some operating expenses and revenue statements. And I'm not talking about the Japanese seafood companies who buy the "scientific" by-catch; I'm talking about the organization and operation that actually kills the whales.)

"Right To Life, Right To Freedom of Speech and Thought and Assembly, Right To Breathable Air and Drinkable Water, Right To Protection From Governments and Other Criminals...," these I understand. But, the "right" to kill and eat whale? Is that in the U.N. Charter someplace that I missed?

Please do not confuse "needs and wants" (or intent to make profit regardless of the suffering inflicted upon others) with "rights."

JG Moebus
S/V Wayfinder
Half Moon Bay, CA

2. ON so-called "SUSTAINABILITY"

Dear Isanatori:

On 29 DEC, you posted to Greenpeace's ESPERANZA blog: "Besides Norway has been whaling commercially and sustainably for 14 years now. So GP's assumption that whaling cannot be sustainable is wrong."

Permit me to ask the honorable representative of and spokesman for "sustainable" whale slaughtering one simple question:

On what grounds, Isanatori, do you define Norway's whaling as
"sustainable"? Whose definition of "sustainability" are you using?
Norway's? Japan's? The IWC's? Yours and David@Tokyo's? George W Bush's?

"Sustainability" as a rationale, justification, and excuse starts with
the assumption that the whales are there specifically for human
consumption, to be used as humans deem appropriate, and that as long as
we conduct the slaughter "scientifically" and "sustainably," then it is
OK because there will always be enough whales around for us to keep
slaughtering "sustainably," sort of like the way we slaughter chickens and cows and pigs and the like. The best part about harvesting whales, tho, is that we don't have to feed and shelter them like chicken, cow, and pig farmers do their crops.

Major reduction in capital outlay and thus much higher profits, eh?
Why is it, then, that your Japanese (Norwegian, Icelandic) whalers can't make a profit on their own efforts, and have to be subsidized by their government?

In the absence of an army of Mocha Dicks (the sperm whale that
destroyed several whaling ships and killed dozens of South Pacific
whalers back in the mid-1800s) or a navy of U.S. Confederacy raiders
like the Shenandoah (which captured and destroyed 37 Yankee whalers up
in the Bering Sea back in 1865 at the end of the American War of
Rebellion), those who would protect the whales from those who view them
only as so much crop to be harvested for optimal profit resort to
efforts such as that launched by Greenpeace and Sea Shepherd. And the
terms "army" and "navy" are not at all inappropriate. For, my friend,
this is indeed a War.

A War To Save The Whales. My argument elsewhere on this blog that GP
and SSCS should be cooperating and coordinating their efforts against
the Japanese whalers is based on an old concept that runs: in a War,
sometimes, The Enemy of My Enemy is My Friend.

Unless, of course, one doesn't consider the Whalers to be "an enemy,"
but some sort of poor, misguided, maleducated infidel needing only
understanding, education, and a proper Crusader re-orientation as to
what is Right and Good and Decent and True. But I can assure you that,
to the Whales, the Whalers are more than misbenighted morons, or even
simply Enemies. To the Whales, the whalers are the Perpetrators of
Genocide. Or, more accurately, Speciecide.

And the crews of the good ships ESPERANZA and STEVE IRWIN are there to
do whatever they can to halt this abomination, this outrage against the
very Fabric of Life on this Planet itself that folks like you and your
chums in the Japanese (and Norwegian and Icelandic) whaling business
blithely dismiss as "sustainable."

I'll take your arguments about so-called "sustainability" more
seriously when there is solid evidence presented that human beings are
reproducing on, and consuming and destroying, this planet at a
"sustainable" rate. Starting right there in Japan.

Until then, leave the whales alone. They have
enough problems trying to survive in oceans that the humans are
rendering unfit for any form of life.

JG Moebus
S/V WayFinder
Half Moon Bay, CA
Oh, and, David...Both of you gentlemen might appreciate this. By the way, may you both and all that you love, EXCEPT the slaughtering of whales, have A VERY GOOD YEAR....Or as my Burmese Buddhist monk teacher might say, "May all pro-whalers be happy, peaceful, and well. And whaleless."

AN OPEN LETTER TO GREENPEACE: CONCERNING GREENPEACE AND SEA SHEPHERD COOPERATION/COORDINATION IN SOUTHERN OCEAN WHALE SANCTUARY ANTI-WHALING CAMPAIGN; Or, “...if any whales die because Greenpeace refuses to cooperate with Sea Shepherd, who's fault is it? Paul Watson's for
being an irreconcilable asshole, or Greenpeace's for being some holier-than-thou band of neo-Quakerist fundamentalists?”

Mr Rick Gentry
702 H Street NW, Suite 300
Washington, DC 20001

Dear Mr Gentry:

Thank you for your response to my repeated requests for information.

I am not asking Greenpeace to ram Japanese whaling ships or to compromise its self-proclaimed ideological and methodological integrity or purity. I am merely asking Greenpeace to accept the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society's (SSCS) offer to share its aviation asset with you, and for you to share any information (primarily sighted whaling ship coordinates) that you might have with SSCS, so as to put a coordinated and expanded and thus more effective anti-whaling presence in the Southern Ocean. The only ones who will gain by your refusal to do this are the Japanese; the only ones who will suffer will be the whales.

Are you actually telling me that if the Sea Shepherd vessel STEVE IRWIN finds the whaling fleet and broadcasts its location to Greenpeace's ESPERANZA, that your people won't use that information to move into contact with the fleet and begin your own witness/harassment operations? Are you actually saying that? Is Greenpeace actually prepared to have ESPERANZA spend the whole whaling season down there without any contact with the Japanese if that means that it will be thus able to keep to its promise (to whom, one wonders?) not to cooperate and coordinate with SSCS? And are you saying that if ESPERANZA finds the fleet, that it will not share that information with the STEVE IRWIN, the only other people on the entire face of this planet in a position to do, actually DO something -- ANYthing -- about preventing yet more whale slaughtering while and where it is actually happening? Is that truly Greenpeace's position, desire, and intent?

You wrote: "(Greenpeace's efforts have played) a massive role in bringing us to the point of a global whaling moratorium and Japan isolated in the international spotlight for it's current activities."

I beg your pardon? There HAS been a Moratorium against killing whales for more than 20 years and during that period, almost 30,000 whales have been killed, primarily by the Japanese (and that's just what the whale killers will admit to). So, how has Greenpeace protected the whales? And, how has Greenpeace "isolated" Japan? Far from being isolated, Japan has been joined by both Norway and Iceland in its so-called "scientific" whaling, and both of these nations are working with Japan to bring bought and paid-for client nations into membership in the IWC so as to be able to ultimately vote to overturn the Moratorium. Either that, or they will form their own version of an IWC and proceed with their illegal and immoral whaling, and they won't even have to pretend that it's "scientific" any more. Your statement above is without foundation in fact.

And, exactly how successful does Greenpeace claim to be? If 30,000 whales have been killed since the Moratorium went into effect, how many can Greenpeace claim to have saved, actually physically saved, by being right there in the face of the whalers, on the ocean, bearing witness? A dozen? A score? Four score? More?

Sea Shepherd, on the other hand, has sunk, scuttled, damaged, or destroyed 10 acknowledged pirate or outlaw whalers since even before the Moratorium started. How many whales does Greenpeace give Sea Shepherd credit for saving by having eliminated from the face of the earth: the pirate whalers Sierra, Susan, Theresathe, Senet and Morild, the outlaw whalers Isba I, Isba II, and Nybraena, and the illegal whaling ships Hvalur 6 and Hvalur 7? (All, incidently, rendered unfit for further whale slaughter without any loss of life or injury to humans or other animals.) Does Sea Shepherd get any credit for this, or, like Colonel Kurtz in APOCALYPSE NOW, are their methods "Unsound," and thus to be waved aside as irrelevant to the War To Save The Whales?

Because, my friend, that is exactly what this is: a War To Save The Whales. And in a War, sometimes, The Enemy of My Enemy is My Friend. Unless, of course, one doesn't consider the Whalers to be "an enemy," but some sort of poor, misguided, maleducated infidel needing only understanding, education, and a proper Crusader re-orientation as to what is Right and Good and Decent and True. But I can assure you that, to the Whales, the Whalers are more than misbenighted morons, or even simply Enemies. To the Whales, the whalers are the Perpetrators of Genocide. Or, more accurately, Speciecide.

I wonder how the whales regard Greenpeace's refusal to coordinate and cooperate with Sea Shepherd? Do you think they know? Do you think they understand? Do you think they approve? Or don't their opinions matter?

Finally, your concern, that public discussion about Greenpeace's refusal to cooperate or coordinate with Sea Shepherd is exactly what Japan wants, because it diverts media attention from "Japan's illegal and unethical whale hunt," is equally dubious. Japan doesn't CARE about media coverage on this matter and you know it. Why should it? There is not now nor has there ever been effective media coverage of any consequence. If there had been, Japanese whaling could and would have been halted long ago. What do you think would happen if ABC, NBC, CBS, Fox, and CNN all came out as hard against Japanese "scientific" whaling as they have in favor of the so-called "War" Against so-called "Terrorism"? I wonder if the real problem isn't that GP is reluctant to see SSCS get any free publicity at its expense, or even mentioned in the same news item.

Please understand that I am not challenging the honor, integrity, or bravery of any of the crew onboard the ESPERANZA down there in the Southern Ocean. But I indeed do have serious questions, however, about the methods, tactics, strategies, intentions, and objectives of the "deciders" (to quote The Village Idiot of Crawford, Texas) parked in your executive offices there in DC and in Amsterdam.

The whales only hope may be that there is a spy on board ESPERANZA who will send out clandestine position reports as happened a couple of years ago, and that somebody in the radioroom will monitor SSCSs broadcasts of position reports, and that somebody in the bridge has the courage, integrity, and honesty to use that information to effect. For, Mr Gentry, if any whales die because Greenpeace refuses to cooperate with Sea Shepherd, who's fault is it? Paul Watson's for being an irreconcilable asshole, or Greenpeace's for being some holier-than-thou band of neo-Quakerist fundamentalists?

On a separate but related matter: What is Greenpeace's position on organizing a Total Boycott of all Japanese, Icelandic, and Norwegian goods, products, and services as a tactic and strategy in The War To Save The Whales? Has this ever been considered at the Executive level? If so, when, and with what outcome? If not, why not, and, could it be?

Thank you for your consideration. I look forward to your response. And, may you and all that you love, and everyone at Greenpeace (especially on the ESPERANZA) and all that they love, have A Very Good Year. And may all the Whales, and all that THEY Love, have An Extraordinarily Very Good Year.

May all Suffering and Sorrow be done. For Each, and All, and Every One.


Jeff Moebus
S/V WayFinder
Montara, CA

cc: SSCS
Standard Media Distribution
Dear David@Tokyo:

I have a number of more detailed and specific Questions I’d like to ask you and Isanatori (or anybody else with knowledge of the situation) beyond what I asked in my previous three posts. They have been posted to Jennifer Marohasy’s Blog, and all I’m trying to do is get exposure, just like you. I will similarly post to HNA.

1. I would like to know if anybody here can direct me to real world facts, figures, and bottom-line data that will demonstrate whether or not the Japanese, Norwegian, and Icelandic whaling industries are in fact profitable, whether or not there is a "sustainable" return-on-investment for the commercial whaling that has been undertaken by these three nations since 1) the beginning of the Moratorium in 1986 and, 2) before that, since the end of WW II.

2. It is my further understanding that each of these nations' governments subsidize their commercial whaling fleets because otherwise these fleets would not be able to stay in business for the simple reason that they are in actual point of fact un-sustainably UNprofitable and have been, particularly since the onset of the post-WWII mega-slaughter of the great whales.

3. It is finally my understanding that without significant taxpayer-funded subsidization by their governments, the Japanese, Norwegian, and Icelandic whaling industries would have been shut down long ago. Can anyone point me to actual business operation and finance data from these governments or industries that would either confirm or contradict this understanding?

4. I admit total ignorance of the situation in Norway and Iceland, and request someone tell me where I can learn how these fleets dispose of their catch, to whom, and, historically and today, at what rate of return on whose investment (private and/or public).

5. I think I understand that in Japan, by-catch of the Japanese "scientific" whaling fleet is sold predominantly to the major Japanese seafood processing corporations for considerable revenue, and that these processors are in turn doing quite well selling that "scientifically" procured whale meat to dog food producers, the Japanese public school systems, hospitals, prisons (god help the Japanese prisoner who doesn't want to eat whale, eh?)and, to a lesser degree, the national restaurant and home food industries. Can someone tell me where I can go to learn: 1) exactly how much annual revenue "scientific" whaling has generated for Japan's ICR since its inception (as well as data regarding its total operating expenses for the same period); 2) exactly how much money the Japanese seafood processing industry has made disposing of the by-catch of that "scientific" whaling?; and 3) how much supporting the Japanese whaling industry has costs the Japanese taxpayer (by subsidizing the ICR, by buying whale meat for school lunches, hospital and prison meals, etc etc etc). Please correct me if my understanding of the situation regarding the Japanese whaling fleet is incorrect.

6. Can anybody who regularly contributes and participates in the exchanges on this at least seemingly evidently pro-whaling and free trade/free market/free enterprise-loving blog tell me exactly how much commercial whaling ("scientific" or otherwise) actually costs the taxpayers of the only three nations on the planet to engage in non-subsistence whaling? What is the actual cost to those taxpayers: what has it been and what is it anticipated to be in the near-term future (1-5 years out)? In other words, what’s in the respective federal budgets of these nations for keeping their whaling fleets afloat?

7. My working hypothesis is that these three fleets are able to stay in operation ONLY because of taxpayer subsidization by their governments, and that that fact in itself demonstrates that they are not viable commercial enterprises and are therefore not ECONOMICALLY sustainable, except at great cost to the individual citizen-taxpayers of their respective nations. For, I too am fanatically anti-government interference in the marketplace (I believe in the separation of market and state for the same reason I believe in the separation of church and state) and believe quite frankly that subsidization, like taxation, is theft. Not just some of the time and not just for politically-incorrect activities (such as health, education, welfare, housing, transportation, and the like), but for everything.

8. Is there any way to confirm or rebut reports of large or "huge" stocks of Norwegian slaughtered whale meat having been first stockpiled in warehouses and then later destroyed because there is no domestic market for it, and that attempts to sell it to Japanese seafood processors were rebuffed because the Japanese have more whalemeat on hand than they can use or get rid of themselves?

9. I am informed by persons familiar with the situation that Norwegian whaling is wrapped in a shroud of secrecy, that the very sort of facts, data, and information that I seek is classified as a matter of “state security.” Is the Norwegian government trying to hide something? Are the facts, data, and information that I seek about Japan’s whaling activity similarly classified and for the same reason? Is this Japan and Norway's moral equivalent of America's so-called "War" Against so-called "Terrorism" in which all manner of abominations are perpetrated against "enemies" (both foreign and domestic) and kept ultra top secret, all in the name of Fatherland Security?

10. And finally, it is my understanding that there have been (recent?) disclosures of gross, open, bald-faced lying by what used to be called the Soviet Union on how many whales its fleets actually slaughtered when they were still in business. Questions:

a. What is the best source for facts, evidence, and proof of this lying?

b. What is the basis for trusting Japan, Norway, and Iceland to accurately and truthfully report the number of whales that their fleets are slaughtering today? Are there independent observers not affiliated with these nationalized industries actually on board these whaling ships who actually and accurately count, record, and report the number of whales actually killed?

c. Have there ever been any instances where Japan, Norway, or Iceland have actually been caught lying about their whale kills, or where independent observers have regularly and systematically been able to actually confirm and verify their reported whale takings?

d. What, if any, punishments were levied against the former Soviet Union for its lying. What punishments were levied against Japan, Norway, or Iceland if they ever have been caught lying about their whale kills?

11. I will present my working hypothesis and research questions regarding the so-called ECOLOGICAL "sustainability" of the whaling conducted by Japan, Norway, and Iceland at a future time.

12. Before finishing, David@Tokyo, permit me to commend you for your efforts on behalf of commercial whaling. While your Blogspot is not nearly so flashy as theirs, you are clearly in the same league as the folks over at High North Alliance (www.highnorth.no). They and you are both very good at what you do, very very good: good spinmeistering, good propaganda, good obfuscation, distortion, and omission. And just enough fact, truth, and reality to make the whole thing credible, particularly to the confused and/or uninformed who are just looking for somebody to tell them what to believe. You are both excellent mouthpieces. If you ever decide you want to go to work for a living, you would fit very well into the Realm of America's Corporate Media and its function as mouthpiece, cheerleader, champion, and hired gun for the American government.

13. In conclusion, I wonder if there is any place on The Planet where one can find out the Real, Actual TRUTH. About anything. Everybody has an Agenda to advance and defend, and therefore any and everybody else's Agenda must and will be attacked. When the lights go out, I wonder if we won't have simply argued ourselves into Extinction without ever even having heard, let alone actually listened to, what the other guy was trying to say. Ah well. Such is the Way, the Destiny, and the Doom of The Talking Ape, eh? It’s not easy living at the End of The Age of Men.

13. Thank you for your assistance and consideration.


JG Moebus
S/V WayFinder
Half Moon Bay, CA

cc: HNA
Standard Media
you have a new troll.
Unfortunately, like the others he just spouts the same drool; although you just have to love the references to his "Burmese Buddhist monk teacher".
The commune is obviously letting them out early this year.
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