As criticism of the dolphin hunt underway in Japan's infamous Taiji continues to mount, Japanese officials have been put on the defensive, releasing a statement calling the capture and slaughter of corralled dolphins "a traditional form of fishing in our country."
But while much of the outrage has stemmed from the West, protests over the practice are growing among those most capable of outlawing the brutal hunt -- the Japanese people themselves.
Dolphin activist Satoshi Komiyama, in an interview with TakePart, says that the public's knowledge of Taiji's dolphin hunt, which claims the freedom and lives of hundreds of wild dolphins a year, is surprisingly limited -- especially since it's been defended as a national tradition.
In fact, outside of Taiji, most Japanese citizens might find the practice as disturbing as those critics abroad.
"The majority of Japanese people do not know about the dolphin hunting, so they have no idea about Taiji either," says Komiyama. "But when I tell people about what is happening there, they typically say, 'poor dolphins,' 'unbelievable,' or 'unimaginable.'"