- Title: JAPAN: Mixed reactions over "The Cove" Oscar win
- Date: 9th March 2010
- Summary: STATEMENT RELEASED BY MAYOR OF TAIJI STATEMENT CRITICIZING FILM AS BIASED AND SCIENTIFICALLY GROUNDLESS ACCUSATION VARIOUS OF STATEMENT SAYING THAT CLAIMS ARE FALSE PEOPLE ON THE STREET (SOUNDBITE) (Japanese) 60-YEAR-OLD BUSINESS CONSULTANT MARI AKIDA SAYING: "I have a feeling that there is a bit too much sensationalism." (SOUNDBITE) (Japanese) 51-YEAR-OLD PUBLISHING COMPANY EMPLOYEE AKIHIKO OISHI SAYING: "If the whole world is paying so much attention to the documentary, perhaps it may provide a good occasion for the film to be shown in Japanese theaters as well so that the Japanese can be aware of how the issue has been pictured abroad." (SOUNDBITE) (Japanese) 24-YEAR-OLD UNIVERSITY STUDENT MASAAKI KIBE SAYING: "Of course I feel pity for the dolphins but it's also true that from ancient times mankind has been living by eating animals and plants. But I also agree that such a probe is also necessary so it's very difficult to give a firm opinion." PEOPLE ON THE STREET
- Embargoed: 24th March 2010 12:00
- Location: Japan
- Country: Japan
- Reuters ID: LVA7CK4KPRS03T3ZRURK5PCK6X5H
- Story Text: Opinions were divided in Japan over "The Cove" which won an Oscar for best documentary at the Academy Awards on Monday (March 8).
The film that shows the gristly business of dolphin hunting in Japan follows a group of activists who struggle with Japanese police and fishermen to gain access to a secluded cove in Taiji, southern Japan, where dolphins are killed.
It features shocking footage of the slaughter and the film has been shown in 15 countries but has yet to be distributed in Japan.
Talking from the area where much of "The Cove" takes place, Hans Peter Roth, co-author of the book version of 'The Cove' said that the Oscar would help bring attention to the film and to the hunt happens in Taiji.
"Now that 'The Cove' movie has won the Oscar, that means the Japanese media can no longer ignore this issue about 'The Cove.' And journalists, Japanese journalists, have been here and Japanese people will find out now what's happening because they pay alot of attention to the Academy awards," he said in a webcam interview with Reuters.
With the documentary gaining such notoriety, Roth said he felt that there was increasing pressure on Taiji to stop the hunt.
"I strongly believe that this international upsurge really puts quite a bit of pressure on this town. And I am afraid they are not going to stop the dolphin hunt within the next few years regarding it being lucrative to sell live dolphins to dolphin areas," he said.
The mayor of Taiji harshly criticized the film as "biased" following its Oscar win, saying in a statement that the film "presents false, scientifically ungrounded pieces of information as if it were fact".
Taiji Mayor Kazutaka Sangen also reiterated there is nothing illegal involved in the town's traditional dolphin hunting practice.
The film is little known in Japan, where the government says the hunting of dolphins and whales is an important cultural tradition. But many on the streets of Tokyo thought the film was exaggerated.
"I have a feeling that there is a bit too much sensationalism," said Mari Akida, a 60-year-old business consultant when asked to comment on the film's Oscar win in Los Angeles on Sunday (March 7).
The film is set to be screened at cinemas across Japan for the first time later this year, but with some modifications, its distributor said.
"If the whole world is paying so much attention to the documentary, perhaps it may provide a good occasion for the film to be shown in Japanese theaters as well so that the Japanese can be aware of how the issue has been pictured abroad," said publishing house employee Akihiko Oishi, 51.
"Of course I feel pity for the dolphins but it's also true that from ancient times mankind has been living by eating animals and plants. But I also agree that such a probe is also necessary so it's very difficult to give a firm opinion," said Masaaki Kibe, a 24-year-old college student.
The film is directed by former National Geographic photographer Louie Psihoyos and features a former dolphin trainer from the "Flipper" television series as its main protagonist.
- Copyright Holder: REUTERS
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