City withdraws controversial 'ama' divers mascot

National Nov 6, 2015

City withdraws controversial 'ama' divers mascot

by Tomohiro Osaki

The city of Shima in Mie Prefecture has scrapped its endorsement of a controversial mascot slammed by some locals as overly sexual and demeaning to local ama divers. The move, announced Thursday, came after the city, slated to host next year's Group of Seven summit, ...

Skin divers turn to tourism to stem the tide

National Apr 24, 2014

Skin divers turn to tourism to stem the tide

by Chikako Mogi

At the Sea People restaurant in Shima, a coastal hamlet in Mie Prefecture, sea diver Machiyo Yamashita wants a piece of a tourism industry dominated by the cities that sapped her town's vitality by luring away its youth. "I want to cook and serve customers ...

National Mar 17, 2014

Body off Java may be missing diver's

A body in a diving suit has been found just off the coast of Java, the Japanese Consulate General in Surabaya on Indonesia's main island of Java said, citing information from authorities. The gender and nationality of the body had yet to be confirmed, the ...

Aging 'ama' female divers strive to revive ranks

National Jul 15, 2013

Aging 'ama' female divers strive to revive ranks

With the number of traditional "ama" female divers declining nationwide, their elderly ranks have stepped up efforts to recruit younger divers and promote their products as a formal brand to make the occupation more financially rewarding. The time and effort put into landing their catches ...

Sand, sea and stars on idyllic Akajima

Travel Jun 16, 2013

Sand, sea and stars on idyllic Akajima

by Hillel Wright

Back in 1972 when I first lived on Denman Island in the Georgia Strait of British Columbia between Vancouver and Vancouver Island, I was one of about 300 residents. By the time I left 25 years later for Japan, its population had just topped ...