Mermaids often considered to be very beautiful as well as sexy, according to Greek Mythology but Japanese Mythology has different perspective on mermaids, and they are extremely strange. Yes! Japanese Mythology also have mermaids.
According to Japanese folklore, there is a creature called Ningyo, which also means fish-man (also known as gyojinn or hangyo-jin). In western legends, the creature called Ningyo is often compared to mermaids. Both recall the concept of creature which is half human and half fish, but we cannot deny the fact that there are differences between them.
As portrayed in the stories, while comparing the charm between the Ningyos and the western mermaids, the ningyos were appeared to be less charming than western mermaids. So, talking about ningyo’s appearance, the ningyo had the upper half of a monkey and the lower half of a fish. Still though, the representation of the Japanese mermaid’s appearance was not the oddest of all.
In some places, locals still believe that Ningyo neither tends human body, nor a ape’s body too. However they say that, ningyo tends to have a human/ape/reptilian head attached to the body of the fish. Even times come when these heads are also shown in such a way that is also out of ordinary. The ningyo’s head can be described as simple shaped horns which has a razor sharp fangs. Amabiko or amabie is also a type of ningyo. These types basically tend to have a beak and is covered with scales from the neck down.
Many legends believe that ningyos tend to have various mystical abilities as well as many magical aspects to them. If we are to be known about the examples, ningyos cry out pearls. Amabie, a ningyo, are also rumored that they are able to predict the future. Amabie heralds both good harvest and disease, it was said according to a story that was recorded in the late 19th century. Besides, to avoid the various disease, people often draw it.
There are some other types that are gentler, and can transform and have ability to seduce and lure men into the sea. These all characteristics are in addition to the above types of ningyo.
The 800-Year-Old Story
So among all the mystical abilities of the ningyo’s the most famous ability is longevity. They have rumored to have many special powers other than that too. And the most interesting part is that it is also believed that just eating the meat of the ningyo will give the humans immortality or atleast a long life. “Happyanku Bikuni which also means 800-year-old nun is the most famous story which surrounds this belief.
Apart from this there are many different stories.
The story revolves like once upon a time a fisherman caught a ningyo. He invites his friends over his house for a meal, without revealing that they will be served with the ningyo meat. The fellow friends all had a guess that they were invited to eat the ningyo meat, so all they did was did not touch chopsticks. The daughter of the fisherman too ate the meat. So after growing 15 years, the little girl couldn’t grown anymore. She later went on to become a nun, where she traveled every corner of the world and apparently died when she attained the age of 800.
The Story Of Ningyo At Tenshou-Kyousha Temple
So the existence of the ningyo with proof of its existence were believed by the ancient Japanese. At present, at the Tenshou-Kyousha Shrine which is located in Fujinomiya, it is still believed that there tends to be a body of the ningyo. According to a legend, long time back, a prince met a ningyo. The dying creature told the prince where actually the ningyo was born. The ningyo capital is a fisherman by profession. He was cursed and was turned into a ningyo when he accidentally trespassed the sacred waters to the fish.
After all those incident which happened to the fisherman, he had learned his lesson. So he gave his suggestion to the prince to put the his body in some temple for display. Which would have resulted in, whoever the people visited the temple, and looked at his ningyo form, will be reminded of the sacred life. Although, this is almost a Japanese-made mermaid specimen, which resembles to the Fiji mermaid.
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