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TRANSCRIPT:

Amabie is a mermaid-like yokai that is said to emerge from the sea and prophesy about an abundant harvest or an epidemic. Its description varies. By some reports, it has scales like a fish from the neck down. Others say it is more bird-like or even ape-like. Usually, it has three legs.

The most famous story goes like this. In 1846, during the Edo period, a strange shining object was seen in the sea off the coast of what is today Kumamoto Prefecture. An official went to investigate. A creature appeared and prophesied, 

「私は海中に住むアマビエと申す者なり」「当年より6ヶ年の間は諸国で豊作が続くが疫病も流行する。私の姿を描いた絵を人々に早々に見せよ。」

"I am an Amabie which dwells in the sea. For the next 6 years, various provinces will have an abundant harvest, but an epidemic will also occur. If that happens, quickly show people a drawing of me."

Interestingly, the account was recorded and sealed with a hanko and entered into the official records. Do you think it really happened?

Today, during this coronavirus epidemic, the Japanese government has started a campaign using the Amabie as a mascot.

Here is the poster put out by the Ministry of Health, Labor, and Welfare.

Look at it closely and stay safe!


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