In Ise Shima, traditional knowledge, customs and festivals in the costal area and forests have still been kept. You can see the untouched landscape in Japan.
Ama, meaning woman of the sea literally, free-dive to catch marine products from the rocky bottom of the sea. This diving method is only seen in Japan and Korea. In Ise-shima area of Mie, there are about 800 Ama divers while about 2000 Ama are existing in Japan as of 2014.
Ama divers dive into the sea without any mechanical diving equipment traditionally. Ama's traditional diving method has been succeeded since ancient times. From Japanese mythology, we can imagine the existence of Ama divers. According to the mythology, imperial princess Yamatohime-no-mikoto who was traveling the country to search a suitable location for the deity, Amaterasu-omikami, was impressed by the splendid abalone. It is said that abalones caught by Ama has been offered to Ise Jingu where Amaterasu-Omikami is enshrined since then. Ama divers harvest marine products with sustainable manner, diving in accourdance with their own rules to conserve resources. We are often empowered by Ama who has been living in coexistence with the sea and offer experiences to dive with such an actual Ama diver.
Ama divers harvest shellfish and seaweeds in accordance with their own rule to conserve marine resourses. Their catch is strictly regulated. There are restrictions of size of marine products to collect, season, number of days, length of time for diving and locations. That's why one session to dive is limited for about one hour in Ise-shima area and they do still free-diving without any diving equipment in this era.
Working as Ama is hard and carrys a risk. In these days, young women tend to choose another job. In 1949, there were about 6000 Ama divers in Ise-shima area but it was about 800 Ama, one eighth of the figure in 2014. The aging of the Ama are serious. Ama of 50’s is said to be young.
Although their tough work in the sea, they are always cheerful and empowering people with their sunny smile.
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