Yajima watching the dolphin slaughter with amusement while her cameraman films. Photo: Libby KatsinisTaiji is known as the birthplace of whaling in Japan, and any visitor can see the history oozing from every crack and crevice of this tiny fishing village. Any country, and any town, has a right to be proud of their culture and honor their forefathers that came before them. Growing as a country and as human beings existing together is something that requires change and educated decisions. While sometimes those decisions are not always wise, we must embrace them and learn from our mistakes for culture is something of which a nation should never be ashamed.

While claims that dolphin hunting has been a part of Taiji culture for the past 400 years are true to a certain extent, it is more accurate to say that the popularity of dolphin hunting has grown just in the past 40 years, due to the invention of drive hunting with banger boats and the captive dolphin industry. However, to claim that this annual massacre of sentient beings by the thousands is culture and tradition is absolutely ludicrous. When the act being performed is younger than those carrying it out, it is not culture and it is not history. Having been on the ground in Taiji for nearly three months, and another three weeks before that, I have personally witnessed just how far this village will go to hide the blood and guts that accompany a slaughter of this grand scale. If this is their heritage, why are they so ashamed that they must hide it?  If this truly is an ancient Japanese tradition, then why do only a small number of Japanese people know of this so-called cultural tradition?

The propaganda spread far and wide by the Japanese media about the slaughter and our role in documenting its hopeful end is biased to say the least, portraying Sea Shepherd Conservation Society and the Cove Guardians as racist and hateful. People across this island nation with no prior knowledge of the Taiji dolphin slaughter are deliberately misled by their government and the media into believing that the Cove Guardians are here to cause trouble to increase the donations made to Sea Shepherd, which is quite the contrary as this effort is more of an expense than an avenue to raise funds. The Cove Guardians are steadily raising awareness and increasingly getting more support. However, it's costly maintaining an official representative in Japan for six months, and we very much appreciate the people who understand the need for this campaign and have so generously supported our Cove Guardians. We depend on donations from people to support our actions, but not all Sea Shepherd campaigns raise enough money to pay for themselves. Circumstances dictate that our strategy in Taiji is monitoring the situation for the time being. Not exciting but a necessary part of our overall strategy for the dolphins.

{flv width="420" height="268" img="/images/videos/2011-02-05-Taiji-Japan-Asahi-TV-interview-cut-footage.jpg"}2011-02-05-Taiji-Japan-Asahi-TV-interview-cut-footage{/flv}
Video credit: Andreas Romanowski and Nicole McLachlan(3:38)

The fact that the dolphin drive hunts are a dirty secret kept under wraps by the hierarchy of Japan is not only my opinion, it is supported by the numerous Japanese people who have come to the Cove seeking the truth about Sea Shepherd for themselves. These people travel for hours, sometimes days, to see the well-known Cove Guardians with their own eyes. The ironic part of it all is that most of the Japanese people who visit Taiji, end up as friends and supporters of Sea Shepherd disproving the media propaganda arranged by the country's government.

Studies have shown that the majority of the Japanese population is unaware of the mass genocide that is happening in their own country. It is also a proven fact that the Japanese government is downright deceiving the public by selling dolphin meat with misleading information by labeling it as whale meat. Even worse, dolphin meat contains extremely high levels of mercury, which is essentially poisoning the people who consume it including school children and pregnant mothers. We all know that each country's government has its downfalls and shameful secrets, but the Japanese public has a right to know what their children are eating for lunch in school, and they have a right to know that what they are eating is poisoning them, and will ultimately cause defects in future generations.

A new segment published by TV Asahi 5 that aired on February 5th, was a prime example of the propaganda that is ruthlessly fed to the general public of Japan. The words spoken by the Cove Guardians were twisted against them to favor the slaughter, and the footage was edited in such a fashion that the Cove Guardian quotes were taken out of context. The reporter, a woman from Osaka named Yajima, came to the Cove after hearing about the slaughter because she wanted to taste dolphin meat. She was pro-hunting from the beginning, and had her mind set on portraying the Cove Guardians as extreme activists that were making money from activities such as swimming in the Cove, harassing the fishermen, and disrupting the peace.

Yajima followed the Cove Guardians everywhere we went, and was even caught by members of Save Japan Dolphins hiding in the bushes, on the illegal side of a barricade, filming them while they filmed the slaughter. She even tried to scare us by saying she had filmed us crossing a barricade, which was a false statement as we act in accordance with the law, and claimed that she was going to show the footage to the police, which of course didn't happen. But when we informed her of our footage of her crossing the barricade, she became nervous and quickly changed the subject. Yajima has proven herself time and again to be a subjective, manipulative reporter that will do whatever it takes, including lying and blackmailing, to get a story that she can twist in order to trick her fellow people into believing. This is only one example of media propaganda at its finest.

Yajima's TV Asahi segment was titled "Racists in Taiji," but failed to include any supporting evidence of such a strong title. It also failed to depict the Cove Guardians in an accurate and positive light by including information such as us learning the Japanese language and even practicing it with the policemen at the Cove, showing that we have many Japanese friends and that we are adored and welcomed by many locals, and that I quite often express how much I enjoy Japan and its hospitable people in my Cove Guardian updates.

Off the record, Yajima admitted to us that she used to be an animal researcher and watching dolphins die in Taiji does make her sad, although she believes that the fishermen have every right to perform their job unhindered by anyone. If I were in her shoes and I was in a position where I have an obligation to put aside my personal feelings and report the truth to my country, to the world, but yet I was ambivalent towards something that made me sad, I would feel ashamed, guilty, and deceitful, and I would not be able to look at myself in the mirror. How this woman sleeps at night is beyond me. How she is able to swallow her sadness, her duty to report the unbiased truth, and to film herself eating raw dolphin meat is something that I cannot ever comprehend.

With the knowledge of this propaganda circulating throughout Japan, I wonder what the best solution is or even if there is a solution. Media is a powerful ally, and an even more powerful enemy. I believe that the truth will eventually prevail. And as long as the Sea Shepherd Cove Guardians maintain their course of following Japanese law while exposing what's happening in the Cove, then eventually something will break, and this horrific act of inhumanity not only towards another sentient living being, but also towards the people who are inadvertently poisoned, will come to an end.

Sea Shepherd
Why Just One NYC screening Q&A
Why Just One NYC screening Q&A
On December 16, 2016, the New York City chapter hosted the premiere of Why Just One? Sea Shepherd Conservation Society’s first full length, in-house documentary. The sold-out event was Captain Paul Watson's his first New York appearance at a Sea Shepherd event since returning to the United States...
Sea Shepherd vs Poachers in the Gulf of California
Sea Shepherd vs Poachers in the Gulf of California
Six fishing boats engaged in illegal activities were spotted by Sea Shepherd Conservation Society in Mexico’s Sea of Cortez, ending in their arrest by the Mexican Navy.
Ghost Nets Go; Vaquitas Stay
Ghost Nets Go; Vaquitas Stay
Sea Shepherd and the M/V Farley Mowat break down how illegal underwater nets in the Sea of Cortez are snagged, pulled, cut and bundled. Footage also includes freeing and releasing live animals from the nets and cataloging those who unfortunately did not make it.
Sam Simon arrives in Mexico for Operation Milagro III
Sam Simon arrives in Mexico for Operation Milagro III
The Sam Simon has arrived in Mexico to join the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society-led campaign, Operation Milagro III. A partnership between Sea Shepherd and the Mexican authorities, Operation Milagro III intercepts, intervenes and interrupts any illegal activities found in the Vaquita refuge in the...
Divina Guadalupe Beaked Whale Research Project
Divina Guadalupe Beaked Whale Research Project
**If you cannot see the captions on this video, just click on CC on the lower right corner of video settings on the video ** #Breaking #SeaShepherd helps scientists learn more about #rare Beaked whales! Did you know that Cuvier's Beaked whales hold the record for the deepest mammalian dive? Watch t...
Operation Milagro III Campaign Launch Video
Operation Milagro III Campaign Launch Video
Sea Shepherd Conservation Society is returning to Mexico’s Gulf of California for Operation Milagro III to save the near extinct vaquita marina porpoise and the endangered totoaba bass. The M/V Farley Mowat is back on active duty with the M/V Sam Simon joining the Milagro campaign for the first ti...
Sea Shepherd Investigates Whale Corpse in Sea of Cortez
Sea Shepherd Investigates Whale Corpse in Sea of Cortez
The Farley Mowat Sea Shepherd crew is called out to investigate a dead Brydes whale in the Gulf of California on November 5th, 2016 while patrolling the vaquita refuge. To help the Sea Shepherd crew to continue its work in the Sea of Cortez, including protecting the near-extinct vaquita marina porpo...
Entanglement in the South
Entanglement in the South
Operation Guardian Angel - In and around Bahia de Los Angeles, in the Gulf of California, countless marine species are entrapped in nets with little or no hope of rescue. Rosalia Tellez works for CONANP, a department of the Mexican government that acts as park rangers to enforce laws and assist in ...
Good and Bad Days
Good and Bad Days
This video follows Sea Shepherd volunteers over the course of two days. The first day Sea Shepherd locates and removes a long line from the sea; fortunately no animals were caught in the net. However, the next day volunteers find a sea lion that has been caught and died in a fisherman's net.
Operation Virus Hunter Campaign Summary
Operation Virus Hunter Campaign Summary
Sea Shepherd campaign Operation Virus Hunter saw the vessel RV Martin Sheen under the leadership of Alexandra Morton, head up the coast of British Columbia Canada to expose open pen Atlantic salmon farms and the impact they are having on wild Pacific salmon and the the surrounding eco-systems.
Illegal Totoaba Nets
Illegal Totoaba Nets
This video follows Sea Shepherd volunteers through the process of locating, retrieving and disposing of illegal nets in the Gulf of California.
Discovering Alleged Wild Salmon Dead in Fish Farms
Discovering Alleged Wild Salmon Dead in Fish Farms
August 12th 2016: Early Thursday morning the R/V Martin Sheen assisted Melissa Willie, a band councilor of the Musgamagw Dza’wada’enuxw nation, in hand delivering a letter to three farms expressing the nations disapproval of the industry. Sea Shepherd crew alongside independent biologist Alexand...
The Grind of the Faroe Islands
The Grind of the Faroe Islands
Ross McCall travels to the Faroe Islands to explore the truths behind the centuries old tradition of the brutal Pilot Whale drives.
Operation Virus Hunter: A Salmon PSA with Pamela Anderson
Operation Virus Hunter: A Salmon PSA with Pamela Anderson
Sea Shepherd Chairman of the Board, actor/activist Pamela Anderson, cautions viewers about the dangers of eating farmed salmon.
Why Just One?  Indiegogo Video
Why Just One? Indiegogo Video
Support Sea Shepherd's documentary by sharing and backing our Indiegogo campaign here: http://bit.ly/1OfvER6
Milagro Summary - English
Milagro Summary - English
Sea Shepherd Conservation Society's Operation Milagro II has come to an end. Milagro is its campaign to fight the looming extinction of the vaquita porpoise, the most endangered marine mammal in the world. With an estimate of less than 100 surviving vaquita, Sea Shepherd ships the R/V Martin Sheen...
Operation Milagro II: Vlog 15 - Good Bye
Operation Milagro II: Vlog 15 - Good Bye
Watch the crew of the Farley Mowat capture footage of illegal fishing activity with a night vision drone and pull up a totoaba net in the dead of night. This is the final vlog of Operation Milagro II!
Sea Shepherd's Ethical Research Whale Project
Sea Shepherd's Ethical Research Whale Project
Sea Shepherd's Ethical Research Whale Project is dedicated to collect samples from whales in the Gulf of California to measure levels of toxins in whales in order to determine the levels of toxins in the Gulf of California itself. Learn more at: www.seashepherd.org
Totoaba Poachers Caught on Camera
Totoaba Poachers Caught on Camera
Never before seen footage. Sea Shepherd catches critically endangered totoaba poacher in the act. The Sea Shepherd crew filmed these totoaba poachers as they were checking one of their illegal nets in the protected vaquita habitat. The vaquita porpoise is the most endangered marine mammal in the wor...
Operation Milagro II: Vlog 14 - Saving Lives
Operation Milagro II: Vlog 14 - Saving Lives
Watch‬ the routine of our crew doing valuable work in the ‪Sea of Cortez‬. We have been very effective at removing illegal fishing gear from the ‪‎vaquita‬ porpoise's habitat. So much so, that now, most of the time we remove nets and lines that are mostly empty, our favorite thing to do....
Sea Shepherd finds 3 dead vaquitas in 3 weeks
Sea Shepherd finds 3 dead vaquitas in 3 weeks
The Sea Shepherd crew has found 3 dead vaquitas in 3 weeks in the month of march of 2016. The vaquita porpoise is the most endangered marine mammal in the world. Learn more at: www.seashepherd.org/milagro2
Sea Shepherds finds a dead sample of the most endangered marine mammal in the world
Sea Shepherds finds a dead sample of the most endangered marine mammal in the world
While patrolling the waters of the upper Gulf of California the Sea Shepherd crew found a dead vaquita porpoise. The vaquita is the most endangered marine mammal in the whole world. The crew also found a Great White Shark caught in an illegal gillnet.
Operation Milagro II: Vlog 12 - This is Direct Action
Operation Milagro II: Vlog 12 - This is Direct Action
This week, the crew of ‪Sea Shepherd Conservation Society's ships The M/V Farley Mowat and The RV Martin Sheen find and retrieve an illegal totoaba bass long line from the critically endangered ‪vaquita porpoise habitat. The totoaba fish is also critically endangered. Watch all episodes at: http...
Sea Shepherd Crew Save Humpback Whale Entangled in Illegal Gillnet
Sea Shepherd Crew Save Humpback Whale Entangled in Illegal Gillnet
Sea Shepherd crew rescued a whale entangled in an illegal totoaba gillnet in the Gulf of California. Sea Shepherd currently has two vessels in Mexico's Gulf of California on OPERATION MILAGRO. Our goal is to save the vaquita porpoises, the most endangered marine mammal. The vaquita are caught as a r...
Gregg Lowe on Sea Shepherd's Operation Milagro
Gregg Lowe on Sea Shepherd's Operation Milagro
You might know Gregg Lowe from X-Men: Days of Future Past, but now watch him explain Sea Shepherd's Operation Milagro and understand why we must save the #VaquitaMarina - The most endangered cetacean in the world. Help us save the vaquita at: http://seashepherd.org/milagro2/donate-now/vaquita-appeal...