“The place where you are called is where
your deepest joy meets the world’s greatest hunger.”

Frederick Buechner

Jean-Marie Ghislain

The world is hungry for love in so many places. When I asked myself where my deepest joy lay, it was clearly in the Oceans with the dolphins and the whales. Without them, I would not be here today.

When I was 14, I underwent a profound depression. A life turning experience, it became the opportunity for rebirth. And as I was blessed with the gift of an amazing teacher on land, so did the dolphins play a similar role in the oceans, guiding me on my journey of spiritual renewal.

How and where could I put my joy in service to the world?

It is when I started to ponder these questions that I heard about the Cove in Taiji over ten years ago.

As a Japanese person who has grown up overseas, I have been continuously confronted by my European and American peers about my view on the plight of the cetaceans in Japan. Witnessing this from the outside, I have always felt called to “do something” about it but unsure of how.

When life (and Covid) brought my family and I to Japan in 2020 and we made the choice to settle there against all odds, I saw it as the perfect opportunity to get involved. 

As cliche as it may sound, dolphins have saved my life. And I simply wanted to give back. 

I launched “Project Anima” in 2022 with a crowdfunding campaign for our first grass boat ceremony in Taiji in collaboration with Japanese artists. The campaign was a success, opening the way for a second ceremony in 2023 with new partnerships and a growing number of supporters. 

Project Anima is now a Japan based organization, with a small but mighty team. Our goal is to grow into a Foundation or a Trust in the near future as we lay the groundwork for our next beautiful challenge, the creation of an authentic Rescue and Rehabilitation Sanctuary for Dolphins and Small Whales. 

Leina Sato, founder 

michiko kamesaki


Founding member –

20代の頃、ウミガメに会いたくてダイビングを始め、海が大好きになる 同時に、水族館にいる海の生き物達を見て、彼らが本来住む海にいられたらいいのに、との思いが強くなる。








大好きなイルカ、クジラ達とともに、仲間達とともに、このproject animaに参加することは、わたしにとっては、「その先」へゆこうということ。

Sae Katsuta


Founding member –














Michiko Kamesaki

Founding member –

My love for the ocean developed in my mid twenties, as I started free-diving to meet sea turtles.

After witnessing them in the open sea, my experience of marine parks and aquariums changed drastically. My desire to see marine animals thrive in their natural habitat intensified.

Soon after, the wish to encounter dolphins in the wild grew stronger and led me to the island of Ogasawara.

I ended up moving there with my family, surrounded by the vast ocean where dolphins and whales coexist peacefully with islanders. This relationship fueled by respect and the duty to protect and preserve gave rise to a feeling of profound love in me.

Inspired by Leina’s film “The Journey/Mother Ocean” in 2021, I joined a retreat to meet her, deepening my connection with the sea and my understanding of the dolphin drive hunts in Taiji.

Discovering the reality of the hunts and their connection to the captivity industry was a transformative turning point. It deepened my sense of connection with the web of life, reshaped my consciousness, and altered my lifestyle.

Today, I aspire to participate in the creation of a world where all beings live freely and happily.

Many years ago, I received a message from the humpback whales migrating to the island: “Move forward”.

I feel that my participation to Project Anima symbolizes that first step “forward”, guided by the spirits of the dolphins and the whales.

Sae Katsuta

Founding member –

I had my first experience of swimming with dolphins in the wild at the age of 20.

Following this encounter, I underwent an experience that I still cannot express in words – which lasted for over six months- leading to a significant shift in consciousness.

In October 2003, I learnt about an upcoming exhibition at the Nagoya Port Aquarium, showcasing orcas captured in Taiji in the region of Wakayama (referred to as the “Taiji 5”)
Upon hearing these news, my friends and I founded a citizen group to start an opposition movement in Nagoya, where I lived.

We were engaged in actions such as symposiums and collecting signatures for opposition campaigns
but I gradually started experiencing deep burnout and a sense of despair as my involvement grew, eventually leading me to distance myself from activism.
In 2019, while on the Big Island of Hawaii, I met Leina, a Japanese woman raised in France and in Hawaii.

As our connection deepened, I felt a renewed sense of hope about the possibility of change in Japan, in regard to the conditions of dolphins and whales

Rather than engaging in opposition movements or asserting one’s righteousness, I saw hope in promoting a new value system of coexistence with dolphins and whales through beauty and a creative approach.

The seed of this project has been germinating and evolving inside of me for over twenty years, as I held in my core the longing for a world where we can truly coexist with the dolphins and whales

Through Project ANIMA, this desire has manifested in a new form.
After participating in the grief ceremonies in Taiji in 2022 and 2023, my decision to be involved in this project as a core member feels simply natural and inevitable.