by ecorazzicontributor
Categories: Animals, Causes
Tags: , .

One of the problems with documentaries is that the people who should see it most (i.e. the people closest to the events in the film) usually never see it at all. Case in point: how many Republican senators do you think saw Michael Moore‘s “Sicko”?

Louie Psihoyos, director of last year’s Best Documentary Oscar winner “The Cove,” thought of a way to fix this problem: he sent copies of the Academy Award winning documentary, dubbed in Japanese, to every household in the fishing village of Taiji in Japan. The village was featured in the film, which unveiled the horrific slaughter of dolphins just off the coast of Taiji.

“The people in Taiji deserve to know what millions of others around the world have learned about their town,” said Psihoyos. Most of the Japanese people featured in the film were unaware of the hunt or the sale of dolphin meat.

A local group called People Concerned for the Ocean helped to distribute copies of the movie by mail to each household in the village. As of now, Taiji City Hall has confirmed that at least two copies of the DVD have been received and that neither had been watched yet.

Will any of them be watched? Hopefully at least a few Taiji residents will pop in the DVD and take a look. After all, it just takes a few people to start spreading the word. The best way to get dolphin hunters in Taiji to stop slaughtering thousands of dolphins is to get the residents of Taiji up in arms about it.

Do you agree? Disagree? Let us know!

  • km

    I agree that it’s good that it’s out there. Knowledge is power. I’m scared though that the result will not be one that we’ll like and may even be the opposite of what we want but why not try?

    Kudos to Louie and the others for persisting in getting the film out there despite all the obstacles they have faced.

    As to your analogy to Sicko, point taken but there is so much information disseminated here all the time about cruelty to animals and look where we are.

    Also, are we sure that the residents of Taiji don’t know about the slaughter? I am not suggesting Louie is lying and have met him at a few events so think he’s a totally genuine guy who I respect greatly but maybe the people in Taiji just don’t care. Look at the Faroes. Look in our backyard.

  • Amber

    Love it!!! Great job!!!!!!

  • Kevin

    I know that if someone sent me a documentary about how wrong it was to eat cows I would rapidly change my ways. Oh wait I already saw that documentary.

    I wonder if the focus on how whales are an endangered species that appears in the middle of the film will remove the blinds from Japanese eyes regarding the hunting of a non-endangered species? Those highly relevant points to the dolphin issue such as that small countries vote along with Japan on whaling issues will really turn this town around!

    Maybe someone should do them the additional favor of sending them brochures from the whale watching expeditions in the Carribean since “Knowledge is power” and the interview trick providing innuendo that Carribean nations have no whales can be deflated.

  • Eric Southard

    great idea, hope it works out

  • imforthewhales

    Next year, send them a copy of “pirate for the sea”.

    Good work!

  • Carissa

    I think it’s a great idea. It’s great that more and more people are waking up to the realities of what’s happening in Taiji, but it’s the local residents who are the ones best able to help implement change.

  • herwin

    I hope Taiji will take revence and send a copy of Meet Your Meat to each household in Hollywood !!! :-P

  • Maria Romano Trampe’

    I absolutely agree, I think it was a wonderful way to give them the option of watching it, I just hope some of them actually do and begin to really press for change. I simply think that most people just do not WANT to know what is happening in this world and thus purposely close their eyes to it so that they can remain lazy and unaffected.

    • Kevin

      Or they like eating dolphin and see no harm in it due to the longstanding traditions. In fact, I wonder if they see even more harm in eating four legged animals given the fact that their ancestors lived under a four hundred year ban on eating mammal meat other than from the sea?

      But then actual comprehension of the cultural issues is a silly goal… let’s just condemn other cultures that don’t think like us, they’ll come around!!!

      • AnimuX

        According to Jun Morikawa, author of “Whaling in Japan: Power, Politics, and Diplomacy”, eating whale and dolphin was only ever a tradition in isolated coastal villages.

        In fact, whales were worshiped and never eaten in other parts of Japan (an aspect of Japanese culture that pro-whaling interests consistently fail to mention).

        Today, whaling is continued in order to support entrenched bureaucrats (amakudari) who often leave their government positions to take high paying jobs in the commercial whaling industry they once oversaw (and secured tax-funded subsidies for) as public officials.

        Morikawa often refers to the national tradition of whaling as “invented”.

        Whale meat was only ever a “substitute meat” during the post WWII recovery. As soon as Japanese families could afford other meats, the demand for whale declined (even when it was cheaper than other options). The demand for whale meat has consistently dropped since the 1960s. Today only a small fraction of the Japanese population actually consumes whale and dolphin meat.

        Of course, it is easier to suggest that one is culturally ignorant rather than actually address the many valid reasons for opposing whaling.

      • Kevin

        Your point that eating whale and dolphin was only ever a tradition in isolated coastal villages matters little, true or not. This story is about sending a video to the residents of an isolated coastal village. Taiji is an isolated coastal village. My comments about sensitivity to the culture were sensitivity to the culture of an isolated coastal village.

        Where the culture has been eating marine mammals for a lot longer than the period covered by Morikawa’s book, but I’m glad he acknowledges that this has been a tradition in Taiji and other villages. He seems to comprehend the cultural history.

        Also, whales are not dolphins and you are conflating the issues.

      • Michael Raymer

        Isolated coastal villages have to change with the times along with everyone else. And when the water of an entire bay becomes vivid red with blood, it’s a little late to be talking about sensitivity, don’t you think?

      • Kevin

        A lot more blood is spilled from animals here in the US, it just doesn’t photograph as well.

        I think there’s a lot more weight to an argument made by an American fighting livestock raising in the US due to belief in vegetarianism. I will defend that person’s right to make the argument within our shared society and consider their points carefully. If a group of Sudanese came here and told me that our practices were wrong and needed to change, I’d tell them to go home. If they started to distribute pamphlets stating their beliefs I’d support escorting them there.

      • Michael Raymer

        Your comparison doesn’t carry much weight. There are documentaries about the US livestock industry. These docs have convinced many Americans to become vegetarian/vegan. Their stories are right here on this site. That’s because there is absolutely nothing stopping any American from watching them. Or are you telling me that freedom of speech, freedom of press, or the lack thereof is a “sensitive cultural issue”? We should respect the government that is withholding information from it’s own people? Are you saying that we should support the efforts of those who keep their citizens ignorant?

        Let me ask you this: What exactly is your objection to someone getting a PG-13 rated movie, in the mail, free of charge? And what law should we pass to prevent such an exchange of information, in the future?

      • Kevin

        My comparison is to a foreigner telling an American what to do, which absolutely compares. You’re talking about docs made by Americans telling Americans what to do.

        It’s not about laws, it’s about culture. If someone comes from outside and tells me what my culture should be or how we should act, I tell them to shove off. I respect the right of the Japanese to do the same.

        Or more precisely, I respect their right to do that regarding hunting in their territorial waters. I do not perceive a natural right to hunt whales outside their territorial waters that rises above a need to protect whales from extinction.

  • jessica lee bower

    I think its a great idea, good on u Louie!!! That doco really hit home for me, I was so shocked n disgusted that human beings could b so…..inhumane!!!! I sent it to all my friends to watch n since then most have joined the cause n even recruited their friends n so on. People need to know about this!!!!!

  • Mick

    “Will any of them be watched?”

    Not likely. I saw a news program about it last week. The people that they interviewed said either they weren’t going to watch it or that they threw it in the garbage.
    Besides, the way the “activists” acted in the movie is not likely to garner any sympathy for their cause from the people of Taiji. At the begining of the movie where Ric O’Berry is driving around wearing dark glasses, a surgical mask and a hat pulled down low, for instance. That is the stereotypical way a criminal dresses in Japan.
    This YOUTUBE video pretty well covers the subject.