Malcolm Wright and Hideki Fuji are old friends. Hideki is a pro-whaling Japanese national. Malcolm Wright is African American, naturalized Australian, and an ocean conservationist and filmmaker. Both know well how much stands in the way of cross-cultural dialogue about whaling. Hideki struggles with the Sea Shepherd-style shock tactics of the West and Malcolm wonders how Hideki could condone the slaughter of such sophisticated, majestic animals for food. Together, they challenge each other%u2019s assumptions in a hardball exchange of dares.
This leads to Malcolm living for a week with a Japanese whaling family. He experiences their lives as they hunt Baird%u2019s beaked whales using the grenade-harpoon method, and comes to understand what whaling means for their livelihood and identity. Malcolm then takes the family to the Cook Islands as guests of the non-lethal whale research project. Here they swim with whales, witnessing the bond between mother and newborn calf and gain an insight into a Western whale-lover%u2019s passion for these animals.
Whale Like Me is the first step on a path to Western-Japanese reconciliation over the issue of whaling. The headline-grabbing stunts of the anti-whaling camp have kept the issue alive, but in some ways have done whales more harm than good. With the Japanese adamant about their claim to the right to hunt whales, and the West unable to convince them otherwise, Whale Like Me offers a balanced, respectful alternative to the confrontation.
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