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AMSA Student Amabie Gallery

An artistic response to the COVID-19 pandemic.


Amabie appeared in Higo Province (Kumamoto Prefecture) according to legend, around the middle of the 4th month, in the year Kōka-3 (mid-May, 1846) in the Edo era. A glowing object had been spotted in the sea, almost on a nightly basis. The town's official went to the coast to investigate, and witnessed the amabie. She had a mouth like birds’ bill, and was covered in scales from the neck down. Addressing the official, she identified herself as an amabie and told him that she lived in the open sea. She went on to deliver a prophecy: "Good harvest will continue for six years, if disease spreads show a picture of me to those who fall ill and they will be cured." Afterwards, she returned to the sea. The story was printed in the kawaraban (woodblock-printed bulletins), where her likeness was printed, and this is how the story was told throughout Japan.


Artists from around the world have been drawing hope in the form of this Japanese Yokai: Amabie! They have been creating their art, and sharing it on social media. The student artists at AMSA created their own interpretations of Amabie as well.

Please remember when looking at these that the students are in quarantine and limited to the art supplies they have at home. I am proud of their creative solutions, and their inventive re-imaginings of this Japanese Tale.

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