They solve the mystery of the mummified mermaid found in Japan

A note attached to the strange creature claimed that it was “a mermaid caught in a net” between 1736 and 1741.

Scientists at Kurashiki University of Science and Arts have unraveled the mystery of mummified mermaid which is preserved in the Enjuin temple of Asakuchi, in Okayama prefecture, western Japan, where for years it became an object of worship.

The enigmatic creature earned its nickname because the upper part of its body resembles a human, while the lower part resembles a fish tail.

No one knew until now the true nature of this mummy or how it had arrived at the temple. An accompanying note stated that it was “a mermaid caught in a net” off the coast of Tosa Province (now Kochi Prefecture) between 1736 and 1741.

Visitors to the temple pray in front of it, attributing supposed healing properties to it, even though it was removed from the showcase where it was exposed 40 years ago and deposited in a box to prevent it from deteriorating.

What does the mermaid investigation reveal?

Last year, a team of researchers set out to unravel the mystery of the mummy by subjecting it to surface observations, X-rays, CT scans, radiocarbon dating and DNA analysis.

In their conclusions, described in a report In the end, the researchers maintain that it is an artifact made with animal remains. The lower half is made up of a mesh made up of “the dorsal, anal and pelvic fins, the fin bones that support the fins and the caudal skeleton”, while puffer skin covers the arms, shoulders, neck and legs.

Based on our analysis and the history of mummy creation in Japan, we can only conclude that the mermaid mummy was probably man-made.“, declared the VICE World News Takafumi Kato, a paleontologist working on the project at Kurashiki University of Science and Arts. Scientists have determined that it was likely made in the late 19th century.

The ‘mermaid’ hair comes from a mammal, while animal keratin was used for the nails. In any case, it is a rather well-made ‘doll’, as the upper part, made of paper and fabric, is filled with cotton and a plaster-like substance.

A dozen mummies similar to this one have been found across Japan, although the one from Okayama Prefecture was the first to be analysed. These artifacts have been made for “healing” purposes since ancient times when diseases such as smallpox and measles were rampant. According to the agency, contact with these rare creatures was believed to bring good luck.


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