(AP) -- Copies of the 2010 Oscar-winning film that depicts the slaughter of dolphins in the Japanese fishing village of Taiji have been delivered free to its residents, compliments of the director.
Louie Psihoyos, director of "The Cove," said Monday the film dubbed in Japanese was delivered via regular mail over the weekend to all households, with the help of a local group called People Concerned for the Ocean.
An official at Taiji city hall confirmed that two copies of the DVD had been received, but no one had looked at them yet.
Psihoyos said he was concerned many Japanese have yet to see the film, but especially the 3,500 people of Taiji in the southwest of the country.
"The people in Taiji deserve to know what millions of others around the world have learned about their town," said the American director.
"The Cove" received a Best Documentary Oscar a year ago for its scathing portrayal of Taiji's dolphin hunting tradition. It showed about a dozen fishermen scaring the dolphins with metallic banging noises into a cove, and then stabbing them as they bled and writhed in the water.
The film outraged many around the world, but Japan has defended the practice.
The film was shown last year at some theaters in the country. But the theaters and the distributor were often targeted by protesters who objected to the film as disrespectful to Japanese culture. They used trucks with blaring loudspeakers in an attempt to intimidate neighborhoods into shutting down the shows.
"I hope the people of Taiji feel a sense of relief when they see 'The Cove' because they'll realize that it is just a handful of local environmental thugs giving a whole nation a black eye, not them," Psihoyos told The Associated Press. "To me the film is a love letter to the people of Taiji."
The Japanese government allows about 20,000 dolphins to be caught each year. Most Japanese have never eaten dolphin meat. The hunts generate far more money from selling live animals to aquariums.
Explore further: Veterinary research highlights refocus for cattle export
Free viewing of the Japanese-dubbed version of "The Cove":
"The Cove": http://www.thecovemovie.com/