Tokyo Damage Report

Translation of Kobayashi Yoshinori’s manga about whaling.

 

Lately, I’ve been really interested in Kobayashi Yoshinori. He’s famous for being a right-wing cartoonist. There aren’t many of those, in any country! He publishes a magazine called “WASHISM” – either a pun on “washi” (meaning, “me”, or “me-ism”), or a parody on “fascism,” depending on who you ask. Mr. Kobayashi prides himself on being a straight-talking populist who stands up to bad guys and says what the politicians are afraid to say. He’s not one of the scary, black-truck thugs of Japan. He’s more like Rush Limbaugh – a friendly, funny guy crusading for justice , (making his opponents seem weak-minded, illogical, and humorless). But unlike American populists who hate them some book-learnin’, Kobayashi tries to be very logical and well-reasoned in his approach. His comics are a deliberate mix of reasoned argument, self-righteous thunder, and self-mockery/bad puns. It’s an ingenious mix : too much logic is boring, so we have some preaching. But too much preaching is kind of egotistical, so we have some humor to bring it down to earth. Too much humor and you lose your focus, so we have the logic! He’s been doing comics for over 20 years, but he’s no shy OTAKU – he does public speaking and debating with other politically-minded showbiz people. He also travels to other countries, mostly third-world Asian countries, and talks to the people there.

 

Unfortunately he’s also quite insane.

 

I have translated his 2002 comic about Japan’s whaling industry (from Wascism issue #1) to give you some idea of just how insane. Kobayashi lives in a world where whales – run amok! – are devouring all the earth’s fish, and only Japan can save us from this cetacean menance. But, like the X-men, the Japanese are misunderstood and feared : instead of the world saying “Thank you for saving us from these gluttons!” the anti-whaling countries ( motivated by pure racism and backed by no less than Nelson Rockefeller!) harass and defame Earth’s savior. In Kobayashi’s world, Greenpeace is only in it for the money, (all those Rockefeller millions, plus the many diamonds and pearls they get in the mail from donations), Anglo Saxons are Japan’s enemy (Despite the Scandinavian countries being the most pro-whaling countries), and the whole anti-whaling movement is an international conspiracy to make Japan dependent on foreign tuna! Reading this manga is sort of like meeting a Tabacco-industry scientist who is also an LSD researcher. Anyway, I’ll resist the temptation to make fun of him further, and get on with the comic:


 

GOMANISM !

EPISODE 1 – PAY ATTENTION TO THE SHIMONOSEKI SUMMIT!

 

PAGE ONE

PANEL 1: In my comic “War journal 2” volume 17, I wrote a gag-parody comic called “The Arrogance of Those Who Would Judge The Past.”

 

PANEL 2: It was a SF-Horror manga about a future Japan where it was not allowed to eat whales. And grandchildren would yell at their grandparents:”You barbarians! You ate the whale, I judge you harshly!!”

 

PANEL 3: When I was young, I used to treasure the whale steak!

 

PANEL 4: My father loved pickled whale with (some kind of damn Japanese sauce)

 

PAGE TWO

PANEL 1: Even now, when I return to my hometown, I always stop at my favorite restaurant and have some whale bacon. Combined with some sake, it’s explosively good!

 

PANEL 2:Sometimes I have a chance to go to Shimonoseki.

 

PANEL 3: Matsuyama Masushi, who used to be head of the JC company, a lobbying firm which used to help the Committee To Select Students Textbooks, now is a City Councilman. Sometimes, when we meet, we meet and share our views on politics.

 

PANEL 4: It was through this friendship that I was able to meet the Mayor of Shimonoseki, Mr. Ejima Kiyoshi.

 

PANEL 5: Shimonoseki is very close to my hometown of Fukuoka but I seldom go there. When one thinks of Shimonoseki, images of Fugu (puffer fish) Choushuu (the old kingdom of the Shogun days) and Takasugi Shinsaku (a politician) come to mind.

 

PANEL 6:This year, the city theme that Mayor Kiyoshi is working hard to publicize is “Whales.” From April 25 until May 24, there will be a month-long World Whaling Summit held in Shimonoseki.

 

 

PAGE THREE

PANEL 1: At the IWC (the International Whaling Commision) annual summit, representatives of the 40 member countries will gather and discuss the issue, “Should whaling be allowed, or not?” OF COURSE, JAPAN’S CASE SHOULD BE, “RESUME WHALING!”

 

PANEL 2: In 1982, the IWC adopted a resolution which said, “From 1986, commercial whaling should be phased out.” Japan obeyed, and stopped catching whales. But, we continue to hunt Minke whales at the South Pole, for the purpose of studying their environment.

 

PANEL 3: Mayor Kiyoshi said that this summit was very important because it could decide Japan’s fate: whether we are able to catch enough seafood to be a self-sufficient country depends on the decision to resume whaling. That’s why he lobbied so hard for the summit to be held in his city.

 

PANEL 4: Obviously, the anti-whaling environmental groups such as Greenpeace are saying “ Japan should not resume whaling!” In violation of international law, they carry on their dangerous activity of harassing and impeding our research vessels, and filming the research from their helicopters. Those movies are the way they get their contribution money!

 

PAGE FOUR

(big-ass whale pictures on top untranslated)

PANEL 1:The “Anti-whaling countries” Australia, New Zealand, England. . .not to mention America . . . are sending their representatives. These ANGLO-SAXON AND EUROPEAN COUNTRIES are sixteen in total.

 

PANEL 2: When it’s election time, the environmental groups promise all their members’ votes will go to certain politicians. So there’s a secret alliance between radical groups and the establishment.

The environmental groups don’t want to miss out on all the contribution money they get from their “anti-whaling campaign”, either!

 

So that’s why Japan can’t procure enough fish from the sea to feed its own citizens : these foreign groups are aiming to make us dependent on importing seafood from them!

 

PANEL 3: The number of IWC member countries cooperating with Japan is increasing! Norway, Denmark, China, Korea, Russia, the Carribean federation, and the Solomon Islands, 14 countries in all.

PAGE FIVE

PANEL 1: some of my readers are probably saying things like this:

“Whales are wise and cute, so you shouldn’t kill them.”
”Whales are near extinction, aren’t they?”

“It’s fine to eat livestock such as pigs and cows, but killing wild animals is wrong.”

“After all this time, (of not eating whale), we don’t really need to eat whales anymore.”

“Whales are just for looking at !!”

 

PANEL 2: But, these opinions are all incorrect!

 

PANEL 3: The “whale problem” can’t be solved by such simple-minded and emotional arguments.

 

PANEL 4: To Japan, no . . to the whole world, there is a much bigger problem!!!!

 

PAGE SIX

PANEL 1: I was staying overnight in a Shimonoseki hotel.

 

PANEL 2: In the middle of the night, I heard a crying voice.

 

PANEL 3: It sounded like a roar. . . it sounded like a moan. . . this suspicious voice.

 

PANEL 4: What the hell is that? It’s not a siren. . .

 

PANEL 5: Did I come all the way to Shimonoseki, only to have to deal with this . . this lullaby?!?

 

PANEL 6: It’s going on a long time. . . is it possible it might last another hour?

 

PAGE SEVEN

 

PANEL 1: But, on the other hand, we guys take some pride, if we’re strong enough to make a girl scream for a whole hour.

 

PANEL 2: When I was younger, they used to say I had that kind of special power, haha! I was proud of that, wasn’t I?

 

PANEL 3: Hey, it’s already been 2 hours! That’s too long, you guys.

 

PANEL 4: But still , I have to give that guy respect. When I get back home, I’ll have to work on my physical fitness. For real this time!

 

PANEL 5: On the other hand, I came all the way to SHIMOnoSEKI, and now My SHIMO has been SEKI-ed(untranslatable pun!!).

 

PANEL 6: SHUT THE FUCK UP!

 

PANEL 7: The next morning, I had barely slept at all, when I got a call from m ysecretary. “Boss, It’s time for breakfast and a morning stroll.”

 

PANEL 8: As we stepped out of the hotel, I discovered this guy beside it:

 

PAGE EIGHT

PANEL 4: YOU FUCKERRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR!!!

 

 

PAGE NINE

PANEL 1: I was fighting mad, from the bottom of my heart. But if the truth be told, I was also a little relieved.

“Boss, quit it! What on earth did that dog ever do to you??”

 

PANEL 2: “If this was Korea, you’d be eaten by now, asshole!”

Koreans eat dogs, but that is a matter of culture, and one should not complain about other countries’ cultures.

 

PANEL 3: And so on, and so on, until I have to forcibly drag the discussion back to whales again. We went down an unrelated side street there for a while!

 

PANEL 4: Far from whales going extinct, certain species are actually increasing in population. It’s the humans’ survivial we should be worried about!

 

The Minke whale and the Koku population is healthy – even the IWC’s research team admits that.

 

PANEL 5: In the oceans close to Japan, the Minke and Makkou whales have grown so plentiful, they are eating fish in huge amounts, putting our fishermen in jepoardy.

 

PANEL 6: The Minke whales are reproducing especially fast – their population has increased to over 700,000. Shironaga whales are also protected by the anti-whaling laws, but their popularion doesn’t increased. The reaon is that the traditional breeding grounds of Shironaga whales are completely over-run by minke whales!

 

 

PAGE TEN

PANEL 1: The yearly seafood consumption of whales worldwide used to be 280,000,000 tons, and now it’s 500,000,000 tons! Humans worldwide only eat 90,000,000 tons of seafood a year. IN OTHER WORDS, WHALES ARE CONSUMING 3 TO 6 TIMES AS MUCH SEAFOOD AS PEOPLE!!!

PANEL 2: That’s why whales have been beaching themselves recently : they don’t have enough food left to feed themselves!

 

PANEL 3:The massively-eating whales continue to remain themselves uneaten (because of the protection laws) , so the environmental balance of the ocean is already being thrown out of whack. Humans, who also depend on the dwindling supplies of fish, are in trouble, too! If we don’t “thin the herd” of whales, the environmental balance of the oceans will be upset.

 

PANEL 4: Originally, both humans and whales were mammals who ate seafood, and so the balance of nature was maintained. But if I can put it more specifically, the ocean is a resource for humans, who naturally eat both fish and whales. That is the way nature intended it. We humans are a natural part of the ocean ecology!

 

PAGE ELEVEN

 

PANEL 1: Obviously, we can’t hunt whales recklessly. Those who only think of short-term profit, and economics; they won’t mind if whales go extinct, but they are missing the point.

 

PANEL 2: And that is exactly why we have been conducting our vital research/hunting in the Antarctic : we are trying to protect the environment! We find out how many whales we have to kill to restore the balance!

 

PANEL 3: This is the very research that the environmental groups are disrupting and spreading lies about. The world press prints these un-scientific arguments without any counter-point from the pro-whaling side. There are even those in Japan that print the lies!

 

PANEL 4: Every year, these so-called “anti-whaling nations” themselves kill a million deer and kangaroos- they say it’s for population control, and natural resource management.

 

PANEL 5: Just to raise one cow, many acres of forest are cut down, to plant crops, which are eaten by the cow – this also contributes to worldwide environmental damage.

 

PANEL 6: The burps of cows alone account for 15.5% of world methane pollution, according to a 1992 study. So it’s easy to see that rather than whales, eating beef is more of an environmental problem.

 

PANEL 7: The big fast-food companies are steadily cutting down Brazil’s rain forest, for the sake of cows, which spurs on global warming.

 

PAGE TWELVE

PANEL 1: BUT SINCE IT’S THE ANGLO SAXONS WHO EAT BEEF, THEY TURN A BLIND EYE TO THE ENVIRONMENTAL DAMAGE CAUSED BY THEIR OWN CULTURAL DIETARY HABITS, AND POINT THE FINGER AT WE JAPANESE, AND MAKE US STOP WHALING. IN DOING SO, THEY ALSO MESS UP THE ENVIRONMENTAL BALANCE OF THE OCEANS!

 

PANEL 2: “We have to save wild animals like whales!”

“It’s terrible to kill whales!”

“Only eat the livestock animals!”

Is what they say.

 

PANEL 3: (untranslateable pun)

 

PANEL 4: Livestock animals are born to die – their fate has been decided.

Livestock have a 0% chance of escaping.

I can’t imagine a more pathetic existence.

 

PANEL 5: Let’s compare them to whales: Our research kills less than .001% of the 700,000 Minke whales. Almost all of them live their lives in complete freedom.

 

PANEL 6: SO HOW CAN YOU COMPLAIN ABOUT WHALING, WHEN YOUR TREATEMENT OF LIVESTOCK IS SO MUCH WORSE???

 

 

PAGE THIRTEEN

PANEL 1: (gluttonous Japanese says) “There’s so much other food, why don’t you just eat something else already?”

 

. . . is what the egoist says. His ego will be his downfall!

 

PANEL 2: WE PRODUCE ONLY 40% OF THE FOOD WE EAT!!!! Didn’t you know that?? In 1960, that figure was 79%, but now we’re producing the least food of any developed country!

 

PANEL 3: Japan only produces 23% of its grains natively!! Korea produces 73% of its grains natively, and even they complain it’s too low. So what does that make us?? 23% puts us right there at the bottom, with countries like Yemen, Iraq and Cuba!

 

PANEL 4: On top of that, they’re closing down our access to our own oceans – so we can’t catch our own seafood!

 

PANEL 5: In practice, Nelson Rockerfeller’s front groups are giving money to the environmentalists – he wants to cut off our access to the natural resources of the Pacific, and make us dependent on America’s food, benefiting both their economy and their control of us!

 

PANEL 6: Those guys are just STARTING with whales – next, they’ll campaign against our tuna fishing. This will be a crippling blow to our sushi restaraunts!

 

 

PAGE FOURTEEN

PANEL 1: ARE WE GONNA LET THEM STOP US FROM RESUMING WHALING? THIS IS A MATTER OF NATIONAL SECURITY FOR US!

 

PANEL 2: You can look at it from a “national profit” standpoint. But the “whale problem” affects everyone, in every country!

 

PANEL 3: The world’s population is over 6,000,000,000. By 2050, it’ll be 10,000,000!!

 

PANEL 4: The fact is, the next generation will be the “Food Supply Problem” generation! If we continue to mismanage the Pacific ocean’s food resources this way, we can’t garuntee the future generation will have enough to eat.

 

PANEL 5: It’ll be every country for itself, and many species will be hunted to extinction in desperation.

 

PANEL 6: That’s why we have to thin the herd of whales and keep the population of every species in correct proportion. The real problem is how to restore the ocean environment’s balance.

 

 

PAGE FIFTEEN

PANEL 1: IF WE DON’T HUNT RECKLESSLY, IF WE DON’T EXHAUST NATURAL RESOURCES, WE CAN CONTINUE TO USE THE OCEAN FOREVER! THIS IS WHY JAPAN CONTINUES TO DO OUR RESEARCH! It’s for the good of all humans – black, white, yellow, brown – that Japan is undertaking the task of finding out how much we can hunt in a sustainable way.

 

PANEL 2: But the environemental sentimentalists who lament,”Killing whales is disgusting!” are disrupting our vital research, and telling the world lies about Japan’s intentions.

 

PANEL 3: And our Ministry of Ocean Fishing is very playing along in good faith – that’s us Japanese!

 

PANEL 4:the IWC was originally set up with the rule that “It’s ok to use whales for research purposes.” And a rule that said that Greenpeace could come along but only in the capacity of an “observer.” But already the IWC rules have been ignored or changed, to transform it into an anti-whaling organization.

 

PANEL 5: The Anglo Saxons ignore the IWC’s founding rules and try to encircle Japan in their nets. When we thrust our legitimate scientific research data in their faces, they respond with baseless accusations :they don’t have any (population control) data of their own (since they haven’t killed any whales).

 

PAGE SIXTEEN:

PANEL 1: America in 1978 passed a so-called “Perry Amendment”, unilaterally saying, “You guys’ countries’ whale management plan is bullshit and we crush it.” They went on to label certain countries as “bad nations” in their law.. TO THE END, I’LL INSIST THAT THIS AMERICAN LAW DOESN’T APPLY TO US.

 

PANEL 2: OF COURSE, THIS (Perry amendment) KIND OF ECONOMIC SANCTION IS IN VIOLATION OF GATT AND WTO. AMERICA DOESN’T HAVE THE PSYCHOLOGICAL OR ECONOMIC POWER TO MAKE JAPAN STOP OUR WHALE INVESTIGATIONS.

 

PANEL 3: in 1853, a different Perry came to Japan, and used “Gunboat Diplomacy” to make us open our borders to international trade. Specifically, they they forced us to open our ports so their whaling vessels could dock.

 

PANEL 4: Back in the day, America used to do whale hunting for whale oil- they’d just throw out all the delicious meat! Ever since Japan was opened up to the world, the “whale problem” has been an issue which has divided our two countries.

 

PANEL 5: CAN I BLUSTER FOR JUST A SECOND HERE??

 

PANEL 6: JAPAN CAN’T LOSE THIS BATTLE! THE “WHALES ARE TOO CUTE TO EAT”-SAYIN’-ASS ANGLO SAXONS DON’T HAVE ANY MORAL AUTHORITY TO THEIR ARGUMENTS! ON THE OTHER HAND, PRESERVING JAPAN’S TRADITIONS, ENSURING A SUSTAINABLE FUTURE FOR ALL PEOPLE, RESTORING THE BALANCE OF THE OCEAN’S ECOLOGY, AND FOR THE SAKE OF WHALES, WE DO WHALE RESEARCH. . . THESE ARE THE REASONS BEHIND OUR ARGUMENT. IT IS US WHO HAVE MORAL AUTHORITY ON OUR SIDE!


 

7 comments

7 Comments so far

  1. Shii April 5th, 2011 6:44 pm

    I'm going to borrow this translation (and credit you)…

  2. Rose B-H November 17th, 2011 10:21 am

    Heh heh heh… that's brightened my day 😀

  3. Timothy Takemoto May 17th, 2012 11:14 pm

    I am a fan. I can read it but thanks for translating it because he makes reasonable points. Alas I fear that whale huggers are unlikely to be persuaded. There is some sort of unshakable faith, "no but they are in danger," "no but they are majestic, beautiful, intelligent," even as their breath smells of the billions of cows, picks and chickens that they eat. I think that attacking whalers may be a way of fogetting the smell, the death. I also think that whale song (i.e. the myth that whales can speak) has done a lot for preceptions of whales among Anglo Saxons. The Japnaese do not care a flip about whether something speaks or sings or not (birds do) but Anglo Saxons, it is claimed, are their self narrative (c.f. McAdams, Dennet and Derrida). Things that speak are like themselves, even if they don't really speak. Another thing that improved perceptions of whales was the book "Whale nation" and the perception that whales marry. Anglo Saxons from the culture of "love" and nuclear families, love love and love those that love. See US movies – if a guy loves a woman then he can kill an infinite number of other humans to protect her. If whales (unlike those evil polygamist cows) love and are faithful to their whale wife, then killing them must be as bad as the baddies in US films.

    Why do you say he is insane? He is only saying that the whales are eating endangered fish reserves partly because their only predator have turned into whale huggers. Who is insane?

    I rather like this social psychological theory of the self, which I am about to blog about.

  4. Applemask June 21st, 2012 9:47 am

    YOU FUCKERRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR

  5. fon October 27th, 2013 4:46 am

    can i ask you something……….i understand where you coming from but sure it makes sense what you said about minke whales but one thing is Mother Nature created them so why killing them off like that, sure the Eco system MUST be balanced but this gives me a clue, that something is wrong because millions and thousands of yeahs ago everything was fine prefect no Eco system were unbalanced, but right now something is making minke whale population shoot up, like the jellyfish invading you country right now!!!!!! by the way i’m from Thailand but i now lived in Britain…..i what you mean i really do but there always a way to solve this problem with a tactic of not killing them :)

  6. fon October 27th, 2013 4:51 am

    oh by the way what we may hunt whales but the most amazing thing about whales id THEY KNOW HOW TO FORGIVE!!!!!!!!! they lived here on this planet for millions of years…..by hunting them 100 of years ago(the western countries) why do they forgive us for it????? do they see us as a good for nothing troubled making kids?????

  7. Sarah October 2nd, 2015 6:56 am

    Mike don’t eat fish

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