Japanese town marks start of whaling season by carving up animal in front of a crowd of school children
Next generation given demonstration of centuries-old tradition
Thursday 26 June 2014
To mark the start of Japan’s whaling season, workers in the coastal town of Minamiboso, 62 miles south of Tokyo, carved up one of the animals before a crowd of school children and residents and handed out free samples of its fried meat.
The annual event took place in the town’s Wada district, a week into Japan’s first coastal whaling season since a global court halted the better-known Antarctic whaling in March.
Though environmentalists condemn whaling, Japan maintains it is an important part of its food heritage. Wada is proud of its centuries-old traditions and takes pains to hand them on to its children.
A class of 10-year-olds from the town’s primary school stood transfixed as workers hauled a nine-metre whale, killed the previous night, up a concrete ramp.
“This part is the fat. If you’re scared, close your eyes,” said Yoshinori Shoji, president of the Gaibo Hogei whaling company, as one of the workers sawed off the whale’s skin and fat, exposing the dark meat and entrails.
“They’re so skilful,” some of the children said. But others gasped in horror.
Whale is a rarity on most Japanese tables, but Wada residents regularly eat it at home and in school lunches.
“It’s so good,” said Taishi Makino, one of the pupils.
In Wada, souvenir shops, restaurants, supermarkets and whale speciality stores line the streets, selling whale meat products and dishing up everything from whale sushi to fried whale.
“Here in Wada we eat whales. Every family eats whale at least once during the summer whaling season,” said Michiyo Masuda, the students’ teacher. “If we are eating whales, we have the responsibility to see and learn how they’re prepared.”
At her school, 10-year-olds study the biology of whales, the history of whaling and how to cook the meat.
“For us, whale is food. Whaling is a good tradition, and I want to pass on the trade before I die,” said Mr Shoji, who gives talks in schools and whose firm processes and sells whale.
Japan’s international whaling programme suffered a blow when in March the International Court of Justice ordered a halt to its “scientific whaling” programme in the Antarctic. Japan agreed to cancel whaling in the Southern Ocean for 2014-2015.
- 3 Oil tanker with $100 million cargo goes missing off Texas coast
- 5 Medina: Saudis take a bulldozer to Islam's history
YouTube video posted by Isis militants shows 'execution of 250 Syrian soldiers'
Keira Knightley topless: Usually conservative actress does own take on #Freethenipple campaign for Interview Magazine
Oil tanker with $100 million cargo goes missing off Texas coast
George Galloway left with severe bruising after attack in Notting Hill by man 'shouting about the Holocaust'
Brother and sister, Christopher Buckner and Timothy Savoy, arrested for 'committing incest after watching 'The Notebook''
Robin Williams Emmys tribute led by Billy Crystal criticised for including 'racist' joke about Muslim woman
The Rotherham child abuse scandal is a tale of apologists, misogyny and double standards
Scottish independence TV debate: Pumped-up Alex Salmond bounces back in bruising second round against Alistair Darling
Do you realise just how foolish the UK looks?
Ukip Douglas Carswell defection: Tory MP jumps ship to join Nigel Farage
When elitism grips the top of British society to this extent, there is only one answer: abolish private schools
- < Previous
- Next >
Negotiable: Randstad Education Plymouth: Year 5 Primary Teaching positionRands...
£45000 - £69999 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: C# Algo-Develo...
£60000 - £70000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: Senior Data Sc...
£50000 - £80000 per annum + benefits+bonus+package: Harrington Starr: Data Sci...