According to legend, Amabie appeared in Higo Province (Kumamoto Prefecture) in May 1846. A strange light had been spotted at sea and so a government official went to investigate. He discovered a strange creature with long hair, a beak, three legs and a scaled body like a fish. The being identified itself as Amabie and prophesised that there would be good harvests for six years but also the spread of disease. The spirit said, “show a picture of me to those who fall ill, and they will be cured”.
Everyone is replacing their social media profile pictures with an image of Amabie. Kyoto University Library released a picture of Amabie for anyone to download free of charge. Amabie is also the mascot of the Ministry of Health’s COVID-19 awareness campaign. You will be disappointed to hear that Amabie sake has now sold out and it is necessary to pre-order Amabie snacks!
But are the images of Amabie really curing the Japanese of Coronavirus and preventing the spread of the disease?