On Mermaids and Oyster Shells


A little history, magic and beauty for this Thursday! Last week, I came across this article and was totally taken in by the inspirational and interesting story of the Ama (a.k.a The Pearl Diving Mermaids of Japan). The images are stunning, as is the tale of this unique and adventurous job!

Read the full article here and watch a beautiful video here (but turn the sound off, the dialogue is terrible).

 Image via http://gakuran.com. Photo by Fosco Maraini.

Image via http://gakuran.com. Photo by Fosco Maraini.

One of the lesser-known but fascinating parts of Japanese culture is that of the Ama pearl divers. Ama (海女 in Japanese), literally means ‘woman of the sea’ and is recorded as early as 750 in the oldest Japanese anthology of poetry, the Man’yoshu. These women specialized in free-diving some 30 feet down into cold water wearing nothing more than a loincloth. Utilizing special techniques to hold their breath for up to 2 minutes at a time, they would work for up to 4 hours a day in order to gather abalone, seaweed and other shellfish.



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