Female pearl divers next to Kokichi Mikimoto, inventor of cultivating pearls. Japan, 1921.Nationaal Archief|Wikimedia Commons

In celebration of International Women’s Day 2019, I wanted to shine a spotlight on the ama, a title that has been ascribed to the famous female pearl divers of Japan.

Ama, which means “sea woman” in Japanese, have been diving in Japan for 2,000 to 3,000 years with records dating back to an 8th-century anthology of Japanese poetry: the Man’yōshū. Historically, women were considered fit to be ama because their higher fat content would help them endure the near-freezing temperatures of seawater that they had to dive in. They would begin their ama training at the age of 12 with an older family member and would then dive until they were 70 or 80 years old.

While ama didn’t historically dive for pearls, the demand for ama increased after Kōkichi Mikimoto developed a method for culturing pearls in1893 Dressed in all-white “suits”, the Mikimoto ama would guard these cultivation operations in the water. Additionally, because producing a pearl requires introducing an irritant (such as a grain of sand) into an oyster, the ama would also place the oysters out of harm’s way once the intruder was introduced.

Toba,Japan – November,5 2010: Old ama diver with traditional white clothing in the ‘ Hachiman’ divers Hut in Toba.Ama are Japanese divers, most of them are women, famous for pearl diving.Even in modern times,they never use diving apparatus.Getty

The ama didn’t always wear white suits – their traditional attire consisted of fundoshi (loincloths) and tenugui (bandannas) that covered their hair. The only modern concessions that ama today have made are the use of SCUBA masks and neoprene dive suits; they still eschew tanks filled with compressed air and free-dive to depths of 30 feet, sometimes holding their breath for up to two minutes. They ama also have a characteristic Isobue (“ocean whistle”), where they let out a long, slow whistle when they re-surface that helps regulate their breathing.

With more job opportunities available for women today, there are fewer ama than their used to be: there were over 17,000 ama in the 1950s, but now there are less than 2,000. Similarly, the female divers of South Korea, the haenyo are also declining. Although, commercial fishing threatens the ama way of life, there are still many active ama that use their skills to catch seafood, as most ama did before the pearl industry was established. They are also a popular tourist attraction on Mikimoto Pearl Island, where they frequently perform diving demonstrations.

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Female pearl scuba divers beside Kokichi Mikimoto, innovator of cultivating pearls. Japan,1921 Nationaal Archief |

Wikimedia Commons

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In event of Worldwide Females’s Day 2019, I wished to shine a spotlight on the ama, a title that has actually been credited the well-known female pearl scuba divers of Japan.

Ama, which implies “sea lady” in Japanese, have actually been diving in Japan for 2,000 to 3,000 years with records going back to an 8th-century anthology of Japanese poetry: the Guy’ y ōshū Historically, ladies were thought about fit to be ama since their greater fat material would assist them withstand the near-freezing temperature levels of seawater that they needed to dive in. They would start their ama training at the age of 12 with an older relative and would then dive till they were 70 or 80 years of ages

While ama didn’t traditionally dive for pearls, the need for ama increased after Kōkichi Mikimoto established an approach for culturing pearls in1893 Worn all-white “matches”, the Mikimoto ama would safeguard these growing operations in the water. In addition, since producing a pearl needs presenting an irritant (such as a grain of sand) into an oyster, the ama would likewise put the oysters out of damage’s method once the trespasser was presented.

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Toba, Japan -November,52010: Old ama scuba diver with standard white clothes in the’ Hachiman’ scuba divers Hut in Toba.Ama are Japanese scuba divers, the majority of them are ladies, well-known for pearl diving.Even in contemporary times, they never ever utilize diving device. Getty

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The ama didn’t constantly use white matches- their standard outfit included fundoshi( loin cloths) and tenugui ( bandannas) that covered their hair. The only contemporary concessions that ama today have actually made are making use of SCUBA masks and neoprene dive matches; they still avoid tanks filled with compressed air and free-dive to depths of 30 feet, often holding their breath for as much as 2 minutes. They ama likewise have a particular Isobue(” ocean whistle”), where they discharge a long, sluggish whistle when they re-surface that assists manage their breathing.

With more task chances offered for ladies today, there are less ama(********************************** )than their utilized to be: there were over 17,000 ama in the 1950 s, and now there are less than 2,000 Likewise, the female scuba divers of South Korea, the haenyo are likewise decreasing. Although, business fishing threatens the ama way of living, there are still numerous active ama that utilize their abilities to capture seafood, as the majority of ama did prior to the pearl market was developed. They are likewise a popular traveler destination on Mikimoto Pearl Island, where they often carry out diving presentations.

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Female pearl scuba divers beside Kokichi Mikimoto, innovator of cultivating pearls. Japan,1921 Nationaal Archief |
Wikimedia Commons

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In event of Worldwide Females’s Day 2019 , I wished to shine a spotlight on the ama , a title that has actually been credited the well-known female pearl scuba divers of Japan.

Ama , which implies “sea lady” in Japanese, have actually been diving in Japan for 2, 000 to 3, 000 years with records going back to an 8th-century anthology of Japanese poetry: the Guy ‘y ōshū Historically, ladies were thought about fit to be ama since their greater fat material would assist them withstand the near-freezing temperature levels of seawater that they needed to dive in. They would start their ama training at the age of 12 with an older relative and would then dive till they were 70 or 80 years of ages

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While ama didn’t traditionally dive for pearls, the need for ama increased after Kōkichi Mikimoto established an approach for culturing pearls in1893 Worn all-white “matches” , the Mikimoto ama would safeguard these growing operations in the water. In addition, since producing a pearl needs presenting an irritant (such as a grain of sand) into an oyster, the ama would likewise put the oysters out of damage’s method once the trespasser was presented.

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Toba, Japan – November,5 2010: Old ama scuba diver with standard white clothes in the’ Hachiman’ scuba divers Hut in Toba.Ama are Japanese scuba divers, the majority of them are ladies, well-known for pearl diving.Even in contemporary times, they never ever utilize diving device. Getty

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The ama didn’t constantly use white matches – their standard outfit included fundoshi (loin cloths) and tenugui (bandannas) that covered their hair. The only contemporary concessions that ama today have actually made are making use of SCUBA masks and neoprene dive matches; they still avoid tanks filled with compressed air and free-dive to depths of 30 feet, often holding their breath for as much as 2 minutes. They ama likewise have a particular Isobue (” ocean whistle”), where they discharge a long, sluggish whistle when they re-surface that assists manage their breathing.

With more task chances offered for ladies today, there are less ama than their utilized to be: there were over 17, 000 ama in the 1950 s, and now there are less than 2, 000 Likewise, the female scuba divers of South Korea, the haenyo are likewise decreasing. Although, business fishing threatens the ama way of living, there are still numerous active ama that utilize their abilities to capture seafood , as the majority of ama did prior to the pearl market was developed. They are likewise a popular traveler destination on Mikimoto Pearl Island , where they often carry out diving presentations.

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