Joi Ito's conversation with the living web.

March 2011 Archives

A New Culture of Learning

As an "informal learner" who dropped out of college and managed to survive, "The New Culture of Learning: cultivating imagination for a world of constant flux" captures and provides a coherent framework for many of the practices that guide my own life. If their suggestions are able to be weaved into the discourse and practice of formal education, informal learners like myself might be able to survive without dropping out. In addition, even those who are able to manage formal education could have their experiences greatly enhanced.

John Seely Brown has continued to help give me confidence in the chaos + serendipity that is my life and have helped those who seek to understand people like us. This book brings together a lot of his work and the work of others (like my sister ;-) ) in a concise book definitely worth reading.

One year after winning an Academy Award for best documentary, the filmmakers have released The Cove dubbed in Japanese for free online. In addition a local group called People Concerned for the Ocean are distributing a DVD to all of the citizen of Taiji, the city where the dolphin killings and The Cove takes place.

I've been trying in my own way to try to get more attention to The Cove in Japan. There are criticisms by some Japanese about the film. Some ask "why dolpins and not cows?" Others complain that it's picking on local Japanese culture. Mainly, Japanese don't like foreigners trying to cause change inside of Japan.

The Japanese are not unique about this however - just listen to the Chinese or the recent speeches by Mubarak or Gaddafi. Japan has a very strong nationalist movement that is against any kind of criticism about Japan from the outside.

Why the online release of the film in Japan is so important is that the Japanese people should watch the movie and make up their own mind. Regardless of what you think about the film, banning it is unexcusable. A small group of people from Taiji along with nationalists have prevented the film from being broadly screen in Japan.

The Japanese people should decide whether the claims and criticisms in the film are valid and if it resonates with enough hearts and minds of enough Japanese, then the Japanese will make it a domestic issue and call for an investigation and a change.

The film has a few threads that I think will attract the attention of different groups in Japan. The "save the dolphins" aspect of the film will attract the dolphin lovers, divers and animal rights people.

There are many Japanese who don't care about dolphins. However, the film reveals evidence of very high mercury content in dolphins and the possibility that this meat is being sold as whale meat and being put in children's school lunches. Knowningly causing mercury poisoning in school children is the kind of corruption that would move a completely different set of Japanese - possibly even those conservatives who are pro-whaling.

I urge everyone to send this URL to any Japanese person you know. I will be posting a Japanese translation of this blog post soon.

The URL is:

Yuri Kageyama has written about this in Forbes.

The Japanese distributors of the DVD appear to have gotten the downloads from Japan blocked but some bad bad person appears to be mirroring the download.

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