legendary Japanese mermaid or merman

Amabie is a mermaid or merman with three legs in Japanese myths. It is believed that it will emerge from the sea and make prophecies about harvest or epidemic. [1]

An amabie. Wood-block print, late Edo period. (link)


It is believed that an amabie appeared before a officer and gave a prophecy that good harvest will get for six years, if disease spread draw its picture and show to the people affected by disease and they will be cured. Believers argue that similar events are reported in different places also. [2]


The STOP! Kansen Kakudai – COVID-19 is a poster by the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, amabie become popular in Twitter in Japan. Manga artists (e.g., Chica Umino, Mari Okazaki and Toshinao Aoki) published their cartoon versions of amabie on social networks.[3][4]


  1. Yumoto 1999, pp. 178–180
  2. 水木しげる [Mizuki, Shigeru] (1994). Zusetsu yōkai taizen 図説 日本妖怪大全. Kodansha +α bunko (in Japanese). Kodansha. p. 50. ISBN 978-4-06-256049-8.
  3. "Plague-predicting Japanese folklore creature resurfaces amid coronavirus chaos". Mainichi Daily News. 25 March 2020.
  4. Yumoto, Kōichi (湯本豪一), ed. (2001). Chihō hatsu Meiji yōkai nyūsu 地方発明治妖怪ニュース (in Japanese). Kashiwa Shobo. pp. 174–175. ISBN 978-4-7601-2089-5.

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