Sweet Treatment: Japanese Confectioner Turns Pandemic-Busting Yōkai into Edible Delight

Society Lifestyle

Amabie, a mermaid-like yōkai (natural spirit) believed to ward off disease, has enchanted Japan amid the current coronavirus pandemic. According to folklore, the three-legged creature first emerged from the sea in the province of Higo in what is now Kumamoto Prefecture near the end of the Edo period (1603–1868). Floating above the waves, it instructed onlookers to draw pictures of it in the event that a plague afflicted the land.

Inspired by the story, professional and amateur artists alike have drawn original renditions of Amabie, sharing these on social media. The traditional Japanese confectioner Kinchōen recently joined the trend with its own version of the spirit. Company head Kitano Hideki says the wagashi maker, located in Ōgaki in Gifu Prefecture, started offering handmade Amabie sweets to customers as a way to lighten the mood amid the ongoing health crisis. Each Amabie goes for ¥390.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

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