Ama – women of the sea, hypnotic series photographer Iwase Yoshiyuki

by Ruth on February 4, 2015

in Inspiration

Ama means literally “women of the sea” or “people of the sea.”

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I just adore these beautiful, strong, women.

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I discovered this series from photographer Iwase Yoshiyuki (born in 1904 in Onjuku in eastern Japan) he documented a 2000 year old tradition that has sadly disappeared since the 1960s, the female Ama divers of the Iwawada coast (from villages (Kohaduki, Oohaduki, Futamata, Konado, Tajiri, Koura and Nagahama). The women would dive three times a day, and Yoshiuki has so beautifully captured their daily rituals, the dives, the eating to fuel their physically draining work and the communal aspect of warming themselves by the fire.
P6 Ama with SeaweedThese women would earn enormous salaries ” often making more a few week season than the men of the village made in a year”, as the work required “long, cold dives, up to four minutes of hard underwater work on a single lungful of air.”

Grounding a LongboatI find these images hynotic and seductive. These women are powerful, they are a tribe, they are more than capable, they are free.

konbu-harvest-45-x-55Strength, friendship, community and happiness.

yoshiyuki-iwase-e5b2a9e780ace7a68ee4b98b-12An Ama collapses with tiredness still smiles after a days hard work

10 Shellfish for the FireTextilesYou can view more of this wonderful series here

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