I’m an American. Growing up in this country does something to you that doesn’t happen anywhere else, save for maybe the UK and parts of Europe. It makes you feel safe and modern. Other countries have practices that we can’t understand as Americans, culture differences aside. People in other places are raised with different mindsets than ours, especially when it comes to age-old traditions and the like.
I’m not defending anything to do with Taiji, but when approaching things like this, one has to realize that the psyche of the people killing those dolphins is different than ours. They’re distanced from what they’re doing. They don’t see the dolphins as intelligent or generally amiable creatures, and certainly not as something that should be left alone.
So what is it that causes this? Well, whaling in Japan has existed since the 12th century. That tells us that there could be a sense of duty, even pride in one’s ancestors, in the act of poaching whales and dolphins for profit. Added to the fact that whalers could just use the excuse of living by the sea, and that they’re simply “fishing”, that’s quite a high defense for those who want to distance themselves from an ugly and violent truth in regards to what they’re doing.
There is a way to stop this, but again, a distant culture is always going to have the defense of its own people, even if a facet within it is cruel and wrong. I think getting Japanese citizens more involved instead of foreigners would promote a better understanding and empathy for the dolphins being harvested. It all comes down to localizing the issue, getting enough residents to be outraged and willing to stand up to a poisonous industry.