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Japan: The mermaidisation of the Ningyo and related folkloric figures

Chapter Three,,, Tlt"
'Ùf"r,,,aiJisatio,,' "f tL"
Ningyo .,,J ""l.t"J
f"lkloti" fis.rr",
Philip Hayward
f-t arly 2017 saw the release of a US independent film production entitled The Ningto,
I . 'directed by Miguel Ortega. Set in 1909, the film follows the adventures of a
fi p.ofesso, from a- Californian University who sets out to track down the ningto, a
I--.1 bgendary Japanese creature, part human, part fish, whose flesh has magical
propenies in that anyone who consumes it becomes able to live healthily for centuries.
The ûlm chronicles the extremes to which the professor will go to prove his hunch that
the ningto are real rather than m¡hical creatures. 'Ihe ningo is a figure from Japanese
folklore that features in a range ofnarratives and visual materials dating back to ancient
times, and the legend of the beneficial effects of consuming its flesh are present in several
accounts. ìlhile the termningto is often translated into English language as 'mermaid' (or
'merman', as the term is not gendered), this is misleading in that the creatures originally
described and represented in Japan are not the familiar portmanteau form ofthe \ù0estern
mermaid, with abrupt delineations between an upper, fully human half and a lower, fully
piscine one, but are rather more varied (and often monstrous) piscine-humanoid beings.
One well-known image (see Figure l) essentially has a (horned) human head on a fish's
body, whereas other early images have either monkey-like heads or fish-scaled humanoid
faces on fish bodies. One ofthe most significant aspects ofOrtega's film is that it represents
* ,$iliïitifíiix'
Figure 1 -
Representat¡on of a
nrngyo supposedly
caught in Toyama Bay
(r 803).u
a partial reversal of a centuries-long process of the diffusion of mermaid imagery into
Japanese culture from the West and, as will be discussed, a progressive 'mermaidisation'
of the ningo and related folkloric figures that has led to them increasingly being rendered
in a \ùíestern standard form.r The nature ofthis standardisation, and ofits re-interpreta-
tion within these parameters, is explored in the following sections with regard to a variety
o[popular cultural representations.
l. Níngyo Folklore
Discussion of the ningto in its t¡aditional Japanese context is complicated by the natnre
of the term itself. Àüzglo -/ri¡l¡, in Kanii2 - literally means 'human-fish' and historically
has been applied to a wide range ofcreatures, ranging from fìsh with human aspects (such
as faces and/or the capacity to speak) through to water nymphs who have human form
(some or all of the time) despite being sea-dwellers (see Fraser 2017: 2l for further
discussion). Prior to the mid-late 1800s the Western mermaid/merman form, with an
upper-half entirely human and a lower-half entirely piscine, \rlas uncommon in Japanese
descriptions and/or visual representations ofningto. However, despite this and occasional
uses in manga, anime, theatre and live-action film titles,3 the English-language rerm
'mermaid' has not entered Japanese language usage to any signifìcant degree as a standard
loanworda and, when used (usually in the modified phonetic form mãmeido), is predomi-
nantly regarded as an exotic term referring to a distinctly !üestern-style of female-fish
The power of øingto flesh to bestow extreme longevity for those who consume it, which is
a central theme of Ortega's 2017 feature fìlm, is derived from one of the earliest Japanese
ningto legends. This legend, often referred to as'Yao Bikuni'(the'800 year [old] Buddhist
priestess'), involves guests attending a feast at which ningto flesh was served. Reluctant to
consume it, the guests wrapped up their portions and took them home or otherwise
disposed of them. However, one of the portions was found by a young girl who ate ir, nor
knowing what it was. She then became fìxed as permanently youthful and subsequently
Chapter Three . Japan
lived to be 800 years old initially becoming a Buddhist priestess wandering the world
while all around her aged and died. A different account ofthe perils ofconsuming nrzgro
flesh has been associated with Togakushi, in Nagano prefecture. A local legend tells ofa
fisherman who caught a nlzgo and killed it, despite its pleas for mercy, and took the meat
home. There his children consumed it, only to grow scales and die.7 Another region, Lake
Biwa, also has a panicular association with ningo folklore. A tale concerning a (male)
ningn who seeks the assistance of a prince exists in two main variants. In one, a ningto
asks a prince to build a temple so that he can worship Kannon (the Buddhist goddess of
mercy) to ensure good fortune. This legend is associated with the Kannonshô temple,
which was supposedly built on the lake's shore in fulfilment ofthat request. A second tale
tells the story of a prince who encounterc a ningn who tells him that he was once a
fisherman but was transformed into monstrous form after fìshing in forbidden waters and
then asks the prince to exhibit his body after his death as a warning to others.
ll. Mísemono and the International Trade in
Preserved Níngyo Carcasses
During the Edo period(1603-1868), a type ofpublic exhibition known as misemonnbecame
highly popular in Japan. This form was akin to rVestern phenomena, such as the so-called
'freak shows' and 'cabinets of curiosity' popular in the 1800s in which various exotic
objects were displayed for the public gaze. Mßemonos occurred in various locations,
including central city areas and/or the forecourts ofreligious shrines. Markus characterises
them as "an inalienable part ofthe Japanese urban landscape" at this time, identifying
that "their popularity extended to all strata ofsociety'' and that "their oddities and marvels
were a favorite topic of scandal sheet and scholarly disquisition alike, and inspired the
author and printmaker" (1985: 499). Manufactured bodies of various folkloric and/or
crypto-zoologicals species (presented as if authentic) were a common element of such
exhibitions, and mummified ningto bodies (known as ningto no müra) were popular
attractions of this kind. In this manner, the manufacture of preserved zfugro, and the skill
sets required to produce them, were intenwined with the development of the misemnno
circuit and also resulted ín ningto no mürø being available for sale to other purchasers,
most notably foreign mariners and travellers who arrived in the South China Seas and
Japanese waters with increasing frequency in the early-mid-1800s. Vorking within the
somewhat broad parameters of the traditional form of the ningto, early manufacturers of
ningto no mürø basically combined mammalian heads (either genuine ones, such as
monkey heads, or fabricated ones) and fish bodies (ofvarious types). These were manu-
factured in two main varieties, both of which possessed human-like arms and hands: one
being arranged horizontall¡ with the ningto recliníng on its bell¡ and one where it was
displayed venically, as ifhanging in the water, with its hands clasped to its face and with
its mouth open. The grotesque appearance of these artefacts was consistent with some
folkloric accounts ofrhening)o and fed into subsequent representations ofthe creature by
writers and artists who, as Markus (ibid) identified, were inspired by aspects of the public
exhibitions. Reflecting the previously identified association between z¿¿s¿monos and. relig-
ious shrines, a number ofningto no mära wereintroduced as features in shrines during the
Edo period and some ofthese have survived to the present, albeit with varying degrees of
prominence. One such relic, supposedly the corpse of the ningto of the aforementioned
Figure 2 - Feejee Mermaid (contemporary engraving c1842).
Lake Biwa legend, is retained at Tensho-Kyosha at Fuiinomiya in Yamanashi prefecture,
and other examples exist at the Karukayado temple in Koyasan, the Myochi remple ar
Kashiwazaki in Nigata prefecture and in the Zuiryuji temple in Osaka.
In the early 1800s several ningto no müra were acquired by \Vestern mariners. Given the
closed nature ofJapan during the Edo period, when foreigners'access to the country was
highly prescribed, Viscardi et al (2014: 103) contend that rù?esterners' fìrst exposure to
Japanese ningto artefacts 'almost certainly' occurred at a misemano that was located on
Dejima island in Nagasaki Bay (which was an authorised entrepôt for Dutch mariners ar
this time).e Th e ningto no müra prepared in this period included the best-known example
exhibited in Europe and North America during the 1800s, the so-called'Feejee Mermaid',
which was fìrst acquired by an American mariner, Samuel Barrett Eades, around 1820 and
was exhibited in England before being acquired by the showman P.T. Barnum in 1842.
Along with affìxing a South Pacifìc association (by specifying it as the 'Feeiee'- that is
the Fiji - Mermaid), Barnum's use of the term 'mermaid' to refer to an artefact with a
shrivelled and somewhat hideous appearance reflected his trademark churzpah, with
promotional posters for its exhibition showing a far more recognisably appealing mer-
maid. As a result of this type of publicity, Barnum's initial exhibition of the Feejee
Mermaid in New York was highly successful and much discussed (see Bondeson 1999:
36-63). The artefact was later destroyed by a fire but a contemporary engraving ofit shows
it to have had a typical fabricated ningo no müra form (Figure 2).
III. Andersen and Japan
In 1837 Danish author Hans Ch¡istian Andersen published a short story entitled 'Den
lille Havfrue' that became one of his best-known works. Known in English as'The Little
Mermaid', its titular character sought the services of a sea-witch to gain conventional
human form in order to pursue an attachment to a human male. Her story did not end
well. Despite her efforts, the man she desired wed another and she died, broken hearted.
The story proved popular and was ñrst translated into Japanese in the l9l0s and 1920s
under various titles before it acquired what is now its standard Japanese-language ritle of
Chapter Three . Japan
Ningo Hime ('Ningyo Princess'). As Fraser (2017:70-183) discusses, the story struck a
chord with a number of ]apanese writers, particularly female ones, who have provided a
series of "open-ended and nonlineat'' (ibid: 13) engagements with Andersen's tale,
including a number of works aimed at a young adolescent audience that use the mermaid
and her accrued cultural meanings to explore female subjectivity and experience. Despite
the frequent use of the term ningto in their titles and texts, most of these works drew more
heavily on Andersen's model than on traditional Japanese ningo folklore and didn't
attempt significant infusions and/or modifications of the latter. In addition to exploring
Japanese versions ofAndersen's tale, Fraser also identifìes a number ofJapanese engage-
ments with English-language texts that had also adapted elements ofAndersen's original
tale. Her discussion of Tanizaki Jun'ichirô's adaptation of Oscar Vilde's story 'The
Fisherman and His Soul' (1891) in his short story'Ningyo no Nageki' ('The Ningyo's
Lament') is particularly effective in emphasising how the voluptuous mermaid-form
ningo of the story is an exoticised representation of elements of traditional ningto imagery
synthesised with mermaid imagery drawn from Andersen's original story (ibid: 72-86).
IV. The Níngyø in Manga and Audiovisual Productions
Since the 1950s, two forms ofvisual-based narrative, the mangøzndtheanime,havebecome
highly popular in Japan. Similar to Western graphic novels, which have been substantially
inspired by it, manga is a form based on arrangements of drawn images and text, often in
black and white but also in colour. Animø is a style of audiovisual text that either animates
manga..texts or else is inspired by them. Commercially successful ø¿ø and anime are also
sometimes adapted into live-action television or film narratives. Manga and anime derive
from visual media traditions dating back to the Edo period, and often represent aspects
of traditional and/or folkloric culture along with more modern representations and
innovations. As a result, representations of ningto occur in various contexts. Although
many draw heavily on the ïfestern figure of the mermaid (and more specifically that of
Andersen's short story and its subsequent screen and musical theatre adaptations)r0 there
are also some that draw on and represent aspects of traditionalningo folklore. The most
notable example of the latter is Takahashi Rumiko's Niz¡yo Sålrîzz ('Ningyo Saga') trilogy
(1984-1994) and subsequent anime feature adaptations, such as Ningto no Mori ('Ningyo
Forest') in 1991. Takahashi's narrative draws on the aforementioned Yao Bikuni folktale
as the basis for a story concerning a young man who accidentally acquires longevity by
eatiíg ning)o flesh and then searches for other ning)o, in the hope that they will be able to
free him from his condition and enable him to age and die. When he fìnally fìnds a pod
ofningto he discovers that they are keeping a (human) girl to whom they have also fed
ningn flesh and are about to eat her in the hope ofgaining aspects ofher physical beauty
for themselves. He succeeds in rescuing the girl and together they travel on in the hope
of eventually ridding themselves of their condition. \trlhile the ningto in Takahashi's tale
have some degree of similarity to \Øestern mermaid form, their hideous faces (Figure 3)
recall early representations of ningto.
Oda Eiichiro's manga series lVan Pârz ('One Piece') (1997-present) and subsequent
animated TV series and films are based around a young adventurer seeking treasure and
aiming to become king of the pirates. The series is notable for having twb sets of piscine
human characters, a hybrid form with gills, fìsh-like faces and human-type bodies named
ningyofrom Nlingyo no
Mori anime (1991),
the gojin ('fish-human') and merfolk (with human upper-halves and piscine lower ones)
named. ningto (i.e. 'human-fish'). One of the most notable of the latter is Princess
Shirahoshi, a gigantic, pink-haired and red- and pink-tailed mermaid who first appears
as a cute infant but then grows into a monumentally statuesque and eroticised adult.
Complicating the separate naatre of. gojin and the extended narrative, the two
species can (and do) crossbreed usually resulting in merfolk-style offspring.
Along with the Ningo Shirizu and.lVan Patsu franchises, there have also been a number of
other screen representations of what the productions' titles indicate as ning¡n in the
post-\ùlar periodrr'r2 the majority of which appear as more typical \üüestern mermaids,
The first of these was a short, animated film by Tezuka Osamu made in 1964. Simply
entitledNøtgyo, the film is innoduced by on-screen text as occurring in a farawây country.
Following its introduction it progresses as a visual narrative accompanied by music
without captions, narration or dialogue. The lilm shows a lonely boy finding a small fish
on a sandy beach and fantasising it to be a young mermaid with whom he plays before
returning home. Carrying the small fìsh back and putting it in a tank in his house, he
continues to imagine it as a mermaid. Unfortunately for him he lives in a totalitarian state
where such fantasies are prohibited and he is årrested and subjected to various aversion
therapies to make him abandon his fantasising. Managing to escape, he returns home and
takes the fìsh back to the ocean. Pursued by the police, he lets the fish free and then realises
his fantasy by encountering a real mermaid, as beautiful as the one he had imagined.
Despite the film's title, the figure represented is clearly a \üestern-style one similar to
Andersen's mermaid and the fìlm primarily uses her to emphasise the power of the
imagination to overcome conformist repression,
Hino Hideshi's anime Niøgro na Zøn'ei ('RemembranceÆraces of theNingn',published
in English as 'Memories of the Mermaid'), also depicts its titular ni.ngto as a young
mermaid with close resemblance to the protagonist of Andersen's story. Her form is all
the more surprising since the young male protagonist ofthe narrative (who subsequently
remembers her) first encounters her as one ofthe living exhibits in a touring tent show
presenting living yokai (traditional Japanese folkloric creatures) to audiences. In this
context (and others detailed below) we can effectively regard the ïTestern mermaid as
having been adopted into Japanese culture as (one potential version of) theningo.lnthis
Chapter Three . Japan
regard we can identify that the ferm ningn has gained a particular - and particularly
precise - semantic subset that is only made apparent through its literary or visual
description. By the latter, I mean that the term continues to refer to a human-fìsh creature
(in a broad sense) in Japanese language but also has a more specific meaning, referring to
the \ùÍestern-form mermaid. This specific interpretation of the term ningyo is also evident
in a very different audiovisual text produced by Hino in 1988, the short feature fìlm
Manhôra no Naka no Ningo.
Hino's 1988 fìlm is more typical of his standard oeuvre than the gently nosÍaIgic manga
discussed above. Inspired by the combination of horror and märchen (i.e. supernaturally
themed folktales) in Ray Bradbury's collection The lllustated Man (1951) (Machimaya
2005: 35), Hino's oeuvre combines aspects ofJapanese folklore with explicit and detailed
depictions of violence (and a more general sense of almost all-embracing menace) in a
series ofworks published in Japan and subsequently packaged and released in English-
language versions in the early 2000s. Many of hís manga depict physical mutilation and
decag and appear to revel in gore and the exposure ofthe body's innards and fluids.13
Hino diversifìed into film production in the mid-1980s, producing a number of films
related to hís mønga known as the Ginî Piggu series. This series, which commenced in
1985, attracted notoriety on account ofits highly realist representations ofvarious forms
of bodily damage, causing a degree of moral panic and even police investigations to
ascertain whether actual acts of violence had been committed as part of the films'
productions (ibid: 36-38). Hino directed the sixth film in the series himself. Entitled
Manhôru no Naha no Ningo ('ñingyo in a Manhole') (1988), the film has a simple plotline:
an artist whose wife has recently left him devotes himself to painting and to visiting an
underground sewer that was once a river where he played as a child and where he recalls
glimpsíng aningn or, more accurately and as per h ís2015 mønga,a mermaid-form ningto.ra
On one of his sorties he finds the ningn he recalls from youth, only to discover that she
has been trapped underground since that time, with her skin and scales progressively
decaying in the sewer water. At her behest, he helps her out of the sewer and takes her to
his apartment, placing her in his bath and painting a portrait ofher. Despite her relocation
to less polluted environs, her condition worsens, with sores and tissue mutations coming
to cover her entire body, and she begs him to capture her decay on canvas. rùfhen his palette
ofpaints proves inadequate to represent the vivid corruption ofher flesh, she invites him
to cut open her infections and use the pus and blood to complete her ponrait as vividly as
possible before she dies. The story invites interpretation as allegorical in a number ofways.
In one sense, it concerns the impossibility of(visual and other) representation itself, as
the painter's medium proves inadequate to convey the true horror and physical decay. In
another, it represents a progressive sense ofalienation, disenchantment and despair as the
artist-protagonist, already alienated by being separated from his wife, finds it impossible
to regain the sense of enchantment in his memory of a mermaid-ningn recalled, from a
time of youthful innocence. Instead ofbeing able to reconnect with those emotions, he is
forced to confront the decaying nature of both dreams and corporeal bodies. Like the
mermaid of Andersen's famous short story, who suffers pain as she transitions to a human
form that brings her neither comfort nor the ability to realise her desires, the mermaid-
ningo of Híno's film suffers pain and despair as a result of her confinement within the
human realm where her mer-body decays.l5
Figure 4 - Promotional ìmage for Mameido Merodf Pichi Pitch¡ (2OO5l.
The transformative mermaid - a maior trope in rVestern literature and audiovisual media
(see IIayward20lTa:21-50and9l-109)- isalso present in contemporary Japanesepopular
culture. One example, which derives heavily from Andersen's original story, is Yokote
Michiko's Mã Merodl Pichi Pitchi manga series, published between 2002-2005 ín
Nakayoshü magazine, produced as an anime series in 2003-2005 and as a series of video
games in 2003-2004 (Figure 4). The series is modelled on Andersen's tale, in having a
young mermaid transformed into a human pursuing the affections of a human prince, with
the added novelty that her sisters also come to land and transform and become singing
teen idols (allowing the series to release a number of spin-off music tracks and videos).
Another well-known example is Kimura Tahiko's manga series (and subsequent anime
adaptation of) Seto no Hanayome ('Inland Sea Bride') (2002-2009), which offers an original
twist on both Andersen's and Disney's'Little Mermaid' stories and the US film Sp/øså
(Ron Howard, 1984). The narrative commences with a mermaid saving a young boy from
drowning in the Seto Sea. The local mer-folk have a law'that any contact between them
and humans must result in one of the parties being executed. In order to avoid this, the
couple get married, much to the disgust of the mermaid's father who is head of a Seto Sea
yakuza gang. The couple subsequently lives on land, with the mermaid transitioning to
human form, while her father tries to kill off his unwanted son-in-law throughout the
series. The trope of the transformative mermaid has also often been deployed in hentai
(sexually explicit and/or perverse) mangø series. Nagashima Chôsuke's Ningo ll/o Kurau
Shina (201Ç)015), for example - whose title can be loosely translated as 'The Island made
Figure 5 - Cover of 20rh Anniversary DVD version
of Densets¡./ no Mâmetdo.
Chapter Three . Japan
to get Ningyo' - features a group of im-
probably buxom young mermaids who en-
counter various young island men,
undergo transitions to fully human form
and then proceed to have strenuous sex
with them (to the apparent satisfaction of
all concerned). Taking anofher slant, the
title of Akebono Haru's Momoiro Ningto
('Pink Ningyo') (2013) refers to both the
colour of its central ningto's tail and the
style of soft-core erotic cinema known as
pinku eiga.Its plot involves a youngningto
ûnding some (human) erotic magazines in
the ocean and resolving to come ashore and
transform in order to participate in the
activities she has seen depicted. In the
mangaboth humour and pathos are gener-
ated by her tendency to revert to mer-form
once aroused, undermining the primary
purpose of her entering human society.
Sexuality is also prominent in the feature-
length live-action fìlm Densetsu no
Mameido ('The Legendary Mermaid')
(Nagashime, 1997) set in Okinawa and starring prominent japanese porn actress Kazama
Yumi. As illustrated on the cover of the 20th anniversary DVD version (Figure 5), which
recalls the pose of Eriksen's Little Mermaid statue in Copenhagen Harbour, Kazama stars
as a mermaid who comes ashore, in tailed form, periodically transforms to human form -
initially with the intercession of a mysterious beach hermit - and subsequently spends
time on land having sex with various men before resuming her mer-form and returning
to the sea. Despite the somewhat low-budget nature of the production (with Kazama's tail
clearly being a fabric wrapping that she can ease offwhen required) the fìlm provides a
representation of transformational mermaid media-lore that is congruent with an estab-
lished Vestern tradition (see Hayrvard 2017a: 9l-ll0). As the subsequent section dis-
cusses, associations of mermaids, beaches and sexuality in Okinawa and the southern
islands is not iust confined to explicit sex films.
V. Mermaids and Southern Island Tourism
Since its reversion to Japanese administration following the post-war period of US
administration (1945-1972), the lower Ryûkyû archipelago (comprising the Okinawa,
Miyakojima and Yaeyama islands) has become a maior national centre for tourism,
lifestyle relocation and retirement, and has also experienced a significant increase in
international visitation in recent decades. While the islands possess signifìcant cultural
heritage assets, the prime attractions that have been featured in marketing are their
beaches, substantial areas of relatively unspoiled coastline and clear-water diving loca-
tions. Reflecting these aspects, the region has been marketed with a combination of
standard Sun-Sea-Sand imagery and secondary references to local cuisine, culture and
folklore. \ü/ithin this promotional mafrix, mermaid imagery has arisen as a minor but
reculTent theme.
Historically the Ryükyü archipelago has been a complex socio-cuhural space with a
profusion of local languages (and micro-local variations) and associated folkloric forms
and traditions (see Kerr 2000). Prior to 1400, the islands of the region were largely
autonomous from each other. This condition altered in the 15th Century with the Ryukyû
kingdom, based in Naha in southern Okinawa Island, progressively exerting control over
the region. This tendency consolidated and continued until 1608, when the Shimazu clan
from Kyushu invaded and made Ryûkyû a tributary state (albeit one with a considerable
degree of socio-cultural autonomy). After 250 years of neo-colonial domination, the
southern archiÞqþgq ulali!çluded as ap¡cfeclurç-rruhinjhq Iapanese national state ìn
1879. As a result ofthe above factors, over the last 700 years traditional local languages
have been increasingly marginalised firstly with regard to an increasing hegemony of
Okinawan language from the 1600s on and, even more signifìcantly, the imposition of
standard Japanese as the medium ofschool education from the 1880s on. Despite this,
elements of local folklore and languages persist in remnant and/or modified form in the
islands. The latter aspect is pertinent to discussions of Ryukyûan coastal and maritime
folklore. Discussions of the concept of the ningto as a human-fish entity in Japanese
national culture in earlier sections ofthis chapter are complicated in the southern Ryûkyû
islands by the presence ofanother (actual) sea creature that has been interpreted in various
folkloric contexts, the dugong (Latín name dugong dugon), an aquatic mammal belonging
to the siîenia order.l6 The creatures have a particular mythological significance in the
region, being regarded as both human-like entities in themselves and/or being repre-
sentatives of marine deities and/or interme diaries between them and humans.
Linguist Daniel Long (2017) identifies that the Japanese-languageterm jugon is a loan-
word acquired from English (rather than from the Malay-language term duyung ftom
which the English term itselfderives) (p.c. Jun el6'h 2Ol7). Long contends that acquisition
ofthe English term was necessary since traditional Japanese language lacks a specific word
for dugong, since these creatures only inhabit the Ryukyu islands (which, as discussed
above, were only integrated into the Japanese nation state in the late I 800s). By contrast,
he identifìes a variety ofwords for the dugong in Ryûkyûan languages, a number ofwhich
suggest local perceptions ofthe dugong as possessing some human characteristics. Long
gives two examplesofthe latter, includingøÅøngwaaiyu(alocal compound term for dugong
that means 'human-baby-lish'), and the term yunaimata, used in Miyakojima, and
lonatama in Okinawa, to refer to both the dugong and a half-human, half-sea creature. The
decline of the languages that these terms originate from, and circulated within, in favour
of,, first, a standard Okinawan term and, more latterly, a Japanese one, has had implications
for contemporary versions and/or accounts of regional folklore. The adoption of terms
such as ningto or, more recently, mameido, to refer to figures present in regional folklore
significantly alters the specificities (and often basic sense) of the original tales and rhe
creatures they involve. This tendency is present both in more studious attempts to collect,
preserve and disseminate local folklore and in freer re-inscriptions within the largely
unedited space of the Internet, which increasingly plays a prominent role in the public
Chapter Three . Japan
representation and promotion of tourist locations. In the latter, the 'niceties' of specific
terminology discussed above are sidelined in favour ofeasily recognisable standard terms
that come with ready-made associations drawn from national and,/or international popular
In addition to the previously discussed traditional stories concerníng ningto, Japanese
cuhure also has a substantial body of maritime folklore concerning other creatures that
interact with and impact upon humans in various ways. One such creature is the namazu,
a giant catfish restrained underwater by the god Kashima that occasionally thrashes
around in attempts to escape and causes devastating tsunamis as a result (see Ouwehand
1964). This legend is also related to a more general perception of the common catfish
(Silurus øsotus) - also known asthe nanTazu - as variously precipitating or warning humans
about impending earthquakes and/or tsunamis (ibid). There is a convergence between this
strand of folklore and that involving human-fìsh creatures in the Ryûkyû Islands. The
region has been particularly prone to tsunami activity (most notably with regard to a
devastating event in l77l) and a variety of stories abound that link them to (what are
usually referred to today as) ningo. One standard story diffused through the Ryukyûs
concerns ningto-type creatures warning humans about impending tsunamis and thereby
allowing them to A second reverse, story involves them calling up tsunamis to
rescue them when caught by The expression ofthese and related stories via the
Internet creates another layer ofwhat might be variously understood as distortion and/or
Over the last two decades the Internet has become a significant medium in both promoting
tourism (through official sites, blogs and related social media) and in developing media-
lore - a modern, media-based form of folklore (Russian Laboratory of Theoretical Folk-
loristics 2014). As Hallerton characterises it:
The Internet is a wonderfully sprawling reposítory of arcane fictions and
crypto-everything. Its fragmentary and often inter-generatíve texts thrive and
gain momentum with the slightest (and often most erroneous) of pretexts,
generating threads of online mythology that variously intersect with older
folkloric and mythological stories or else develop independently. (2O16: Il2)
tWith regard to southern lapan in particular, reference to mermaids and associated
contemporary media-loric myths have flourished on the Internet, free of the necessity of
being tied to actual historically documented folklore and/or any answerability to local
sources. Internationalisation has also impacted on this space, resulting in: simplifications
and/or inventions provided by Japanese tourism promoters to nâtional and international
tourists, national and international tourists' contributions to the virtual repository of
accounts of regions online, and various highly creative and/or outright fictional embel-
lishments of these.
Similar to the modern destination branding of Takarajima island (which has involved
highly tendentious mishmashes ofactual historical incidents, Robert Louis Stevenson's
novel Treasure Island ll883l and a mistaken belief that Scottish pirate Villiam Kidd had
visited and buried treasure on the island [Hayward and Kuwahara 2014]), modern
media-loric accounts ofOkinawa and the southern islands draw on pre-Internet-era stories
and associations and remix them in often florid manners. One manner in which this can
be ascertained is by tracing the relation between contemporary online mediaJore and
more entrenched local perceptions. In September 2016 I visited Miyakoiima with my
]apanese colleague Kuwahara Sueo to research the background to what has been repre-
sented in English-language online media as a significant local cluster of mermaid-themed
tblklore. During our visit we lbund mrnrmal rnscnption of mermaid (or related) symbol-
ism in the island's signage and other public visual culture.le Our investigations confirmed
our prior hypothesis that what is discussed online as the story of a zermaid warninglocals
of an impending tsunami is actually a translation modifìcation of the aforementioned
lunøimata legends from the islands.20 Our research also revealed very slight associations
between a variety ofonline items and locally articulated folklore.
The online sources we took as our starting points had a number of commonalities. The
Stipes.Okinawø website, for instance, an English-language amenity established to service
US rrrititary personrel base*in-Okinawa;fearured a news item wrirrerr by an tkinawan
journalist in 2016 that promoted the Miyakoiima islands as a premium location for quiet
holidays (Kudaka 2017: online). One ofthe sections ofthe article refers to a location in
its subheading as "Mermaid Ponds" and goes on to describe the ponds in question in the
following terms:
Toori Ike is a pair of ponds on ShimojÍJi¿ [sic] an island right next to lrabujima.
The two big holes in the rock are 246 feet and 181. feet in diameter and 148 feet
and 82 feet in depth, respectively. These ponds, which are connected to one
another and to the ocean by underwater caves, are o. hard-to-miss spot for divers
wíth adventurous minds. Even if you ãre not a diver, you can stilt experience the
supernatural mood of this place, which is in fact known for its legends of
mermcids. (ibid)
There are a number of aspects of this account that merit comment. One concerns the
section's subheading, which uses the term'Mermaid' rather than any term from Miyako-
iiman folkore. The other is the free interpretation that posits a "supernatural mood" for
the location and then the addition that the area is known for its "legends ofmermaids"
(ibid). The author has identified that this item derived from a visit to Miyakoiima and
research into previous online material (p.c. April 6'h zOU). A previous item of this type
appeared on the Okinawa Clþ website (an EnglishJanguage service that describes itself
as being "a new style ofOkinawa tourism information site where you can lind the hidden
charms of Okinawa in articles written independently by local writers" [nd]: onlinel). The
website has a series ofphotographs and linking text abour Shimoiiiima that includes the
speculative comment that the ponds' "blue black color makes you feel like being absorbed
into the water or even eerie, which might have created some legends including yunaimata
(mermaid) legend" (2014: online). The language here is even more specularive: "which
might have . . ." A short item on the Citgseeker travel website2r also offers a related account
of the origin of the ponds, referring to a legend that the (singularly described) pond
"became this way when a large wave came from the ocean and came crashing over the pond
to save a mermaid who had been caught by humans" (nd: online). Even with a lack of
reference to sources, this account of the ponds can be seen to evoke the general mytho-
logical connection between marine folkloric figures and tsunamis referred to above. As
far as our collaborative research could ascenain, the earliest account of a local tale of this
kind was written by Nishimura Sutezou in 1884.22 In this account, a fìsherman from a
Chapter Three . Japan
small village on Shimofiiima encountered a pod of yunaimata (dtgongs) and caught one
and took it home, where he divided it, keeping half for his family and distributing the rest
to neighbours. That night the family was woken by a dialogue between the (somehow still
sentient) porti on ofthe yunairnatø retainedby him and a powerful marine entity in which
the latter promised to send three big waves to float the fragmented jrunaimata back to sea.
These then came, destroying the village and leaving two big holes where the fisherman's
house had been located. This tale can be understood as a prohibitionary/cautionary
narrative associated with theyunaimata's particular importance in Miyakoiiman folklore.
Re-telling this story with the¡ønaimatas recast as mermaids obviously distorts the original
tale to a considerable degree.
In discussing the above, it should be noted that association of mermaids and mermaid
folklore with diving spots is not one that requires specific local folklore and/orplace-name
associations to be mobilised. Divers' names for particular dive locations and dive compa-
nies' and/or tourism agencies'promotions ofthese locations ofîen include colourful terms
that lend mystique to them. Corfu, for example has its Mermaid's Cave,23 Belize has its
Mermaid's Lair2a and Aruba has a Mermaid Dive Center2s (and there is even a'Mermaid
Grotto' section in the Electronic Arts'Sims #3: Island Paradise' tourism-adventure video
g"*.'u¡. Nearer, and more apposite to the topic under discussion, Okinawa has its own
Mermaid Grotto dive site on the mid-north coast, which is widely promoted in online
tourism literature without any attempt to iustify its name by linking it to folklore (see
Altimari 2016: online, for instance). But while Okinawa's Mermaid Grotto dive site may
not have a local folkloric angle, another location distinguished by mermaid symbolism -
Moon Beach - has a distinctly modern one. The area is the site of the Hotel Moon Beach,
one of Okinawa's first post-lù?ar tourism facilities, which was originally mainlyfrequented
by US officers and their families. Some time in the 1950s the beach became associated
with a story that a group of tourists had got into difficulties while swimming and were
rescued by a mermaid. The story provided the location and its hotel with an engaging
association that was commemorated in a bronze statue made by sculptor Naka Bokunen,
from Izena Islan{ in lggT ,27 'lhe statue, named 'shiosai' ('sound of the sea') is similar in
size to Eriksen's Little Mermaid statue in Copenhagen Harbour and depicts a classic,
!üestern-style mermaid (albeit with an oriental face). The mermaid's posture is more
unusual, showing her hugging a conch shell to her ear, with her fìn folded at mid-point
(in a manner that suggests a knee bend) and with a pronounced rib running down the
front centre ofher fin (Figure 6). Despite the latter variations, the statue clearly represents
a mermaid, and its location and associated story can be seen to mark the introduction of
Vestern-style mermaid folklore into Okinawa. Indeed, the statue is closely similar in
design to a number of depictions of mermaids in the artist's paintings, and he held a show
dedicated to these, entitled 'Night Frolics with a Mermaid', at his Okinawa Gallery in
2003. Interviewed about his focus on such figures, he expressed a broader interest in mystic
femininity in a New Age context inspired by aspects of traditional Okinawan culture:
I think that women are the spiritual heart of Iíþ.In Okinawa, they also have the
special roles of kaminchu and yuta, priestess and shaman. To some this female
power is known as Gaia, others call ít Mother Nature. When I begin to draw or
carve, the images just come naturally from my subconscious. (Travel 67 20O9:
Figure 6 - Mermaid statue by
Naka Bokunen at Moon Beach,
Okinawa (photograph by Konishi
Junko, 201 7).
Another statue at Kabira Bay, one oflshigaki island's most popular tourist spots and the
centre of the local black pearl industr¡ combines the figure of a mermaid lying on her
hip, her upper body held erect by her arm resting on a rock, with a young human child
sitting on her tail and touching her nipple. rJlhile Naka's statue commemorates a recent
legend, the Kabira work (sculptor unknown) draws on a minor strand of traditional
Ryûkyûan folklore involving a fìsherman and dugonglningto2s forming a relationship and,
in this case, having human progeny. The specific local version concerns a young fisherman
who catches a female dugonglningto. Despite the creature's flesh being prized for bestow-
ing longevity on those who consume it (as per the aforementioned 'Yao Bikuni' ningo
legend), the ûsherman finds the female attractive, takes pity on her and releases her. As a
result he is driven out of his village. Becoming aware of his plight, she invites him into
the ocean and her chief rewards his kindness by allowing him to live with her and bestows
a gift of black pearls upon them. The couple subsequently leave the sea, move to Kabira
and raised human-form children. The statue was commissioned by the Ryûkyû Pearl
Company, which has drawn on the particular version of the tale related above to give a
supernatural'back-story' and associations to its product.
Despite Naka's attempts to combine local folklore with more general New Age sensibili-
ties, the most signifìcant development of mermaid-themed tourism in the southern
Ryukyû Islands in recent years has drawn more on standard repiesentations of young,
attractive mermaids in Japanese popular culture (such as the high-profile 'Mermaid Love'
campaign for Pocari Sweat's Ion Water drink featuring actress Fukada Kyôko in 20142e)
and the more general international vogue for young women to dress in mermaid tails,
swim with these and be photographed and/or filmed in this mode as a memento (see
Hayward 2017a:.138-149). This has taken the form ofmermaid tourist packages that have
been offered in the southern Ryûkyû since 2016, when introduced by the Rising Asia
company. These usually comprise small groups of young women participating in organised
sessions held on Okinawa, Irabu and Ishigaki islands during summer seasons, where they
wear mermaid tails and are photographed in various or poolside locations.3o'31 In these,
the specificity ofplace and cultural history is effaced in favour ofan internationalised and
essentially media-loric one.
Chapter Three . Japan
Japanese culture is marked by an intense interaction between traditionalism and syncre-
tism. This is nowhere so evident as in the relationship between the country's Indigenous
religions, Shintoism and Buddhism over thepast 1500 years. The two forms have coexisted
separatelg while also intertwining and modifying aspects of each other. From this
perspective, there is nothing radically disiunctive about the introduction, adoption and/or
adaptation of the mermaid into various aspects of Japanese culture. lVhat is more signifi-
cant, however, is the manner in which it has aggregated with older concepts of theningn,
and similar regional figures at the same time as it has established its own identity as
distinct from these. In this process, the original form and associations of the ningto have
been increasingly sidelined largely functioning as a residual cultural trace. The nearest
Japanese popular culture has come to a representation of a creature more akin to a
traditional ningto occus in Miyazaki Hayao's 2008 animated f:dm Gøke no Ue no Ponyo,
which features a tiny goldfish with human characteristics as a lead character. But even
this fìlm shows the influence of mermaid media-lore as the character, actually a miniature
piscine princess, aspires to and then manages to transform to a human child despite
parental opposition, as per Andersen's and Disney's Little Mermaid fictions (see Fraser
2017:39-69 for further discussion). If anything, this confirms the dominance of mermaid
mediaJore over traditionalningto folklore in the 20th and 2l"t centuries and confirms the
manner in which the latter has been increasingly mermaidised from the 1980s onwards.
Japanese culture has shown little resistance to this process and, indeed, continues to offer
creative engagements with the figure. One of the most wry and artful engagements of this
kind was produced by Nobeoka City Council as pan ofa promotional campaign to attract
people to relocate to the city.l3 Using a documentary style, the council produced a video
that shows a kappa (a green-skinned, turtle-backed river imp from traditional folklore)
and a \ü'estern-style mermaid turning up to inquire about the city's advantages. Carrying
the mermaid into the offices, the kappa and his partner are given a promotional talk and
shown around the town and its beaches before deciding to relocate there and being warmly
welcomed for their choice. The characters were also used in other promotions for the city
(see Figure 7). Drawing on the fashion for Japanese places and organisations to have
promotìonal poster (201 6).32
promotional mascots (known asyuru-þryara),rhe Noboeka campaign combined a rendition
of a traditional yokai with a ïTestern-style mermaid to create a novel image for a quiet
regional town with a declining population.
The various aspects of the mermaidisation of the ningyo and related folkloric figures
discussed in this chapter involve her recontextualisation in Japanese cultural scenarios
where her alluring but enigmatic femininity is a key element. Her associations are thereby
signifìcantly different from those of the ningo. She is not so much a substitute for the
latter - in a less monstrous manner - but rather offers a different set of associations that
allow for ncw ty-pes ofinterpretation. Her polyvalence, in being able to represent either
innocent early/pre-adolescence or else a far more adult maturity and sexual demeanour,
allows artists a variety of deployments. In this manner we might characterise the mermaid
as an invasive species that has out-performed indigenous ones in various contexts and in
theprocess;brff-acctpteÈan*a@b¡an iîdigunffirürhurc thæ is-h"-ss cûnænred
with the nature and qualities ofthe displaced species than by the potential ofthe exogenous
one to contribute to various aspects ofnational culture.
Atknotuledgetnents: Research lor this chapter was undertaken during a visiting professorship at Kagoshima
UniversiryResearch Centre for the Pacificlslands (KURCPI) in May-October2016. Thanls to Kuwahara
Sueo forcollaboratingwith me on fìeldworkin Miyakojimaand in subsequentinquirie s, and toYamâmoto
Sôta, Konishi Junko, Danny Long and Alison Rahn for various other assistances during my time at
KURCPI and in subsequent research. FelicityGreenland, Lucy Fraser, Dmny Long and SuwaJun'ichiro
also gave valuable feedback on the initial draft ofthis chapter.
1. Another, morc complcx, rcversal occurs in Gabriele Mainetti's 8-minutc-long promotional fìlm for thc
Renault Scénic car, made in 2016. Entitled Nlrg¡0, and available in three sequences that users can combine
in different orders, thc material lcatures a man cating in a Japancsc rcstaurant, finding a rypically young
and attractive Caucasian mermaid next to a fountain, driving the mermaid in his car and interacting with
her in the sea. The tvvo most evident combinations of elements concern him cither rescuing her lrom
possible consumption as sashimi or else deliveringherto the restaurant for that purpose. (Also see discussion
olthc Thai film Cancore Cud lApisit Opasaimlikit, 20111 in Chapter 2.)
2. LonghasidentifiedthatnirgpisaChinese-languagctermthatappearstohavebeenimportedintoJapanese
language around the 6"' Century. The prescnce olprevious terms for such crealures (includin gamabíe anð.
amabiko) tndicates that the concept ofsuch creatures predated the adoption ofthe Chinese term. lfith
rcgard to the aforementioned translations, it is also notable that ánø is also one oÊthe terms used to refer
to lree divcrs in Japan, most famously, femalc oncs.
3. Thc tcrm was, lor instance, adopted lor the Mameiclo Meroclî Píchí Píxh mangr, animc and video gamc
ftanchisc (discussed in Se ction lIl), the porn film Denselsu No Mãmeido (discusse d in Se ction I$ and Riøro
Mameído - thc titlc of the long-running Japanese stage musical vcrsion of Disney's 1989 film The Little
Memakl (Ron Clcmcnts ¿ndJohn Musker, 1989), which opened in Tokyo in 2013.
4. In linguistics, a loanword is a foreign-languaç term introduced into another language. For a discussion
ofpatterns ofloanword usagc inJapancse see Schmidt (2009:545-574).
5. Thanks to Danny Long lor his discussion ofthis issue.
6. The text refers to the nhtg¡o as having been hunted after it capsized a fishing boat near Shikata, in Toyama
Bay on the north coast of Flonshu. The nirrgyo is dcscribcd as having gold-coloured horns, a rcd belly, a
body like a carp and three eyes on the side of its torso. (Thânks to Yamâmoto Sota and I lamashima Miki
for translating the old form oÍkanji in thc text.)
7. See Davisson (2015: online) for an account ofthis legcnd, accompanied by photos oFthe three cedars the
fishcrman reputedly planted to atone and to save his children's souls.
Chapter Three . Japan
8. Crypto-zoology bcingthe study offolkloric creaturcs.
9. My qualification about this claim being a contention rcflccts the fact thatJapanese nizgp fìgurcs could
have been seen and/or acquircd by Wcstern marincrs outside Japan, given that some fuian traders had
greater access to Japan and may have traded ningyo on aíter acquiring them.
10. See for instance, the character of Pipi the ning¡o, in Tczuka Osamu's mangr Umí no Triton ('Umi the
Triton') (1969-1971), and the eponlmous øriøe TV series (1972), who closely resembles standard visual
representations of Ândcrsen's Little Mermaid.
11. There havc also been a number offilms that have use the term ningyo allusively in their titles (without
leaturing reprcsentations ofaquatic humanoids), such as Rlþ¿ no Ningyo (Abe Yutaka, 1926), Oniroku
HanaTome Nítgyo (Dan Oniroku, 1979), Níttgyo Denseßu (lkeda Toshiharu, 1984) and Nilg¡o ni Aeru LIi
(Nakamura Ryûgo, 2016).
12. Rcsearch into Japanese films and television programs representing the níngyo conducted by SØestern
rcsearchers with limited conversance with the Japanese language is complicated by an issue concerning
rcnditions of Japanese terms in Western characters. The Japanese term nbryo (with a macron on the
concluding'o'sound) does riof reler to aquatic humanoid creatures. In literal usage the term can refer to
a doll, puppet or mannequin, but can also be used fìguratively to reler to someone or something controlled
byanotherperson oragency. The term features in the title ofa number ofJapanese audiovisual productions.
When these are rendered in llestern characters the concluding macron is often omitted, leading the term
to be spelled identically to the nilry1o and leading to conlusion as to whether dolls or human-fìsh are being
referred to. Enmples ofthe latter include Yamato Michio's 1970 film Cål O Sri Nírrgyo (about a vampiric
ghost) and Korçda Flirokazu's 2009 film Kuþí níngyo (atnut a blow-up scx doll that comcs to lifc).
13. See, for eumple, the I'Iítto ÍIorror series ofanthologies published from 2004 on.
14. Somewhatconfusingly,thecoveroftheDVDreleaseversionshowsamoretypicallymonstrousJapanese
níngyo Frgurc.
15. A somewhat different scenario occurs es a plot element in the 2004 comedy westling frlm A! Ikkenya
puroresu ('Ohl Flouse Wrestling) (Kudo Naoki, 2004), where the lead wcstler's wile has been infected
with a virus that is slowlyturning her into aningyo.'lhe film was relcascd in Anglophone markets, somewhat
misleadingly, asOh! My Zombíe Memaù|.
16. An order olaquatic mammals that include dugongs and manatees.
17. Scc, for instance, Spurrier (1989: 110) rc Okinawa.
18. See IRCJS (2002: online) and thc Miyakojima tale discussed bclow. See Frascr (2017: 50) lor relerence to
this aspect in thc film Por¡o.
19. The sole erumplc be ing a generic me rmaid photo prop outside a shcll/craft shop on thc main island.
20. Thanks to Oyadamari Soushu from the Miy¿kojima City Museum lor assisting us in our inquiries on local
lnntama legends and related media-lore.
21. Cityscekcrwebsite:https://cityseçþçr.çsrr/miyakojíma/662070-tori-ike-pond-accessedApril3rd20lT
22. Nishimura's account is the basis for the tale as represented online at a local folklore website targeted at
childre n: http://w.miyakojima-kids.netlì-densetsu.html - accessed -A.pril 10'h 2017.
23. Scc: hnps:// -
acccsscd April 3'" 2017.
24. Scc: http://,,,/belize/ambergris-caye-L2TpzL0/mermaids-lair-S6Q7YrL -
accesseá April 3'd 2017.
25. See: - accessed April 3'd 2017.
26. See: https;// - accessed April 4'h 2017.
27. Most onlinc sourccs give the date as 1987 but the artist's website (http.// - accessed
April 3'd 2017) givcs thc datc as 1997.
28. I use this term as I have been unable to ascertain the original Ishigakian tcrm used to dcscrìbe the crcaturc.
29. See, for instance the Ion Water TV ad archived onlinc at: https.//ú/0/#in-
box/ 1 5b4f:2d4c9b4069 1 ?prcjector = 1 - accessed Apri I 6'l' 20 17.
30. Sce the Tabitatsu company's website lor details ofits packages and photographs ofmcrmaid tourists:
https://tabitatsu jpltour/2357 - acccsscd April 9'" 20 17.
31. Other operators have also trialled memaid photo-session packaçs and/or sea swims in locations such as
32. Thc caption translatcs ¡s 'lt's now so clcar why I want to livc hcrc'.
33. See thc vidco onlinc at:Âvl'llMJBlbmE - acccssed April 9'l'2017
... Even though ningyo is often translated as 'mermaid'for instance Andersen's tale is titled 'Ningyo hime' (human-fish princess) in Japanese-the folklore backgrounds of both are quite different. In recent decades, the adopted foreign term māmeido ('mermaid' written in the Japanese syllabary alphabet katakana used for introducing or translating foreign words) is also sometimes used to refer to Western-like mermaids, whilst pop cultural narratives in anime and manga tend to mix up both terms and concepts (Hayward, 2018: pp. 55-58). ...
... Migiwa is indeed a 'she-devil in the ocean', an embodiment of female and natural rage. In some ways, the image of the original Japanese folklore creature ningyo, the grotesque and scary humanfish-hybrid that is sometimes conflated with the Western mermaid in popular media (Hayward, 2018), might be seen to have influenced the subversion of the dark mermaid trope seen in Mermaid Legend. Oscillating between realism and fantasy, the movie avoids the kitsch inherited by many modern mermaid narratives. ...
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This essay draws on ecofeminist theory to investigate cultural images of Japanese ama divers (professional free-diving women) in the twentieth century and their relationship with Nature through the examination of Japanese horror movies, with a particular focus on Toshiharu Ikeda’s Mermaid Legend (1984). Japanese folklore traditions lack an obvious equivalent to the Western mermaid. With no clear counterpart for this seductive and potentially dangerous female of the ocean, I argue that ama divers serve as the ‘real mermaids’ of Japan: mysterious and increasingly exoticised figures who were interpreted in similar veins to the mythical mermaid throughout the twentieth century. Much like mermaids, they are imagined in both foreign and Japanese media texts from the 1950s/60s as female ‘Others’ that are closely linked to the seas. They are envisioned as sexualised and ‘conquerable’—echoing anthropocentric fantasies of dominating and defeating a much-feminised construction of ‘Nature’. The 1984 horror movie Mermaid Legend, however, stands out in opposition, refreshingly subverting this trope through its innovative and violent story of ecofeminist vengeance. The movie centres on an ama diver allied with Nature, who seeks revenge for her own violation as well as that of the oceanic environment which is menaced by the construction of a nuclear power plant. By telling this story, Mermaid Legend provides a strong ecofeminist message thoroughly unique for a media text of its time—and invites us to reconsider these ‘real mermaids’ in contemporary times in the context of Gothic Nature. Published in: Gothic Nature. 2, pp. 175-201. Available from:
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2015: online) for an account ofthis legcnd, accompanied by photos oFthe three cedars the fishcrman reputedly planted to atone and to save his children's souls
  • See Davisson
See Davisson (2015: online) for an account ofthis legcnd, accompanied by photos oFthe three cedars the fishcrman reputedly planted to atone and to save his children's souls.
2002: online) and thc Miyakojima tale discussed bclow. See Frascr (2017: 50) lor relerence to this aspect in thc film Por¡o
  • Ircjs See
See IRCJS (2002: online) and thc Miyakojima tale discussed bclow. See Frascr (2017: 50) lor relerence to this aspect in thc film Por¡o.