© 2018

The Japanese Culture of Mourning Whales

Whale Graves and Memorial Monuments in Japan


About this book


This book provides an in-depth study of Japanese whaling culture, emphasizing how the Japanese have considered whales and whaling in relation to their understanding of nature and religion. It examines why and how the Japanese have mourned the deaths of whales, treating them as if they were human beings, and assesses the relevance of this culture to nature conservation and management of sustainable use of natural resources. It also sheds new light on Japanese whaling, one of the most controversial issues in the contemporary world, by highlighting the hitherto unknown aspects of Japanese beliefs about whales and whaling, which constitute an integral part of their core concept of how they should coexist with nature. Through cross-examining previous studies of Japanese whaling, as well as analyzing new documents and conducting field research on location, this book presents a comprehensive survey of Japanese whaling culture and memorial rites for whales and offers viable insights on how the Japanese whaling culture can be applied to solving current global issues, including nature conservation, management of sustainable use of natural resources, and protection of wildlife and its habitats.


Japanese Whaling Culture and Religious Belief Whaling in Japan and Politics Japanese Belief Systems about Whales Japan and the International Whaling Commission Mourning Whales in Japan Japanese Whaling and Sustainable Use of Natural Resources. Japanese Beliefs about Whales and Whaling Japanese Whaling and Coexistence with Nature Memorial Rites for Whales in Japan

Authors and affiliations

  1. 1.PrincetonUSA

About the authors

Mayumi Itoh is former Professor of Political Science at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, US. She has also taught at Princeton University and Queens College, City University of New York and has written numerous books, including Globalization of Japan (1998), The Hatoyama Dynasty (2003), Japanese Wartime Zoo Policy (2010), and The Origin of Ping-Pong Diplomacy (2011). 

Bibliographic information