Researcher aims to bust Japan ‘whale-eating’ myth

It is a cliche and it is far from reality: Japanese diners chomping on whale meat over sake.

But this is what Junko Sakuma heard a Japanese representative describe when pressing the case for whaling at a meeting of the International Whaling Commission in 2003. The 55-year-old activist was attending as an observer from the environmental pressure group Greenpeace.

Sakuma is now a researcher with no grudge against those who eat whale meat: in fact, she says, she herself has become good at cooking it. But she says her investigations show annual consumption per head is less than 30 grams — and any attempt to paint Japan as a “whale-eating nation” is a gross distortion of its culinary tradition.

The fiction began with a government-backed propaganda campaign in the 1970s.

“I admit there is a whale-eating tradition in some regions, parts of Chiba and Wakayama, for example, but we can’t call it a (national) eating culture,” Sakuma said.

Click here to read the full story from the Japan Times >


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