By Dyske January 6th, 2010
I’ve been living in the US for 25 years now, so I barely feel that I’m Japanese, and it’s rare these days for me to feel concerned about what the Japanese do. But this one caught my attention this morning. Apparently the Japanese are still hunting whales and the activists are still fighting them. I actually had no idea; I thought this conflict ended years ago.
This is a tricky issue and I can see the arguments of both sides. Whale is an easy target to pick for animal activists because not many cultures consume them. In other words, it’s fightable, especially because it can be attacked as a national problem. On the other hand, fighting the killing of cows couldn’t be framed as such. Shaming a nation is much more effective than trying to shame the whole human race.
But ultimately, the moral arguments or rationales used by both sides don’t concern me much. What does concern me is that this conflict could become self-perpetuating, like the way the conflict in the Middle East has become. Just as whaling is a career in Japan, anti-whaling activism has becomes a career too because it’s been going on for so long. Watching this video made me realize how much of a career it has become. Once we spend decades of our lives doing something, we can’t help but have a vested interest in continuing it forever because our sense of self-worth is deeply tied to what we do.
To make the matters even worth, both sides are becoming increasingly more emotional and bitter towards one another, and they are both vengeful and selfrighteous too. The wounds are getting deeper and deeper on both sides, and the deeper the wound, the longer it lasts. This whale war will soon be an industry (if it’s not already), like the war in the Middle East is an industry with many businesses depending on it.