And many people in Japan think it's not right for people from outside to impose food culture on other places,” said Joji Morishita, who negotiated Japan’s upcoming withdrawal from the International Whaling Commission. So the viability of a whale meat market after commercial whaling resumes should be based more on its association with meat than with seafood. PRX is a 501(c)(3) organization recognized by the IRS: #263347402. Whales, of course, are mammals, and thus their flesh has more in common with red meat than with fish. The Japan Times LTD. All rights reserved. Fluke meat can sell for over $200 per kilogram, over three times the price of belly meat. This is so low that it isn’t considered a major food in the country’s largest cities. Most had eaten whale when they were growing up, since whale meat was a core component of school lunches. The limited scale of commercial whaling in Japan would have virtually no effect on beef production, and there are other residual costs such as the amount of energy used to refrigerate and store whale meat for months or even years. A survey conducted by the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications in 2017 compared food prices in the 23 wards of Tokyo and found that 100 grams of beef cost ¥403, while the same amount of pork was ¥157 and that of chicken ¥108, according to the website garbagenews. Tsukiji Fish Market in Tokyo sells every kind of seafood imaginable — including whale. Yen for Living covers issues related to making, spending and saving money in Japan. Japan's failing appetite for whale meat left three-quarters of meat from whales caught in the north-west Pacific last summer unsold, according to a report. Extrinsic concerns related to environmental issues and animal welfare don’t seem to have much of an effect on consumption, and are rarely remarked upon in the media. The Kujira no Tomisui restaurant sells the meat cooked various ways: fried, grilled bacon style, even sprinkled on ice cream. However, total whale meat consumption reached its peak in 1963 with 220,000 tons on the market. Up to 95% of Japanese people very rarely or never eat whale meat. “In Japan, the whale-eating issue is a symbol of respect for different cultures. Japan’s fishing industry is focused on feeding Japan, with 90% of its caught seafood consumed domestically, and importing the remainder from the United States and South America. We need just 578 more donors to make it! As of 2006, in Japan, 5,560 tons of whale meat worth ¥5.5 billion is sold in every year. Donate $100 or pledge $8.33/month to receive an invite to a virtual party with Marco Werman and The World team! By the end of this May, they may have killed up to 51 minke whales. To learn more, review our Cookie Policy. According to the Mainichi News, about 100 metric tons of whale meat is served in school lunches per year in Japan. In contrast, the average Japanese person consumed 27.8 kg of fish in 1960. Even Katy Perry came across it recently and has the Instagram photo to prove it. Lv 7. “Consumption is already so low, it’s not suddenly going to skyrocket.”. Or, perhaps, the media just doesn’t ask the right questions. The Japanese have whaled for centuries, but consumption of whale meat peaked after World War II. Recently, a part of them has been imported from Norway and/or Iceland. When you support The World with a donation, you ensure our incredible newsroom staff can continue the critical work that brings you stories from around the globe. We must spread the idea throughout Japan that whale meat is something we can’t do without.”. Voelven. meat and “poor intellectual function and attention in schools” (Nunavik Regional Board of Health 2011). The U.S. Department of Agriculture estimated that in 2018 the average American consumed about 100 kg of red meat and poultry, according to Bloomberg News, or more than three times what the average Japanese person consumed in 2016. We use cookies to understand how you use our site and to improve your experience. Fatty whale meat was called “bacon,” and whale was often the protein ingredient in the ubiquitous Japanese dish known as “curry rice.”. The TBS respondents’ reasons for not eating whale came down to the flavor or the fact that there are other foods they’d rather eat. However, as the variety of foods available in Japan grew with … Iceland hunts their own Minke Whales each year. About a quarter of Japanese people over the age of 70 eat fish every day. In landmark decision, Denmark will phase out oil and gas by 2050. Our coverage never has been, and never will be, behind a paywall. Such industrialised modes of production tend to be spatially concentrated and geographically detachedfrom the agricultural land base. Domestic beef is treated almost as a delicacy, and it is much more expensive. Related: Russia agrees to free whales held in 'whale jail'. Still, Prime Minister Shinzō Abe’s government continues to support whaling, to the tune of nearly $50 million this year. More to the point, Americans in 2016 consumed 36 kg of beef per capita, coming in a distant fourth after Uruguay, Argentina and Hong Kong. On average a Japanese person eats just 23.7 g of whale meat per year; that is … urged the Japanese to eat more whale as a cheap source of protein, People eat only about 40 grams a year per capita, Russia agrees to free whales held in 'whale jail', Japan would pull out of the International Whaling Commission, boats frequently tried to stop Japan’s whale hunts, ‘African in New York’: Shirazee's personal twist on an iconic song by Sting, This group in Japan is on a mission to correct English mistranslations, Iconic ‘Ghana Must Go’ bag gets refashioned as a meditation on migration. The group’s boats frequently tried to stop Japan’s whale hunts, and Sakuma says that may have had an unintended effect. Whale sashimi is more common than whale sushi, so if it was sushi there's a good chance it wasn't whale. Japan is currently the object of criticism for its decision to leave the International Whaling Commission, and resume commercial whaling in territorial waters and its own exclusive economic zone. So, with all the criticism Japan gets for hunting whales and the fact that very few people here even eat it, why is the country so committed to whaling? When Japan resumes commercial whaling, it’s actually expected to kill fewer whales. The World is a public radio program that crosses borders and time zones to bring home the stories that matter. This loophole states that the whale meat from research whaling MUST be used. practice of killing and hunting whales mostly for human consumption A superior cut of whale meat is now about ¥2,300 for 100 grams if purchased online, making it even more expensive than delicacies like horse meat and Matsusaka beef. In January, the stockpile reached 3,700 tons, according to Junko Sakuma, a researcher at Rikkyo University. It then declined rapidly, becoming more of a speciality food and nowadays makes up 2% of all meat consumed in Japan. She says she decided to have it today because the taste reminds her of childhood. The country was devastated and food was scarce, so American occupation authorities urged the Japanese to eat more whale as a cheap source of protein. Donate today to help keep our coverage free and open to all. Kujira no Tomisui, a whale restaurant at the Tsukiji Fish Market in Tokyo, has a stand out front and a sit-down restaurant in the back. Japan COVID-19 cases set single-day record, We have a match! Thank you for your support! Many of the restaurant's customers remember eating whale as children, including one man in his 50s who says he had it in school, stir-fried with ketchup. We need 471 more donors to reach our goal! Whale meat imports "waiting for Japan's response" - Norwegian ambassador to Japan hopes for recommencement after 19 years Norway's Ambassador to Japan, Åge Grutle, made it known that his country is proceeding with negotiations with the government regarding Norway's desire for Japan to import meat from whales caught there. It is no longer a staple of their diet, and neither are there an abundance of establishments serving whale meat. A 2009 article in the Sankei Shimbun used this rationale to promote whaling by saying that the amount of carbon dioxide produced to harvest 1 kilogram of whale meat, even counting the long distances that whaling ships traveled, was less than one-tenth of the amount created to produce 1 kg of beef, citing a survey by the predecessor of what is now Japan Fisheries Research and Education Agency. People who support the move cite either cultural reasons — Japan traditionally, they assert, is a whale-eating country — or the assumption that whales aren’t as endangered as the IWC claims they are. In fact, eating whale meat only became commonplace after WWII. Officials set quota of 227 marine mammals for 2019 About 61% is eaten by the Japanese. In Japan, Whale Meat Tastes Good New Zealand is trying to keep a Japanese whaling fleet out of its Antarctic waters. In that sense, whale meat will probably amount to nothing more than a very narrow niche market, like horse meat or wild game. In effect, the Japanese diet has shifted to meat, though perhaps not as much as people think. The secretary general of Abe’s party, Toshihiro Nikai, even gave interviews from the government cafeteria, dining on whale curry and saying, “It was excellent; I’ve never eaten such delicious curry. A great deal has changed since then as Japan grew into one of the world’s most vibrant economies, and one of those changes is the greater availability of meat, specifically chicken, pork and beef. Whale meat consumption in Japan plummeted to just 3,000 tons in 2018, or less than an ounce per person per year, according to Japan’s Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries. Answer Save. In 2017, people in Tokyo’s 23 wards consumed 20 kg of pork and 21 kg of chicken, both three times as much as beef, the website said. Whale meat was consumed by the Japanese as a valuable source of nutrition in the postwar period. Nationwide per capita consumption of horse meat and whale meat — which presently comes from so-called research whaling that will be discontinued after Japan leaves the IWC — is about the same, and amounts to very little; around 50 grams. The proportion of whale meat as part of the annual meat production per Japanese citizen was only around 10 percent in the 1930s, increasing to 46 percent in 1947, but as other domestic meat production recovered it fell back to 30 percent in the 1950s. The difference in opinion divided clearly along generational lines. Still, he’s hopeful that with the right kind of marketing, people might even double their consumption of whale; in other words, go from eating the size of roughly one slice of deli meat a year to two. They sell it in some, but not all, supermarkets. A divided and distrustful America awaits. Q6) How much whale meat is supplied and consumed in Japan? And it should be noted that the older respondents considered whale a form of meat rather than a form of seafood, which may be how younger people see it. There’s this feeling about them like, ‘Here are these Westerners coming to Japan and telling us our culture is wrong.’”. MORE: Japanese Whalers Sponsored contents planned and edited by JT Media Enterprise Division. Most of the consumption of horse meat is limited to those handful of prefectures that produce it. Post WWII whale meat made up 46% of total meat consumption. This increase of livestock production has been possible through two parallel processes: expansion and intensification. For the next decade or so, half of all protein in the Japanese diet was whale meat. But because it’s supposedly for research, they couldn’t reduce the number of whales they caught, even if consumption declined.”. Episode 75: What will a Joe Biden presidency mean for Japan? Whale meat is meat that has been cut from the flesh of whales, usually for consumption by humans.. Favorite Answer. Your donation will directly support the thing you rely on, the thing you believe in, and the thing you want to ensure survives. He didn’t like the taste much, but enjoyed learning how important whaling was to Japanese culture. 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