Japanese Female Divers Essay

Decent Essays
On the other hand, the history of Japanese female divers stretches back far longer than that of the Koreans. The practice originated at least two thousand years ago, and may have a connection to the migration of Japanese. As fishermen were moving along the southwest islands of Japan and towards the main island, women were reported to have collected shellfish and seaweed. Such catches would provide much needed salt in the diet and some items such as abalone or turbo play a part in religious ceremonies, and also could be traded for other products. Jewelry could also be made out of the pearls and abalone shells they collected. The Japanese have a wide variety of diving practices and even wear different types of clothing depending on the region; such diversity is evidence of free-diving as a long standing tradition with older origins.…show more content…
Underwater googles also vary by region, but all ama do carry a kaigane. The kaigane is “a metal scoop or pallet…used to remove the abalone or other shells from the rocks, and serves as a counterweight” during descent (Rahn 29). Like the Koreans, free-diving did not start out as a female-dominated profession. It is significant to note that the male characters for ‘ama,’ (diver in Japanese) have the connotation of sea warrior or more appropriately, samurai of the sea. But the female characters for ‘ama’ simply mean sea-woman, and the term itself is now assumed to refer to females. The difference in meaning is most likely due to the fact that men would use their hands or spears to grab fish, while the women collected shellfish and
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