A creature of folklore, is back in fashion with the pandemic

Une créature du folklore revient à la mode avec la pandémie

Une créature du folklore revient à la mode avec la pandémie

Accompanying his image, a text of the time tells how Amabie would have appeared before a representative of the region of Kumamoto, in the south-west of Japan) to warn of the spread of an infectious disease.

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May 16, 2020 16h41

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A creature of folklore, is back in fashion with the pandemic

AFP

Agence France-Presse

TOKYO — In Japan, Amabie, a legendary creature with the long hair, the fish scales and beak of a bird, is out of oblivion since the crisis of the COVID-19, because his image is supposed to protect against epidemics.

At the beginning of march, the library of the university of Kyoto (west) has posted on Twitter an illustration dated from 1846 to this “yokai” — the generic name of the supernatural creatures of folklore nippon.

Accompanying his image, a text of the time tells how Amabie would have appeared before a representative of the region of Kumamoto, in the south-west of Japan) to warn of the spread of an infectious disease.

The creature would have asked her to draw his portrait and show it to the people to protect them from the virus, narrait yet this text.

The tweet of the library of Kyoto became viral, and many artists, amateur or not, began to draw Amabie and publish their works on the social network under the hashtags “Amabiechallenge”.

The japanese folklore is full of yokai, spirits, sometimes malevolent, sometimes benevolent towards humans. Many are forgotten today, but they permeate still widely in japanese popular culture, contemporary video games, the mascots, and fascinating abroad.

In the Edo period (1603-1868), “it was common to use images of yokai as amulets”, explains to theAFP Masanobu Kagawa, a specialist of these legendary creatures in the history Museum of the region of Hyogo (west).

In addition, Amabie was not the only yokai, nor the oldest, to have the reputation of protecting against disease outbreaks, ” adds the researcher.

This does not prevent it to be today declined in many ways in Japan: its image inspires cakes “kawaii” (cute), bouquets of flowers or displayed in the background of the online conference.

“This is the first time that one makes cakes on the theme of Amabie,” says theAFP Hirohide Kato, a manager of a pastry shop in japan in the Akita area (north).

“They are so popular they are all sold out at noon.”

A sea lion from an aquarium in Yokohama (southwest of Tokyo), already famous in Japan for his talents in painting and calligraphy also began to be exercised from the end of march to draw Amabie.

“We practice the drawing of Amabie in the hope that the pandemic of the novel coronavirus will soon cease,” said theAFP Sae Ishino, a guardian of the sea.

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