Japanese Folklore: Sea Demons, Pearls Divers, and Ise Grand Shrine

Ocean folklore kindles my imagination like nothing else.Salty wind, sandy toes, and the scent of seaweed are my home. Ocean folklore kindles my imagination like nothing else.

Earlier this year, I travelled to Mie Prefecture on the east coast of Japan. It is a reserved, quaint place where the ocean’s influence is inescapable. Here is the city of Ise, home to the most sacred Shinto shrine Ise Jingu, and the Ise-Shima Peninsula, which is famous for the ama divers and abalone shells.

During my trip, I learned stories of sea demons, underwater dragon palaces, and the Sun Goddess Amaterasu. I also got off the beaten track and visited a community of ama divers and a sea folklore museum, which was a fascinating and poignant experience.

I wrote an article about my time in Mie and Japanese ocean folklore, which was published on #FolkloreThursday.

Ama divers, Mie, Japan
An ama’s catch. Image my own.

 

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Amelia Starling is a writer and folklorist. She graduated from the University of Winchester with a degree in Creative Writing, and is Senior Editor for Folklore Thursday. She loves travelling and collecting stories, and spent 15 months living in Japan doing this alongside teaching English. Currently she is living in Scotland and studying for a masters degree. Amelia blogs about folklore and fairy tales at The Willow Web. You can follow her on Twitter @amyelize.

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