Flame-grilled whale whoppers?

After 20 years off the menu, whale meat has once again returned to school lunches in Wakayama Prefecture. Not just in a few selected schools either. As 85% of the Prefecture’s kids are now wolfing down whale. A figure somewhere in the region of 57,900 students.

whale meat japan

From all accounts this new addition to the menu is going down well too. With Tetsuji Sawada, an official from the board of education saying, “Whale meat is served as burgers or meat balls or marinated with sweet and sour sauce so that the children can eat it easily. Children say it is really tasty.” And in an apparent attempt to justify this controversial decision, Sawada-san went on to say, “The purpose of having whale meat lunches is to let our children know Japanese whaling tradition and whale food culture.”

whale meat

Whatever the (possible) merits of this move, it turns out that the Wakayama educational office had been lobbying the Fisheries Agency for months to lower its prices and make whale meat a viable option for school lunches. And through the help of the government its wish has finally been granted. Resulting in 100 grams of whale meat dropping in price from 500 yen to 125 yen. Making it similar in price to chicken and pork.

Now call me cynical, but could this substantial drop in the price of whale meat be connected to the Fisheries Agency’s new and expanded research activities?

Surely not…

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Comments

  1. says

    I realize that Japan is an island nation, hence seafood is a staple food source.

    But to actually promote the consumption of whale meat to impressionable youngsters is reprehensible!!!!!

    Whales don’t reproduce like other fish. Hell, they aren’t fish, they’re mammals!

    Absolutely disgusting…….

  2. Kirin says

    I think that the Japanese attitude to whaling is incredibly irresponsible, and highly outdated. ‘We’ve always done it’ *isn’t* a valid reason to capture and kill endangered mammals. Then there’s the Japanese attitude to overfished tuna (blue-fin? yellow-fin?): ‘We *like* the taste of the endangered one more!’.

    That and the ‘research’ story just makes me sick.

  3. says

    Gross. A British friend of mine once had the misfortune to be in the presence of some people who ordered whale meat at a restaurant and pretty much forced her to eat it. She didn’t want to offend her hosts but at the same time was so repulsed. They kept saying to her, “It’s good, huh?” but she couldn’t respond.

  4. American in Tokyo says

    Actually, Whale meat Sashimi is fairly tasty- a bit like tuna though fuller in flavor. Though, admittedly, I did not know what I was eating at the time.

    I am sure there is a whole slew of appropriate reasons why the Japanese should not be promoting whaling, (and I won’t comment on them due to lack of thorough knowledge on the subject)… however, what strikes me is the general tone of the comments in this post. While there are a fair degree of reasonable foreigners here, a good chunk of them that I have met have the air of condescension in their voice that borders on arrogance, seemingly similar to the posts here.

    At a Hanami party a few weeks ago, I was sitting by a French fellow and his British girlfriend amongst some Japanese friends. They were both commenting, aloud, “Ah, Japanese people are so funny, just so interesting. I could sit there and watch them all day… kind of like being in a zoo” *chuckle chuckle*

  5. Colin says

    I am given to understand (from a Japanese source) that whale did not feature in the Japanese diet until during the war years, when (and because) other foodstuffs were scarce.

    Can’t vouch for the validity of this, but if it is the case, it makes a nonsense of all the cant about whale being part of Japanese culinary history.

    However, our righteous indignation should not solely be directed Nihon-wards, as the following makes clear:

    http://www.greenpeace.org/international/news/japanese-whale-fleet-ready

  6. says

    I’ll try anything once….if the “anything” is not a species that is endangered. Someone once offered me whale meat in Tokyo, for which I politely declined.

  7. says

    It is written in kanji “whale meat cooked japanese style”

    So, yeah, it is whale meat… for human consumption.

  8. Beoran says

    I haven nothing against eating whales, but I do think it’s irresponsible to go hunt them while the population is still quite low.

    By the way, I have tasted whale by acident and it was not very good. And yes, with te high mercury levels, it’s probably not very healthy either.

  9. chon says

    THIS IS SHOCKING , JUST COZ WE EAT FISH THEY SHOULDNT EAT WHALES!!!!!!!! THERE MAMMALS NOT FISH OK! LET THEM FREE GREEN PEACE RULES LET THE WHHALES FREE…….. BAC ME UP PEOPLE WE CANT JUST SIT AND LOOK AT ALL OF THESE DISGUSTINGS PICS AND WATCH IT HAPPEN C’MON LETS DO SOMETHING ABOUT THIS!!!!!

    IM WITH THE GORGEOUS WHALES!!!!

    WAT ABT U?????????

  10. sarah f says

    is the company MARLHA still around? I can’t find their website online and I’m trying to find a poster they make that I saw in a restaurant…

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