Symposium: “New Tales about Whales in Science, Society and Art”


On December 10, 2010, The Beautiful Whale Project held a symposium at the United Nations University in Shibuya. Leading Japanese scientists in whale studies, social and international political scientists, and artists in visual and written media made fascinating presentations of their work. Attended by 150 people in all, the event was warmly welcomed as an opportunity to move beyond the impasse of the whaling debate, to share knowledge and critical analysis, and to celebrate the growing interest in and affection for whales and dolphins that exist in Japan. Presenters included leading whale specialists KASUYA Toshio and MORI Kyoichi; acoustic specialist AKAMATSU Tomonari; dolphin specialist SHIRAKIHARA Miki; political scientists MORIKAWA Jun, ISHII Atsushi; journalist SAKUMA Junko; photographer MINAKUCHI Hiroya, artist KUBO Namiyo, novelist and nonfiction writer FUJISAKI Shingo (author of science fiction novel King of Whales) and artist KAWAI Haruyoshi. The introductory speech of the symposium was by whale researcher and author Erich HOYT. The moderator was manga artist and author IWAMOTO Kyusoku.


"New Tales about Whales in Science, Society and Art"

10.00 Symposium Starts

10:00-10:05 Lucy NORTH: Emcee's Welcome

10.05-10.15 Erich HOYT: Introductory Speech: Exploring and Disseminating New Tales about Whales

10:15 IWAMOTO Kyusoku: Moderator's Opening Speech

IWAMOTO Kyusoku is a manga artist, celebrated for his superbly subtle and surreal manga. He is a master of black humour, one of the leaders in bird watching and the founder of whale watching in Japan.

10:20 Panel One: New Tales about Whales in Science

KASUYA Toshio:

A Glimpse of the Strange Community of Short-finned Pilot Whales

MORI Kyoichi:

The Whales and Dolphins of Ogasawara – “This is Tokyo, too!”


Long-term Investigation of Indo-Pacific Bottlenose Dolphins

in Amakusa, Japan

AKAMATSU Tomonari:

Listening to the Sounds of Whales and Dolphins

Panel Discussion and Audience Q&A

13:30 Panel Two: New Tales about Whales in Society


An Untold Story: The History, Activities, and Influence of the Parliamentarian League for the Promotion of Whaling within the LDP


What Japanese Really Think: The Truth Behind Whale Meat Distribution and Opinion Polls

ISHII Atsushi:

Towards a New Paradigm for the Whaling Issue: A Critical Analysis of Whaling Discourses

Panel Discussion and Audience Q&A

15:35 Panel Three: New Tales about Whales in Art

KUBO Namiyo:

A New World Opened Up to the Artist by Whale Mothers and Calves

KAWAI Haruyoshi:

The Past and Future Role of a Marine Animal Illustrator


The Inner Space That Harbors Monstrous Whales


Whale Photography: Its Impact on Whales and the Implications

Panel Discussion and Audience Q&A

17:15 IWAMOTO Kyusoku:

Closing Speech: New Tales About Whales — Where do we go from here?

17:30 Conference Ends

19:00 Opening party of The Beautiful Whale Project show (9-18 December) at Temporary Contemporary Gallery featuring the photographs of Bryant AUSTIN, the animations of KAWAII Haruyoshi and whale watch videos from around Japan.

To download a free copy of the symposium programme with abstracts and biographies of participants, New Tales about Whales Symposium Programme.pdf.

To download a copy of Erich Hoyt’s Introductory Symposium Speech, E.Hoyt New Tales about Whales Symposium Talk 10Dec FINAL.pdf.