Former dolphin hunter Izumi Ishii used to capture dolphins off the coast of Japan and slit their throats. Now, he’s a changed man, joining the fight to stop the so called Japanese tradition.
According to Ishii, the hunt is not a centuries long tradition as the government claims but something that didn’t start until 1969 when his mentors in Futo, Shizuoka Prefecture, started using the emission of sounds that caused the dolphins to panic to capture them. That is the modus operandi of hunters in Taiji today who use long metal bars with bell shaped ends to make sounds that confuse the dolphins. Then the hunters encircle them with boats, leading them to coves where they are picked and killed one by one.
Ishii made his revealing statements last week when joined by dolphin activist and former Flipper trainer, Ric O’Barry at Temple University’s Azuma Hall in Tokyo. Both men spoke to Japanese and foreign residents about the issue of dolphin slaughter and how it is in their hands to end it.
Ishii claimed that he will be starting a major signature campaign and that if enough people show their disapproval by signing it, the government will be forced to reevaluate.
After slaughtering dolphins for decades, Ishii had a change of heart after seeing the scale in which the animals were being killed during the drives. He said they were highly intelligent creatures and never attempted to bite him even as he slit their throats.
Proving that it’s never too late to make the right decision, Ishii now not only speaks against the dolphin drives but runs eco-tours for tourists so they can see the beauty of dolphins up close and understand what amazing creatures they are.
Photo Credit: Flickr