New Japanese film asks, “Who decides which animals are okay to eat and which animals aren’t?”

Behind The Cove: The Quiet Japanese Speak Out was released in the U.S. last month in New York at the Cinema Village, followed by a special screening at the Laemmie Music Hall in Los Angeles.

You can check out the Behind The Cove trailer here:

Film director Keiko Yagi was inspired to create a film rebuking the Academy Awarding winning documentary The Cove, which condemns dolphin hunting and whaling practices in Japan. Yagi set out “to find the truth of the matter on whaling” with no budget, limited filmmaking experience, and no English fluency.

The Cove documentary, which was released in 2009, set in motion global uproar against the practice of whaling and dolphin hunting in Japan. In one instance, the hacker group “Anonymous” brought down Wakayama Prefecture’s website – Wakayama is home to Taiji City where dolphin hunting takes place.

The Behind The Cove official website describes The Cove documentary as a biased production against dolphin hunting and states that many people (presumably Japanese) said the film “wasn’t truthful at all”, “was a dramatized lie”, and “was misleading through the use of hidden cameras and camera technology that changed the color of the sea.”

Yagi traveled to Taiji Cove, the main sight of The Cove documentary, to investigate the reality of dolphin hunting. The Behind The Cove film delivers the “truth” about the tradition of dolphin hunting through interviews with a range of people directly involved with the practice. The film also features interviews with The Cove director, Louie Psihoyos, and The Cove star and anti-whaling activist, Ric O’Barry.

▼ “Why has Japanese food culture become a target?”


Here are some reactions to the film from audiences in New York:

American male: “I learned of the beauty of the town of Taiji, which I did not see in The Cove.”

Japanese-American female: “I was against whaling, but I now have a slightly different view.”

American male: “It made me think about the nationalism of the United States and other countries, as seen in the recent US election.”

American male: “I always thought Asians looked the same, but in the film their facial expressions were rich, and I could see that they all looked different.”

Japanese male: “I am from the generation that ate whale meat, but as many countries oppose it, I think whaling should be stopped.”

If you’re interested in more of what Keiko Yagi has to say about whaling and dolphin hunting, you can see her talk at a Foreign Correspondent’s Club of Japan press conference here:

We conducted a small survey last year asking five Japanese people what they personally thought about eating whale. The answers were extremely varied and thought-provoking, so check it out for more insight into the topic.

What is your opinion on whaling and dolphin hunting? Do you think a documentary produced by a Japanese national may change your mind?

Source: YOMYOMF, AsAMNews, Behind The Cove
Top image: YouTube/Keiko Yagi
Insert images: Behind The Cove