If they ain't slaughtering whales, they're harpooning Greenpeace activists or shouting Banzai, right? Those nasty Nipponese. Yeah, go on - let's tar an entire race with the same brush, swap rationale debate for bar banter and help stoke the feeding frenzy of Japanophobia. Feels so good, doesn't it?
In researching information for previous posts on this subject, I began to wonder if the anti-whaling angst was just another opportunity for some to engage in the traditional sport of Nippon bashing. Examples might range from a throw-away and obviously racist comment on a forum to a much more carefully crafted article such as this one where a prominent Australian journalist manages to make a direct link between Japan's whaling and the attack upon Pearl Harbour. Truly Tora, Tora, Tora.
As always, there's a flip side to the coin and Japanese like this chap here will do his best to reinforce the stereotype that his people are a cruel race, uncaring and insular in the extreme.(I noted that the anti-Australian video on that previous link has been removed from YouTube.)
That there are many Japanese who care passionately about environmental issues is a fact that I believe we tend to overlook. The Japanese office of the World Wide Fund For Nature's campaign ad (pictured above) made me smile and helped validate, albeit in a small way, that point of view. Look closely in case you didn't spot the visual trick the first time round. It would work well for the Japanese equivalent of Surfers Against Sewage, eh?
So let's keep racism out of the debate and allow people like Sakyo Noda, the Japanese anti-whaling activist, to spread a little enlightenment.