artist: Merzbow
title: Minazow Volume Two
catalog number: imprec107
format: LP
release date: August 22, 2006

Not to be confused with Merzbow's recent cd release on Important titled Minazow Vol 1, this is Minazow Volume 2 featuring new tracks dedicated to the memory of the mighty Minazow. This release is on vinyl only, housed in a deluxe heavy duty textured tip-on gatefold sleeve and pressed on green vinyl. Limited edition of 1000.

Minazow Vol 2 is Merzbow's tribute to the beloved male elephant seal who lived life in captivity at a Tokyo aquarium. Masami Akita often visited the seal at the aquarium and was allowed to access Minazo behind the scenes.

Minazo, an Elephant seal, died at 5:15 pm on October 4, 2005. He was 11
years old, still young for an elephant seal whose life expectancy is 20
years on average. Whatever the cause of death, I feel sad and angry
each time I hear about animals dying in captivity far away from their
natural habitat.
Minazo was raised at the Enoshima Aquarium in Kanagawa Prefecture. With a
strong build, 5 meters in height and 2 tons in weight, he was the only
male elephant seal in Japan.
Director Yukiko Hori said in her book "The Story of An Aquarium"
(published by Iwanami Shoten) that Minazo was brought to Japan from
Uruguay in 1995. His name, which consists of three kanji characters
meaning "beautiful", "male", and "elephant", was chosen from 1,500
public suggestions.
The aquarium had raised male and female elephant seals called Daikichi
and Omiya, who had been brought from the Antarctic island of South
Georgia in 1964. After they died in 1977 and 1979, specimens were made
using their skins, which are currently displayed at the aqarium. Hori
said that the previous experience with the two seals was of help in
raising Minazo.
Minazo became popular through TV appearances. He was once introduced on
a variety show as a look-alike for wrestler Bob Sapp, an insult to Minazo.
Elephant seals have far greater strength than humans, and can even crush a car
when they get really mad. Bob would have been beaten in a second.
Minazo was forced to perform various stunts before audience at each
mealtime, such as holding a bucket with one flipper, bending back like
a prawn, and standing still while a keeper jumped and clung on him. The
hard work made him exhausted and might have caused his early death.
Many of the aquariums in Japan have become mere amusement
establishments. If their mission includes breeding and
protecting endangered animals, they must continue feeding the
animals in captivity responsibly. I, however, believe that
they should eventually end the exhibition of animals in the name of
academic research, and instead start functioning as animal shelters only.
- Masami Akita, Tokyo 2006