History of Muroto and a whaleHistory
Whales have brought wealth to Japanese people since ancient times. Beyond harvesting their meat, their oil, baleen and bones were also thoroughly and effectively used. It was once said that catching a single whale could bring wealth to seven towns. In this way, Japanese people nurtured a unique Japanese whaling culture with feelings of awe and gratefulness towards whales.
Muroto was known as one of the leading whaling towns in Japan, as it was along the whales'migration route to the north or south along the Japanese archipelago. It was in the early of Edo period that whaling began in this place in earnest. Since then, Muroto has been involved with whales for about 300 years until modern times, where commercial whaling is prohibited.
Muroto's whaling developed greatly thanks to a fishing method called Net-Capture Whaling borrowed from Taiji Town in Wakayama Prefecture. Using this method, about 20 ships worked cooperatively to corral whales into a net. This could sometimes be dangerous. The bravery of whaling is preserved in a traditional whaling picture.