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[Hidden Wonders of Japan] Whales Get Their Teeth Brushed at Special Event in Taiji

Visitors to the Taiji Whale Museum had an opportunity to get up close to the whales and learn about their unique dental characteristics.



Whales get their teeth brushed at the Taiji Whale Museum in Wakayama Prefecture on June 1. (© Kyodo)

Visitors to the Taiji Whale Museum were in for a special treat in June. In the coastal town of Taiji in picturesque Wakayama Prefecture, visitors watched the resident whales getting their teeth brushed. This annual tradition is held during Dental and Oral Health Week from June 4 to 10. This year, it was open for viewing three times a day until June 10.

During the event, the spotlight was on three captivating whale species: the short-finned pilot whale, the false killer whale, and Risso's dolphin. 

Skilled caretakers carefully cleaned the whales' teeth using large brushes. They also provided fascinating insights into their unique dental characteristics. Haruka Hiramatsu, the enthusiastic leader of the museum's whale team, shared her excitement: "It's an incredibly rare opportunity to peek inside a live whale's mouth. I encourage everyone to compare the different shapes of their teeth."

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(© Kyodo)


(Read the article in Japanese.)

Learn more about Japanese culture, relationship with whales, and whaling at the dedicated site, Whaling Today.

Author: The Sankei Shimbun