Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Mountain Whale


Looking into the eye of a whale..... a Mountain Whale,..... which is also known as inoshishi,.... a wild boar. It was called mountain whale as a way to circumvent the proscription against eating meat. A whale is a fish and therefore exempt. Rabbits are classified as birds for the same reason.
Monks and buddhist priests, and devout buddhists, ate no meat, but most Japanese ate any meat they could get,... frog, snake, badger,.... dog was popular in Edo.


Inoshishi are classified as a pest as they destroy many gardens. My own gardens have been raided several times. Last autumn my neighbor set a trap next to one of the tracks that the boar were coming out of the forest on. In 3 months he caught 3 full-size boar.

We no longer have a hunter in our village, so a friend from another village was called and he dispatched the beast with one shot.

The tail is cut off so a small bounty can be gotten from the town council.

I have read that in parts of Japan many boars are killed as pests but the carcasses just burnt.


Round here inoshishi meat is prized, and from each one caught I got a leg and the ribs. Fresh boar meat is tender and very tasty.


I caught these little guys on the road a few years ago. They were just standing, waiting for their mom who was down in the rice paddy. Maybe one of these little cuties, a few years older, was what we ate :)


  1. "Rabbits are birds." As a matter of fact, they are counted as "ichiwa, niwa, sanba etc! as we count birds. We were told that the reason for this sort of counting is because rabbits jump. "Jump" and "fly" are the same in pronouciation of the Japanese words "TOBU".

    Maybe, I offend many but "whales" are very tasty and good.

  2. Another version has s it that the hares tall ears looked like wings...)

  3. Great post Ojisanjake.

    We're looking forward to some BBQ with fresh inoshishi meat here in Otaki as well.

    Perhaps we'll sit together and feast sometime. . .

  4. Hey Taintus....

    maybe you will do some research in my neck of the woods...

  5. Here inoshishi are also hunted as pests. I am sure that some of them are discarded without being used. most people do eat them though, and they are amazing. Maybe that is just because I rarely eat meat and compared to the store bought pork remember, there is no comparison.

    Monkeys are also hunted as pests and any hunter who kills one is given 20,000 yen. While some people eat monkey meat (I have yet to try it but am eager to at least once) most people just throw the body away.

    The reason they give is that it looks too much like a human. This seems odd to me since bears are also known for their resemblance to humans once they are skinned. Yet, people love bear meat here (as do I).