NIPPON Kichi - 日本吉

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三重 海女さん Mie Amasan Mie Women Divers

Jp En

Mie Prefecture is well known for the many women divers (amasan) who, historically, have caught seafood and famous marine products.

At the end of World War II, Mie Prefecture was reputed to have more than 6000 amasan in the Toba and Shima regions. However, due to the reduction in fishing resources, an unstable and sluggish market, and the harsh working conditions, there have been fewer and fewer women read to do the job. Today there are only about 1300 aging, yet still active, amasan.

The amasan's main targets are awabi (abalone), sazae (turban shells), and namako (sea cucumbers). A few skilled and experienced amasan are able to capture iseebi (lobsters) without a scratch. The fishing methods these amasan use are invaluable to the ecology of the sea as they do not encourage over-fishing.

It can be said that the amasan of Mie are a living link to fishing methods and practises of the past.
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伊雑宮 Izawanomiya Izawa-no-miya Shrine

Jp En

Izawa-no-miya Shrine is located in Isobe-cho, Shima-shi, Mie Prefecture. The tutelary deity is Amaterashimasusume-oomikami-no-mitama (the Sun Goddess in Shintoism).

The people in the local area call the shrine Izougu, along with many other names such as Isobe-no-miya and Isobe-no-daijingusan. Both Izawa-no-miya and Takihara-no-miya are located in Taiki-cho and are referred to as Tou-no-miya of the Amaterasu-oomikami because they share the same tutelary deity and are both far from the inner shrine (Naiku) of the Ise Grand Shrine.

Izawa-no-miya was established some 2000 years ago, and is said to have been constructed after the Koutai-jingu Shrine when the mythical Yamatohime-no-mikoto was visiting Shimakuni (Shima Country) while searching for a minie-dokoro (land to find offerings for Koutai-jinja). She met Izawatomi-no-mikoto who commanded that Izawa-no-miya be built.

Izawa-no-miya is the only shrine which has a kanda (a ricefield for gods) and the annual rice planting that takes place in June is famous for being one of the three big rice planting festivals of Japan.

The temple is venerated by many fisherman and woman divers (ama) who pray there, and it has become a custom for them to get an Iso-mamoru (charm or talisman) at Izawa-no-miya and wear it before entering the sea.
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