Joi Ito's conversation with the living web.

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.


Fantastic! The only thing that could've made this better is if it had been Creative Commons licensed.. ;)

Nicely written, sir! I shared the link to Japanese artists I follow in Twitter and to my personal friends, too, so that they can help in spreading the word. I'll check your website every now and then to know if you have posted the Japanese translation of this entry.

May the dolphins (and the advocates, as well) win this fight!

My Japanese translation of the blog post is here:

Just now The Cove download has been blocked in Japan with a regional IP denial notice:

The workaround of course is an anonymizer proxy. I just downloaded the film flawlessly in Kyoto, for example, with

Anybody in Japan can do that, but I don't know how many people here are familiar with anonymous proxy technology. This site gives a wide range of options -, but it's all in English (or Russian) alas.

If anyone knows a Japanese language site that introduces this tech, it would be helpful to spam it around to the dolphin supportive crowd over here. It would both help to get the movie out and spread some useful countermeasures to other censorship challenges downstream.

So if they don't know how to use the anonymizer proxy, the Japanese can't access the free download of "The Cove"?? That's just sad. By blocking the website, there's a lesser chance of saving the dolphins ASAP. :(

Just checked, the IP block is still in place. But it's okay, because as Jae wrote, this movie is a piece of trash that's pretty much fabricated.

I usually appreciate the things I find at this blog but I cannot support what amounts to little mote than the mindless pushing of bigotry and xenophobia for money.

There is absolutley no reason to demonize the people of Taiji or any other culture that eats species different than the ones you eat yourselves.

If the same people pushin this contrived and yuppie approved hatred were doing the same against local people in their own backyards who eat polluted and genuinely endangered fish species every day then I would still find it pointless & unecological but at least it would be logical.

As it is we are in the throes of a devestating crisis of food diversity. Attacking minority food cultures not only undermines environmental cooperation and replaces it with xenophobia but takes what should unite us as a planet -nFood - and turns it into another reason for foundations to pull the chains of the gullible and hateful for nothing more than money.

Leave the dolphin eaters in peace.

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