What is Amabie?
Amabie is a long-bodied half-human half-fish yokai (spirit) similar to a mermaid with diamond-shaped eyes and a beak-like mouth that was said to appear in the seas near Higo (modern-day Kumamoto Prefecture) in the Edo Period. Legend says that when she disappeared, she told the people, “I am the Amabie, an underwater creature. If a plague ever begins to spread, show my image to other people as soon as possible.” You could interpret the original wording of ‘plague’ to also refer to modern diseases and viruses.
Japanese people have feared epidemics since long ago. It was believed in the past that you could ward off disease if you owned an image of any of the ‘Four Emperors’ (Amabie, Hakutaku, Jinjahime and Kudan). There are even many Japanese people who don’t know about these stories because of how old they are. However, Amabie has gotten popular due to the recent coronavirus pandemic, and many people, including famous artists and illustrators, have drawn illustrations and posted them on Twitter:
The creator and artist of GeGeGe no Kitaro
A famous illustrator who has collaborated with brands like Gucci
Here is a collection of goods featuring Amabie that has become more popular recently as Amabie has become a hot topic of conversation online in Japan.
Miyoshi Chrysantheum Plague Eradication Amabie Rice Wine
Made with rice grown in Tokushima Prefecture, this fruity wine is said to carry Amabie’s disease-eradicating spirit, in addition to having a great flavor!
Amabie Short Sleeve T-Shirts
Amabie has even started to appear in clothing recently, such as these t-shirts. With designs such as an Amabie based on the Twitter logo, they fit in well with modern fashion sense!
These stickers give a more modern and cartoonish twist to Amabie’s looks! By using these stickers, you can put take Amabie’s protective image and paste it on any surface you like!
Amabie Handmade Goods
Dolls, keychains and other small crafts are appearing online more lately, acting like modern day protective charms for today’s diseases.
Amabie Merchandise is Easy to Find!
If you live outside of Japan and are interested in buying Amabie merchandise now that they have become more popular, there are ways to get it delivered to where you live! Check out Buyee via the link below and see all the different kinds of Amabie-related goods that are currently available!