Ama (diving)

Ama (海 人Japanese, German " sea man " for men :海士, dt " Merman ," for women :海 女, dt " sea woman " ) is the Japanese term for shellfish divers, usually women. The characters海 人be read on uminchu in the Ryukyu languages ​​and dialects in the Izu Peninsula kaito.

Traditionally they wore it only a fundoshi ( loincloth ), but nowadays wetsuits, which they put on white garments. The white clothing is meant to deter sharks. In fact, no shark attack on Amas is handed down. However, this could also be that sharks are not native to the quite cold waters of Japan. The white scarf is especially bound. The women stay for up to a minute under water and reach a depth of 5 to max. 20 meters. At shallow depths 5-7 meters, they remain about 15 seconds for their collection activities on the seabed. Repeat their dives then up to 60 times per hour. Immerse yourself in the fishing season from March to September for sea snails, clams, sea urchins, algae, and in particular the precious abalone ( Awabi ).

The work is very demanding, so that the number of Ama in Japan has now fallen to below 1000. The decline in activity, there are other causes: Overfishing and pollution stocks go back, on the other hand come today 80 % of all Abaloni that are eaten in Japan, farmed. Through social change work opportunities outside of agriculture and fisheries for women are attractive.