Cultivated Pearls

Koichi Mikimoto became the first person in the world to produce a cultured pearl in 1893 after long years of experiments that were ridden with public skepticism. It was not until 1905 when he finally succeeded in producing a perfectly round pearl that propelled him to international fame and impressed huge figures including Thomas Edison and the Meiji Emperor. Nonetheless, credit goes to the traditional female divers as well because pearl cultivation would be impossible if they had not dived and planted a pearl nucleus into the Akoya oysters. Despite his success, Mikimoto continued to work hard and sell them worldwide so that pearls could be worn by more women

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Ama History and Culture

Traditional female divers known as Ama are not only found in Toba and Shima in Mie Prefecture but the diving culture is the most vibrant there. Those ladies are famous for plunging into the chilly waters with barely any professional diving equipment—just a mask and a weight belt to aid their descent. They do not only hunt for oysters, but also a variety of seafood from sea urchins to abalones. Ama huts, a common sight along the coasts, are shelters where the divers gather and relax before or after their work. Learn more about this declining Ama culture at Toba Sea Folk Museum, which houses skin-diving artifacts dating back 10,000

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Jingu and the Gods

Amaterasu Omikami, the ancestor of the Emperor of Japan used to be worship together with sacred mirror in the Imperial palace. However, due to an epidemic and severe famine that occurred during the era of the 10th emperor, the sacred mirror was shifted outside of the palace to a special place by the banks of Isuzugawa River, which is currently the main sanctuary of Kotaijingu (Naiku). During the ruling of the 21st emperor, another revelation from Amaterasu Omikami prompted the shift of Toyouke no Omikami, the provider of sacred foods and the guardian of industry and food, to Geku. Every 20 years, Amaterasu-Omikami and the other deities are relocated to

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