The June 5 article “More cinemas cancel plans to screen ‘Cove’ ” reports on the Japanese extreme right’s attempts to disrupt screenings of the film. The majority of the public must find rightwing harassment disturbing, believing it should be left to individuals to decide whether they want to see the film or not.
However, after a series of failures in what appears to be an attempt to destroy the economic lifeline for Taiji (Wakayama Prefecture), activists may want to reconsider their aggressive and self-righteous tactics, which have hurt Japanese feelings nationwide to the extent that even those who might normally react with disgust to the annual dolphin kill are put off from rationally looking into the issue.
Anybody would be repulsed by what is thought to be unfair insults to one’s family. Very few would embrace strangers who call their hardworking dad a monster, or their sweet granny a witch. Protective feelings toward the mother country is in our DNA. This feeling is under-recognized. Distasteful and brutal name-calling is disturbing. It offends even the least patriotic of us, triggering a defense mechanism — especially when activists are ignorant of hardships and struggles in Japan’s history.
By using the influential and manipulative power of Hollywood, the only success the activists can claim is to have help forged a racist consensus in the international community: The Japanese are a cruel race. Activists’ lack of diplomacy and demonizing strategies raise questions about their integrity, and make us wonder what ulterior motive lurks behind all the provocations.
The activists may want to take a more compassionate approach to reach Japanese people. They should try constructive dialogue if they sincerely want to save dolphins’ lives.
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