Grand conspiracy

The BBC reports that the Japanese whaling ship, the Nisshin Maru, has caught fire near Antarctica, possible at the hands of anti-whaling activists that were in pursuit of the ship. What they don’t mention is that this is the very same whaling ship used as a location in the Bjork art film Drawing Restraint 9. Coincidence? I think not. What are you trying to hide BBC and Bjork? Iceland’s reign of incomprehensible terror must be stopped!

48 thoughts on “Grand conspiracy”

  1. There is absolutely no evidence at all that activists are behind the fire. There were no activists in pursuit of the Nisshin Maru at the time of the fire. Where did you get that line from? That is slander.

    BBC, that you make out to quote, actually says:

    “The cause of the fire is still unknown, but New Zealand authorities said it had nothing to do with whaling protesters.”

    So, Mutant Frog, do tell us where you stand.

  2. “Iceland’s reign of incomprehensible terror must be stopped!”
    Considering Iceland is our close ally in the league of the whalers….
    Talk about friendly fire here!

    And Martin:
    Do please forgive our ringmaster.I’ve confirmed same information from Japanese Fisheries Agency.

  3. Martin, all I know is that some of the pro whaling people accused activists of starting the fire, but the article says the activists were actually two or three days away. My priority was obviously making a joke about Bjork. Anyway, the same article says that activists had thrown acid into the boat and rammed it, so I think you can see why some people want to blame them for the fire even if they weren’t around at the time.

  4. I’m with Mutantfrog on this. First, he was being funny. Second, when you have protest groups making threats to give a Japanese ship a “steel enema” there have to be some suspicions when a fire breaks out. These guys also have a dodgy MO. They have thrown blood on sealers in Canada in an envrionment where one slip means that you are done for.

  5. “They have thrown blood on sealers in Canada in an envrionment where one slip means that you are done for.”

    Here I declare Japan-Canada mutual defence treaty against the flipperhuggers!

    P.S I’m a member of WWF-Japan.

  6. Well I’m a Canadian and that “One slip and you’re done for” line is bullcrap. It’s an ice floe…not a pitched roof. If you slip, you fall on your ass, that’s all.

    Also, please remember that it’s the Sea Shepherd Society that is ramming the whaling ships. It’s Greenpeace that isn’t. They are very, very different groups of people.

  7. So are you saying here that Bjork is Iceland’s reign of incomprehensible terror? Could well be, if she goes around doing this: “In a harrowing liebestod which is the climax and centerpiece of the film, the Guests, locked in an embrace and breathing through blowhole-like orifices on the back of their necks, take out flensing knives and cut away each other’s feet and thighs. ” (

    This is clearly a deep, well-greased, comment on the impact of form, restraint, and whaling on Japanese culture: the flooding of tatami with vaseline certainly suggests the central role of whale blubber in whale physiology, which is here linked with Japanese culture, thereby showing, through the mock-Shinto wedding as well, the ritualistic self-identification of the Japanese as whales, which is expressed in another highly traditional form by the shape and girth of sumo wrestlers. Finally, we need to recall the connection between Bjork and whale meat: the Swedish Chef’s monologues on the existential nature of the transformation of natural bounty into human consumption, as portrayed on The Muppet Show in a paradigm-defining mixture of the real and the unreal, were centered on the repetition of the phrase “Bjork bjork bjork”, thereby allowing us to conclude that whales are muppets, Bjork is a whale, and Bjork is therefore not entirely real. And Ahab’s wooden leg is in fact a metaphor for him being a Muppet as well.

    Although the relationship of Bjork and the Nissin “Cup Noodle” Maru to Gyoza-no-Osho’s Shanghai opening (Related Posts) suggests that either China or Osho is behind this whole thing. Either that, or the world is largely ruled by random chance.

    Now I am going to have some Nissin Cup Noodles, Whale Flavour….
    Bjork bjork bjork….

  8. Raincoaster – You’re from Vancouver, right? Well, I’m from Newfoundland. Go out East, jump on some pack ice and see how fun it is. Or, better yet, talk to a sealer and see how safe they think it is. I’ve heard some of these guys talk about the dangers and it did away with any sympathy that I have for the Farley Mowat crew.

  9. The real problem for us Japanese is the difference between Sea Shepherds and Greenpeace is bullcrap and horsecrap.Especially their PR tactics destroying our reputation abroad.Naturally many Japanese become EXTREMELY sympathetic to the whalers.It’s now like;We hunt whales,therefore we are Japanese,or something.It really is the pain in the arse for Japanese conservationist.

  10. There was a letter to the editor in a New Zealand newspaper a few days ago where someone advocated killing the whalers to save the life of even one whale. The miserable state of debate on this issue in some countries is just shocking…. and people wonder why the has radicalized the debate in Japan.

  11. They what? There are some nutjobs out there, that’s for sure. Is that letter available online?

  12. I’d like to see that letter too. Personally, I am very sympathetic to any peaceful protester, but couldn’t care less about ones who endanger people’s lives. A little graffiti or safe stunts are fine with me, but not death threats, ramming boats, throwing acid, etc.

    By the way, whale meat sucks anyway.

  13. The letter was in the NZHerald and they don’t put their letters to the editor online. I didn’t save it but if we wait another week or two, someone will write in with something equally crazy. People have called for the NZ navy to “go get” the Japanese protestors on TV. Someone told me that there was a local poll where 78% declared the Sea Shepard crowd “heroes” despite their threats, acid, etc.

  14. Come on,You can spit it out,Jade.
    GOJ got to extend more scholarship for kiwi exchange students ,so they would understand how tasty the whale meats and respect the life and welfare of Japanese along with that of cetaceans!

    By the way,where’s Bryce?

  15. Damn straight Aceface, that scholarship did fuel a few of my debauched whale guzzling nights at Osaka Phi Kappa Gamma.

    Being a resourceful fellow, I have found the letter M-bone mentioned:

    “Saving Whales

    “Surely the sensible solution to the Japanese whaling problem would be for New Zealand to send the naval tanker to refuel the Sea Shepherd vessels, so they can carry on their essential task of disabling the whaling fleet.
    “The Government’s concern about the risk to human lives should not be an issue when there are 4 billion humans on Earth but only a few thousand whales.

    “Brian Cuthbert, Army Bay” NZ Herald, 14 February 2007.

    The spooky nuttiness of advocating state-sponsored murder aside, this guy needs to get hold of the facts. There are something between 500,000 and 1 million Antarctic Minke, the kind the Japanese predominantly hunt, and probably around 10,000 Humpbacks, the ones they hunt on the side. Not to mention that there are 6 billion humans. (On the other hand it wouldn’t surprise me if the the NZ Navy really did have only one fuel-supply ship.) This guy is either a nutcase or a senior citizen with time on his hands, but I shudder to think that his letter got into New Zealand’s largest circulation paper of record. Don’t they have editors?

    This next bit I find even more interesting. Greenpeace Japan is running a campaign about “whale-love – “kuji-laabu” in Japanese (and you thought Tarui’s puns were weak). One of the gimmicks of the campaign involves something called a Whale-Love wagon, where select Japanese (whom, I would imagine are either Greenpeace supporters or recruited by the organisation) travel around the countryside discovering why whales are so beautiful, and reporting on their travels via a Greenpeace sponsored blog. Here’s what Yuki, a passenger on the wagon had to say about a trip to Kyonan-machi:

    …And this time,
    we were invited for dinner with whale dishes
    by local people we met at the port.
    First of all….
    It was delicious! Thank you for the treat. I appreciate it.
    We had various kinds of recipe with various kinds of taste.
    Tsukuda-ni, whale-meat boiled in soy sauce.
    Tatsuta-age, deep fried whale meat.
    Tare, marinated whale meat and so on.
    Those were all complicated recipes to cook
    For instance, they marinated meat for a few days.”

    Mmm, sounds great! Though not quite in line with the Greenpeace position, one might think. I might send it in to the Herald.

  16. Whoops. That would be “kuji-rabu”, not “kuji-laabu.” Don’t know where that came from.

  17. The SS seem to have already got their vegan knickers in a knot over that:

    That letter is remarkable. But since he manages to misplace the equivalent of India and China in his census, perhaps to him “a few” thousand is about “a thousand” thousand….

    Whaling, like all small issues blown up big for political purposes, is always an amusing argument to follow. I don’t really have very strong views either way, so long as no one actually makes them go extinct. However I am always up for a little fiscal corruption if anyone is offering….

    BTW…. Can you get whale in NZ supermarkets? (probable answer: NO!) I wonder what would happen if you tried asking for it? I’d love to see the looks on their faces….

  18. Knew you wouldn’t betray us.Great post.Bryce!
    I never doubt the state sponsored scholarships were worth every yen.
    With that kind of article shows up in the biggest paper in NZ.I presume there is no safe place for whaler apologist like yourself in your born country.
    You better consider yourself turning Japanese now,since you’ve already know the forbidden tastes and all….

  19. Aceface, as you know my experience eating whale was not very positive. Maybe you can show me what it should taste like when I come to Tokyo next.

  20. “I presume there is no safe place for whaler apologist like yourself in your born country.”

    In my “born country”, I’m a very quiet whaler apologist, although it must be said, most New Zealanders don’t really give the whaling issue much thought. There’s a lot of hard core anti-whalers, and many, many others who support the anti-whaling cause because it seems to be the thing to do. And really, isn’t it the ultimate environmental issue for the average Joe? If you live in the non-Scandinavian west, you don’t have to DO anything to support the cause. You don’t have to buy a hybrid, you don’t have to change your diet, you don’t have to take your hemp shopping bag to the supermarket. You just have to refrain from a practice (eating whale) that you would probably never otherwise do to lay claim to “supporting the environment”. I do see the warm fuzzy appeal. I’d rather do so in other ways.

    Anyway, it was a letter, not an article, so I guess the editors felt they could be more fast and loose.

    “By the way,where’s Bryce?”

    I’m fairly busy at the moment, AF. I am reading the blog, but I don’t have much time to comment.

  21. Yep.Good ol’ Kujiraya is the very establishment I had in mind of taking MF when he showed up to Tokyo.

    But the one in the Greenpeace blog,of which I understand is from Kyonan-machi in Chiba pref.must be the tasty marinated meat of Baird’s beaked whale captured in nearby fishermen town of Wada in July to August.Yummy!!
    Though I understand Baird’beaked is a toothed whale, and because of that it has somewhat ammoniac smell compare to Baleen whales.But I still like it!
    Ahh Chiba….I miss those fishing villages by the black current.It is the good time of the rape blossoms…..

    Baleen whales like Fin,Bryde’s and Sei are certainly more delicious,I remember my deceased father used to buy “bacon” of Fin whale and eat it with worcester sauce all over on it.I know it doesn’t sound so great,but you just have to taste one to criticize.Thanks to IWC and fanatic like SS,it is quite difficult to have them in the pot nowadays.But not to worry,MF.There is always some chunk of Minke from Antarctica(one of “the result of one of the scientific research”)laying in the fridge of

    But then again I realize I’m taking this chap who see little importance for sushi creditation scheme and fancy on KK doughnuts and BurgerKings to eat out.
    Maybe he likes The whalers from Burgerking(aka Big Fish)instead of the real whale dish!

  22. Hey! Adam one the one posting about Krispy Kreme and Burger King! I wrote about Mr Donut and Dunkin Donuts, but only because of the sociological import, of course.

  23. I’ve twice asked a classroom of Kiwi students – “Can anyone come up with a logical (not emotional) argument against sustainable whaling?” Of course, nobody could.

  24. AF

    “Baleen whales like Fin,Bryde’s and Sei are certainly more delicious…. Thanks to IWC and fanatic like SS,it is quite difficult to have them in the pot nowadays.”

    Well, I would be reluctant to advocate the hunting of Sei and Bryde’s whales, and I’m definitely against the hunting of Fin whales. However, if the greenies are going to forward the sustainability argument, which is the only valid argument for not hunting whales, in my view, they really need to be consistent. Minke are more than plentiful. The sustainability argument, by the way, is also the official position of the GOJ.

    Jade – I had heard about that report about Maori opposing the whale sanctuary, but I think it constituted a few groups within the Maori fisheries commission who made some noises and the leadership followed along for a while. It’s a bit of a fallacy to say that there is a separate “Maori” opinion on issues like this. On certain issues iwi (tribes) mostly agree, but on a lot of issues (and I’d say this one) there’s a lot of inter-iwi politics going on. I’m not sure what the commission’s position is now, but I don’t think there is much sympathy for whalers in Maoridom nowadays.

  25. Yeah, that article made little sense, as it said that although these people oppose the sanctuary, they nevertheless only used beached whales. So what difference would a sanctuary make?

    I wonder if “Whale Rider” (which I curmudgeonly found to be over-hyped and dull, with an atrocious ending) changed their mind?

  26. Bryce:
    I turn down the “Thanks to IWC and fanatic like SS,it is quite difficult to have them in the pot nowadays.”part.
    And I think nobody in Japan is greenlighting the Fin whale hunting.Sei or Bryde’s,maybe but I agree their populations are damaged due to the whaling.So yes the moratorium should be sustained.残念

  27. Any of you aware of Welsh born ex-Canadian and now Japanese citizen,the Writer C.W.Nichol?

    About 25 years ago,I used to read “NATIONAL WILDLIFE”magazines published from National Wildlife Federation of the U.S.Only mine was the Japanese edition published from Ryouichi Sasakawa’s日本船舶振興会former body of Nippon Foundation.Wondering why Sasakawa wanted to spend cash for American conservationist NGO’s and advocate ecology is beyond me(I also don’t understand why he gave money out to a revisionist either),but as 11 years old,I enjoyed reading it anyway.While living in NY in early 80’s,I could always get the original version without paying the extra shipping fee.But I insisted on getting Japanese version.One of the reasons is C.W Nichol was regular contributer only in Japanese version.He was at the time in PHD course in Tokai and doing research in Taiji,Wakayama which will later turn into his novel “Isana勇魚”.Historical novel set in the late Edo period about young japanese whaler encounters his opponent of the west,(whalers,I mean.not activists).

    There was a feud in1980 in the island of Iki,Nagasaki,Known as the island where joint Korean-Chinese forces had landed during Mongolian invasion in 11th century.
    The island is also known of it’s dolphin hunting and there were huge photo coverage in the “THE WILDLIFE”of local fishermen slaughtering dolphins and porpoises,turning the whole bay into crimson with their blood.Made huge sensation among the readers abroad and beyond.

    In the Japanese version of that issue,special articles and interviews with Japanese marine biologists and Nichol,only gaijin, were attached.Nichol said he was shocked by the brutality of the killing despite he supports sustainable whaling.He said Inuits in Canada are more experienced in killing animals and Iki fishermen somehow lost it’s technique through modernization.Nichol was a Canadian public servant in Northwest territory researching Marine biology,So he knew what he’s talking about
    more than anybody else in that issue.Though the debate between Nichol and Japanese colleague was not well connected to eyes of 11years old,looking back in perspective,some sort of constructive dialogue was taken place in that magazine in that point in 1980.

    Soon after the magazine’s coverage,SS and others discovered Japan not just practicing whaling in Antarctica,but killing smaller members of finned friends in the homeland.They dispatched activist to stop the dolphine hunting at all cost.The very founder of SS Captain Paul Watson himself came over.I think he,along with others were busted by the local police for cutting nets to free the dolphins.And Japanese media screamed around as this is a racial slunder plus cultural imperialism plus simply rude action by confused gaijin.And what I read in american media,the reaction was ,,,,well it pretty much the same with how foreigners react to Ardou and co. in their crusade against Japanese bigotry.According to SS homepage.Capt.Watson managed to stop the dolphin hunting.What kind of offer the fishermen could’nt refuse was made,unknown.But there was undoubtedly some Ardouesque triumph.

    C.W Nichol had been trying to cast a bridge between western ecological movement and Japanese reality living in the woods of Kurohime,Nagano.I’ve been reading his book for more than 25years and he almost made me to choose a career in the natural history field.
    Now a naturalized Japanese.Nick san frequently rants about the current state of Japanese society and difficulty of gaijin melting into Japanese society.(regular topic at MFT)But I am always enlightened by reading his writings and strengthen the need for constructive discussion with the foreign opponents just like I felt way back quarter of century ago.

  28. I can’t believe there are people who, from their writings, appear to be younger than 55 years old that support whale hunting by any country. I can’t believe any moral person of any age would support the “scientific” hunting of whales as currently practiced by the Japanese … they are bullying, cowards at best (… I’m having to bite my tongue here; … let’s see, what does that make a baby seal killer??). They aren’t standing up for their “rights”, or what they would have the rest of the world believe is some kind of innate right they have to kill endangered species, because their ancestors were reared on an island. They are certainly not scientists.

    How can they stay at sea with a damaged ship threatening to spill oil or other chemicals into the ocean: they must be blind to the devastation left behind by other oil slicks; what does it take for these people to listen & learn? Especially when EVERYONE has rightfully and kindly asked them to leave over the whales, and now because of the risk of an oil spill; and some asked not so kindly, but rightfully none the less … they are breaking international law. No, they are not scientists (couldn’t be even if they wanted to), they have proven they don’t have the intelligence for that. I am convinced these lying, barbaric types of people are either mentally handicapped or evil.

  29. Lazycreek- the scientific whale program is certainly a smokescreen for illegal commercial whaling, however it is also true that not all species of whale are endangered. How do you feel about compromise regulations that permit limited commercial hunting of whale species that are not even close to being endangered, but punishes hunting of endangered animals?

    As far as the potential oil leak, I have no idea what they are thinking by refusing help in moving or fixing their vessel. It certainly does seem irresponsible.

  30. Yes, its hard to argue with anti-whalers when you don’t know where they are coming from. There are essentially three arguments against whaling. Firstly, the sustainability argument, which swings both ways, because as MF has implied certain species of whale are nowhere near endangered and sustainable culls are possible.

    Secondly, the argument that whales suffer too much during the hunt. I can see the merits of this point, but I would say that an animal that lives free in the wild whose life is brought to an abrupt and painful end suffers less than a battery hen or a cow that lives in close quarters to its peers and watches its mates being slaughtered before it is dispatched itself.

    And then there’s the “whale hugger” argument, although its less of an argument than a position. This is the view that whales are beautiful, sensitive, intelligent, cute creatures. This I think is the stance of most anti-whalers deep down, and they just use the other two arguments to justify their position. Unfortunately, for people who have not been brought up to believe this, whales are just big fish that float around and squeak. (Yes, I know they really *are* mammals.) There intelligent/subjective/beautiful nature of whales is completely subjective. And cute? A humpback whale looks like a herpified penis.

    The problem is that anti-whalers assume that an anti-whaling stance is the default position. They don’t need to think about why they are against whaling and they certainly don’t need to explain it. They can just say things like they can believe that people younger than “55 years old that support whale hunting by any country.” No argument, no thought, just the repitition of an staid old line.

    As to lazycreek’s condemnation of the Nisshin Maru’s decision to wait for Japanese ship to help it perform its repairs, despite whatever risk this may pose to the environment, we don’t actually know how much of a problem the ship is actually in. We hear from Greenpeace that the ship might break up or crash into ice, but dude, that’s Greenpeace. Of course they’re going to say that. I’m more likely to believe that the Captain of the NM is not so irresponsible as to endanger his entire crew, and thus the problem isn’t as severe as it has been portrayed.

    But one thing I will say. I think its a little hypocritical for all those greenies who were cheering the Sea Shepherds on when they were threatening to sink the NM now turn around and claim that the sinking of the NM would result in an environmental disaster.

  31. Advice to lazycreek – Have you ever thought that attitudes the one that you outline in your post radicalize the rest of us?

    “I am convinced these lying, barbaric types of people are either mentally handicapped or evil.”

    Do you mean all of “the Japanese” like you write earlier in your post? Japanese who eat whale? Japanese who support whaling? Some poor fishermen (like the same guys who make a living killing seals)?

    Word to the wise – people who don’t like naked essentialism and racism will be pissed off and become more likely to say “to hell with the minke, there are about a million of them anyway”.

  32. There’s just too many Japanophile here!

    What I “heard” is Nissinmaru is in no danger of sinking nor oil spilling,only the fire around the galley.I understand NZ navy and BBC(not the greatest media in the world regarding Japan reports in my opinion) is crying this aloud,but I have no idea where they got this info.

    I agree the “Scientific” whale program is not that scientific,however it is not”illegal” either(certainly not against any international law).The company needs to keep the crew with some OJT.And certain data of live organs do goes to the labs.I have read Marine Biologist in the west was criticizing the quality of the academic report would match nor justify the program.But I cannot tell whether this claim is just.

    Part of the reason why conservationist are in trouble in Japan is because of this low level of intellectualism in whale debate.Seems from ordinary people Greenpeace and the likes are too over emotional and anti Japanese.They were rather seen as something of PETA and radical animal rights extremist.Japan does alot of exploitation to marine ecosystem such like drift nets,We try to import lots of ivory from African countries to make hanko(personal seal)which in my opinion is rediculous and bullying and cowardice.These are worth more target for jihadi like Lazycreek,I think.

  33. “There’s just too many Japanophile here!”

    Yeah, I wish Lazycreek, Martin and co. would stick around rather than just dumping their whale angst before going AWOL.

  34. Martin got our jokes.
    Kinda of topic,but why are you using the super kraut for your avatar,Bryce?

  35. Nothing,but your idea about “all of us go over to Martin’s site”reminds me of Superkraut’s decision of bombing Cambodia!”(Currently reading William Shawcross’s “Sideshow,Nixon,Kissinger and destruction of Cambodia)

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