As coronavirus cases continue to rise in Japan and around the world it is difficult to know when and how life will return to normal. In some ways, we have started returning to a more traditional way of living with no flights, staying home and spending lots of time with family. In Japan, some people have turned to a traditional Japanese legendary creature – Amabie – for hope.The Amabie is said to be a creature that comes out of the ocean to tell us about a good harvest or warn us about an epidemic. According to the legend from the Edo period, if a picture of the Amabie is shown to anyone with a disease then they will be cured.
The Japanese Ministry of Health, Labour, and Welfare has created a poster using the Amabie to spread awareness, especially amongst young people, about the coronavirus. The text next to the Amabie says ‘You spread it without knowing it – Stop the spread of COVID19!’ and is encouraged to be used at schools and workplaces to get the message across.
#アマビエ (#amabie) has been trending on twitter, with many manga artists posting drawings of the Amabie, like the one below created by Katie Aki. A confectionery company in Akita Prefecture has also jumped on board the trend by creating Amabie omiyage.
While there’s not much science in the effectiveness of the Amabie, it is nice to see the Amabie bringing people together in hope and spreading awareness.