• Hayama, Kanagawa


In Peter Wynn Kirby’s splendid op-ed June 20, “Japan’s tale of two stockpiles,” he mentions that besides the problematic stockpile of plutonium, there is the similarly problematic mountainous stockpile of frozen whale meat for which there is now so little demand.

It is my feeling that the Japanese insistence on continuing whaling is largely a matter of “face” and that the British and American Greenpeace violence in trying to stop whaling is a result of the postwar generation’s having forgotten that their own countries also were once busily engaged in what was a highly respected industry. Whaling was what motivated Commodore Matthew Perry to open up Japan! Now that whaling is no longer profitable, it has sadly become an excuse for Japan-bashing.

Isn’t it time that former and current whaling nations sit down together and respectfully acknowledge each other’s former whaling traditions? Fish-eating Japan sought whales mainly for food, while Britain and America’s whaling was for commercial products such as oil for lamps, whalebone for ladies’ corsets, and perfumery.

Japan’s whaling tradition led to the production of beautiful wood-block prints. Also, many fine documentary films were produced for the edification and entertainment of the Western public. When I was a child in Yokohama, exciting whaling films were often the highlight of film shows at our birthday parties.

So, instead of former whaling nations calling each other names and wasting so much energy on violent nonsense, why can’t we get together like compatible friends, tell each other how much we admire each other’s whaling pasts, agree that whaling is now no longer necessary and work together for the environment?

The opinions expressed in this letter to the editor are the writer’s own and do not necessarily reflect the policies of The Japan Times.

dorothy bouchier

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