Whale hunting, Japan, 19th century

Whale hunting, Japan, 19th century

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Caption: Whale hunting in the Goto Islands, Japan, 19th century artwork. Hunters in rowing boats are throwing harpoons at the whale. Whaling in Japan has been recorded in books dating from the 8th century, with the whales being hunted for their meat. Other parts of the whale were also used, to produce oils and materials for use in crafts and industries. Group hunting methods were developed in the 17th century, and a new style of harpoon was introduced in 1606. The Goto Islands are in the south-west of Japan, in the East China Sea. This artwork, by Hiroshige Utagawa, dates from 1859. The Japanese title is at upper right.

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