There is a legend that tells of a very rare and beautiful cephalopod that can only be found in waters surrounding the Amami Islands south of Japan – a pure white octopus that swims through the sea, graceful and undisturbed in all of its mesmerizing beauty and candor. To catch this fantastic creature is nearly impossible and if ever anyone could find one, it would be the Ama; the legendary pearl diving “mermaids” of Japan.
Dressed only in loincloths as vividly white as the elusive octopus itself and relying only on the strength of their own lungs for air, these women dive to the depths of the sea and return to the surface with hidden gems that would have otherwise languished in obscurity at the bottom of the sea. Over the centuries, the Ama’s skill in Japan’s age-old tradition of pearl diving has been passed down from mother to daughter.
These women have become the guardians of the sea’s treasures, the only ones entrusted with this delicate mission. Watch them dive into the waves and into the darkness of the seabed; delight with them as they frolic with the seahorses and play with the fish. But above all trust them to reemerge from the water and arrive on the shore to astonish you with the little jewels that they have brought back from the abysses.