The Tradition of Japanese Ama Divers


The Japanese Ama divers are traditional sort of free-divers who embrace the Japanese tradition of Ama practice that may be 2,000 years old. Mostly women, they are addressed as ‘uminchu’ (in Okinawan) or ‘kaito’ (in Izu Peninsula).


Known for their pearl diving capability, Ama originally dived for food like seaweed, shellfish, lobsters, octopus, and sea urchins — and oysters which sometimes have pearls.

Traditionally, Ama dived wearing only a loincloth and go about diving without the support of scuba gear or air tanks. They can really dive well into old age. Generally the older Ama is able to stay submerged longer than the younger ones.

Apart from diving in the seas, they also make a living by farming. Depending on the region of Japan, Ama may dive with masks, fins, and torso-covering wetsuits at the most. Today, Ama divers who work at tourist attraction usually use white, or partially transparent suits. The Japanese believe that women are more suited for the role because of the biological physique.

As a closure, the world’s cultural diversity is fascinating and if you care you to learn and understand, you will realize that the activities of your daily living are merely a speck of the entire world. So allow your viewing horizon to open up and be intrigued by the ways of life of other cultures that do not eat, work, think, speak or even look like you.

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