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The Japanese culture always fascinated me, usually in a scary way, but occasionally in a more pleasant way.
Ama pearl divers represent one of Japan’s less-known and yet fascinating cultures. Ama (海女 in Japanese), literally translates to ‘woman of the sea’ and has been recorded as far back as 750 in the oldest Japanese poetry collection, the Man’yoshu.
These women specialised in freediving some 30 feet down into cold water wearing nothing more than a loincloth. Utilising special techniques to hold their breath for up to 2 minutes at a time, they would work for up to 4 hours a day in order to gather abalone, seaweed and other shellfish, and oysters which sometimes have pearls.
Ama traditionally wear white, as the colour represents purity and also to possibly ward off sharks. Traditionally and even as recently as the 1960s, ama dived nude wearing only a loincloth…
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