A mummified mermaid is going to be probed by Japanese researchers. The mysterious mummy was caught in the Pacific Ocean between 1736 and 1741 on the Japanese island of Shikoku. The 12-inch-long creature is now kept at Enjuin temple in the city of Asakuchi.
This mummy slightly resembles a human and slightly a fish. It has a griming face, sharp teethes, two hands, hairs on the head, and a forehead with the lower body of a fish with a long tail and scales. Now researchers from the Kurashiki University of Science and the Arts have taken up the responsibility to study the mysterious mummy.
‘Japanese mermaids have a legend of immortality’
Throughout Japan, mermaids have a religious significance with a legend of immortality. It is believed that eating the flesh of a mermaid could grant one the power of immortality. According to ‘Yao-Bikuni’ legend, a woman accidentally ate the flesh of a mermaid and survived for the next 800 years.
The mummy has been sent for a CT scan at the veterinary hospital of Kurashiki University. The project is led under the examination of Hiroshi Kinoshita, a Japanese natural historian who researched mysterious creatures. He says that the mummy could hold many significant answers to our past as well as Japanese folklore.
Hiroshi Kinoshita does not believe that it is a real mermaid however says that it was manufactured somewhere between the Edo period, an era in Japanese history from 1603 to 1867. He thinks it was made for export purposes to Europe, as the legends of mermaids were very common throughout history- it isn’t difficult to assume that people must be interested in buying it. However, the real results can only be identified through a CT scan and DNA testing.
According to a historic letter dated 1903 stored alongside the mummy, penned by a former owner gives a story about its provenance. The mermaid was caught in a fishing rod in the sea of Kochi Prefecture.
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“The fishermen who caught it did not know it was a mermaid, but took it to Osaka and sold it as unusual fish. My ancestors bought it and kept it as a family treasure.” States the letter.
Kozen Kuida, the chief priest says that the mummy was brought to the temple some 40 years ago and since then it’s been preserved there.
The scientists examining the strange creature will publish their findings later this year.