What words are used for dolphin meat?

Searching jisho.org using "dolphin" in the English field listed several different words for dolphin, but no compounds involving meat.

Neither the English nor the Japanese editions of Wikipedia have an entry about dolphin meat. However, the Japanese article on dolphin drive fishing mentions イルカ肉 , which'd be イルカ "dolphin (or other small toothed whales, such as porpoises, belugas, etc.)" according to jisho.org, plus the kanji for meat. Is イルカ肉 the only word, or are there other words as well?

Background: In case I get accused of trolling. Someone asked a question about dolphin meat on another Stack Exchange site yesterday, and I was wanting to look up how many cookpad recipes mention dolphin meat as an ingredient. This question could also be useful for someone wanting to know the Japanese for dolphin meat in order to avoid eating it - I know of one person asking the name of a certain meat (not dolphin) to ensure that they didn't ever eat it.

  • 1
    Why do you think there might be other words for it? Aug 28, 2012 at 15:05
  • 3
    Hahahaha! This question gets my upvote for its sheer ridiculousness!
    – istrasci
    Aug 28, 2012 at 15:09
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    @phoenixheart6 Primarily because there were several words for dolphin. But come to think of it, in English, even a single animal can get several words. Otherwise we wouldn't have the expression "mutton dressed as lamb".
    – Golden Cuy
    Aug 28, 2012 at 22:35
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    @phoenixheart6 In Japanese fish often have different names depending on their maturity/size. Going off that it wouldn't surprise me if whale/dolphin did too.
    – Jeemusu
    Aug 29, 2012 at 1:20
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    @hippietrail I'm not assuming that there's only a single word. Was that comment addressed at someone else?
    – Golden Cuy
    May 11, 2014 at 7:02

2 Answers 2


Yes, there is the more broad term 鯨肉 (げいにくor くじらにく). However, because this term usually refers to whale meat, イルカ肉 is more common to distinguish between the two.

Also, I should mention that the likelihood of you ever having the chance to eat dolphin meat nowadays is very slim, unless you travel to Wakayama prefecture perhaps. In the past, in some areas, such as 伊豆半島【いずはんとう】, you could find it in local supermarkets, labeled as 生イルカ, etc. However, this has pretty much stopped. On the other hand, whale meat is easier to find and you might find it in some very local 居酒屋, etc. Usually it is sold as くじらベーコン or 鯨【くじら】の[大和煮]【やまとに】.

  • A restaurant in Sendai had dolphin last year. I remember my colleague being disappointed because the wholes had been sold out in less than a day, before he could get some. Whale, I've seen that on the menu of many izakayas in Sendai, small ones as well as chains. I also had crocodile (ワニ), but it's quite less common. More than dolphin, though.
    – Axioplase
    Aug 29, 2012 at 6:56
  • @Axioplase: I'm not surprised you found it in a restaurant. However, I expect it to become less common after all the publicity it has been getting in the news.
    – Jesse Good
    Aug 29, 2012 at 21:08
  • I've seen packaged dolphin meat for sale in Japan. I think it was in one of the places selling local specialties in a 道の駅, but it might have been in a supermarket. Somewhere in the past four years I think when I was hitchhiking in Tohoku or somewhere north and my Japanese driver pointed it out to me. Mar 3, 2014 at 10:58

Dolphin meat is sometimes spelt with a の (イルカの肉) as well. I've had イルカ肉 corrected to イルカの肉, and イルカの肉 is mentioned in the Japanese language Wikipedia article mentioned in the quesiton.

This isn't surprising, given the many conventions for meat given in Different conventions for animal meat

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