For Nearly two thousand years, Japanese women living in the small
coastal fishing villages made a remarkable life for themselves and their families by hunting for oysters and abalone in the depths of the very cold ocean coastline of Japan. They also would dive for the sea snail that produces those most beautiful and rare white, pink, and black pearls. There are other colors too of these beautiful pearls but I can't remember all of the kinds of pearls that they do find.
They are known as Ama, and from this post you will learn that they are still a few of these Ama's ladies still left in Japan. And that still make their living well into their 9os . How you say? By filling their lungs with air and diving for long periods of time deep deep into the very cold depths of the Pacific ocean, with nothing more than a mask and flippers.
This is one of the reason the myth of the Mermaid started with the
woman in Japan. Because of how they were able to dive so deep into the depth of the cold waters of the Pacific oceans, off the coast of Japan. So Myths and legends have become to real mermaids both with the legends and with the ladies of Japan.
In the mid 2oth century, Iwase Yoshiyuki returned to the fishing village where he grew up and started photographing these women doing this
A very unusual profession that is still very much alive today in the 21th century. Yoshiyuki even after his Education found himself drawn to the ancient tradition of the Ama divers in his hometown. It is said that his simple black &White photos are thought to be the only comprehensive documentation of the near-extinct tradition in existence.
These very young women, probably only in their 20's and some just young girls would dive into the freezing waters off of the coastline
of Japan into the depths of the Pacific for 2mins at at times and come up to breathe for just barely a few seconds. They would do this up to 60 times in a single diving
session, up to three times a day. These young women and girls would dive into this freezing water too harvest seaweed, turban shells and the prosperous pearl-bearing abalone which takes a very deep deep dives into the depth of the freezing waters..and to prey them off the coral on the bottom of the ocean is just yet another of they problems they would have. In the times it was thought that women, were believed to be better suited for the task of the freezing waters because of and extra insulating layer of fat on the female body that allowed them to hold their breath much longer than that of any man.
With this advantage, they could also make more money in a single diving season than most of the men in their village would make in a years worth of work at a regular job.
So you are probably wondering why you see so many naked ladies!
Well the reason for this is, the modern wetsuit didn't become available until the late 1950s and the cotton suits that were available at the time, were said to be very uncomfortable/when wet and made them feel much colder when they were out of the freezing waters than if they wore nothing at all.
The naked body dries much faster by its own body heat, but if you have a wet cotton suit on, it will keep the body cold & wet. It will take far longer for the body to warm up even with freezing air that blows off the coastline after the girls come out of the water. This is why most Ama took to diving in the cold pacific ocean with nothing more than a tiny loincloth and a mask.
After the World War II, the carefree Ama divers of Japan suddenly
began to have, lets say tourism come to even their small towns where they were diving into the ocean with just the loincloth and mask , which forced them to change there Traditional ways of diving. The Ama divers had to eventually covering or basically were forced to cover-up. But I thought you might like a peek of the precious moments of the past traditions that will soon will all disappear from all different cultures. This being Japan.
Japanese Mermaids: Ancient Pearl Hunters of the Sea-
This is a continuation of the Mermaid women of the Freezing oceans of the Japan. These women known as Ama are the last of
their kind. In their floral wetsuits, they fill their lungs with just pure air into their lungs then dive for a long periods of time into the depths of the very cold Pacific ocean, with nothing more than a mask and flippers. A little more than what traditional they use to do but they still are Ama's and they still make a living hunting for abalone, a sea snail that produce the beautiful pearls of Japan.
In Japan women and young girls have been doing his job for nearly two thousand years , because they believe that over the centuries
that, females have always been more suited for this type of work in the Freezing waters of the depths of the Pacific ocean.
But these women that are carry on the tradition of the Ama Woman are not the young women and girls like before-
No .....They are Indeed the true last of the Ama's The elders The
youngest known Ama is forty-five years old and women are commonly known to dive well into their 90s. But their daughters and the younger female generations of the communities of the small villages of the Ama's are uninterested in learning form their elders. So the unusual profession is nearly if not almost extinct. If
the younger generation doesn't carry on the Ama's them the Two thousand tradition will die out and that to me would be so sad..
I guess it might have something to do with what these women Ama divers do. Underwater hunting , often can go down to a free dive up to 30 feet below, its very dangerous work and the divers are often joined by shark during their descent. The Amas will usually be under water for 2mins at a time and come up for air for just barely a few seconds. They will do this up to 60 time's in one diving session the water too is often freezing too.
The Ama don't make as much money as they did 40years ago , so this could be another reason why the job is not attractive to the younger Japanese women. But these women who have have managed to support themselves and their families entirely while their husbands often fisherman are away most of the year.
So these could be the very reasons when the young generation isn't
interested in learning the ways of the Ama and come be the End of an great tradition of Japan that will be just in the books and no more until the few have live out their lives as the last of his wonderful tradition in japan for over two thousand years..
I hope you all enjoyed this post. I thought it was interesting ..
much love you my dear readers..