These photos were taken at the supermarket near my house — canned whale meat. Internationally, Japan has been coming under fire for its whale hunting.
A certain amount of whale fishing by the Japanese is permitted on the grounds that the whales will be used for "research". Some of the research seems to be putting them in cans for people to eat!
I don't have enough information about whale hunting (how many whales are killed by the Japanese, etc) and how it affects the whale population to make informed comments about the impact this is having.
But here it is, whale in a can. Yours for ¥468 (US$5).
A little bit of background: The years after the war (and even before it), whale meat was a standard school lunch. Typically fried, whale meat was gobbled up by school children.
School children today do not typically eat whale meat. Heck, most younger Japanese do not eat it. Whale meat is just not that popular with young Japanese. That's not to say they have not eaten it or do not eat it, but, it's just not a regular part of the diet. It's possible to find it canned or simply raw at some, not all, supermarkets. (Raw whale meat tastes akin to raw beef.)
But because of its history of being served to school children, whale meat does not have the allure of some of Japan's pricier delicacies like puffer fish.
For older Japanese, whale meat is a nostalgic food. It reminds them of being in school of when they were younger. And since no one lives forever, the meat could gradually fad out of the Japanese diet as one generation supplants the next.
Still whale meat is a flavor of the past — which is one reason why the country continues its whaling industry. The other reason, as far as I can tell, is that perhaps Japanese people don't like to be told what they can and cannot eat by other countries — even if they are eating an endangered species.
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