Events / Monthly Meeting

The Powerful Sea Nomads of Japan: The Legacy & Lessons of the Ama Free Divers

Join us as Anne McDonald discusses the unique history of Japanese Ama divers and shares insights from these strong women about sisterhood, protecting tradition and the environment, and preserving the Ama way of life.

Thursday July 12th / 19:00 - 22:00 / Members ¥2000 (Associates ¥1500) / Guests (Women only) ¥5000 / Students and Interns (Women only) ¥3000

The ocean covers 70% of the globe, accounts for 90% of habitable space, is the planetary thermal reservoir and regulator, as well as the main planetary reservoir of Oand CO2, and yet it’s importance to life on this planet has often gone unnoticed, overshadowed by our land-focused, economic mindsets. Close to half of the main marine fish stocks or species are overexploited, large predatory fish have declined by 90%, and coral reefs that are home to one-third of all known marine species, are in peril.

Representing an alternative feminine connectedness to the sea, the Ama Free Divers are a unique group of Japanese women who for centuries have been plunging deep into the waters of Japan to pluck turban, abalone, sea cucumber, and oysters out of the depths of the seas of Japan.

Join our June monthly meeting as we welcome Anne McDonald, a professor at Sophia University, who will share her fieldwork of over 12 years on the Ama free divers.

Anne will introduce us to the culture of this fascinating society built around women’s hereditary fishing rights dating from the Meiji Fisheries Law of 1901. Based on in-depth interviews with the Ama, Anne will share the stories of these sea nomads (ama-aruki), describe their professional relationships to their husbands, and share how they have dealt with ever new technological advancements.

Anne McDonaldThe Ama women have largely chosen to eschew modern diving equipment, preferring to maintain the selective influence of physical prowess and age-old techniques that have avoided the risks of over-harvesting. Free diving into the water without oxygen tanks, the Ama rely regulate their breath to control their time under the seas. Their communities also self-regulate the seasonal periods within which they can dive and what kinds of catch they take at different periods. Passing on harvesting rights and experiential knowledge of marine ecosystems over generations, the Ama are a leading model of sustainable engagement with the ocean’s life force.

Through her explorations of the Ama culture in Ishikawa in particular, Anne will share what we can learn from this oceanic sisterhood, their courage and determination to free dive even in colder seasons, as well as the Ama ethic of sustainable sea harvesting. Although the Ama live within a highly intergenerational and seasonal rhythm of community life that is seemingly so different from our lives here in the high-tech megapolis of Tokyo, yet there are wide-reaching lessons that can be gleaned from this uniquely powerful collective of sea women.


Join us to learn about:

  • The history of Ama divers in Japan as a legal inherited fishing and harvesting right / profession
  • What can we learn from these women about sisterhood, work ethic, resource utilization & sustainability, protecting legacy/tradition and the environment, harvesting without technology and modern supports
  • Why they perform remarkable acts of physical prowess and what does this tell us about women and life
  • Her insights on the correlations between free-diving and daily life

To find out more about the Ama divers, watch this clip featuring Anne and freediver, Ai Futaki, who also spoke at FEW CSS two years ago.

(Price includes salad/finger food buffet and soft drinks/wine)


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Note: Those attendees travelling to the Minami Azabu Centre by bicycle are kindly asked to please refrain from parking in front of the Kenzo Estate Winery. We greatly appreciate your cooperation in ensuring bicycles are parked in an orderly manner.


Catering 
Kiwi-Kitchen-Logo-Red-200pxFEW Monthly Meetings are catered by well-known gourmet food company Kiwi Kitchen. Based on providing healthy, delicious food from all corners of the globe, Kiwi Kitchen delivers gourmet meals and  provides catering services for businesses and international schools, office functions and meetings, cocktail parties, BBQs and other functions requiring food delivered on-site within Tokyo Metropolitan area.  The company also operates a cafe in Shirokane, right on Platinum dori, less than 10mins walk from Shirokanedai station.

Event Details

Name
The Powerful Sea Nomads of Japan: The Legacy & Lessons of the Ama Free Divers
Date
Thursday July 12th
Time
19:00 - 22:00
Cost
Members ¥2000 (Associates ¥1500) / Guests (Women only) ¥5000 / Students and Interns (Women only) ¥3000
Venue
Minami Azabu Centre Hall
Address
4-12-25 Minamiazabu, Minato-ku, Tokyo 106-0047
Website
http://www.centre-hall.com

Event Details

Name
The Powerful Sea Nomads of Japan: The Legacy & Lessons of the Ama Free Divers
Date
Thursday July 12th
Time
19:00 - 22:00
Cost
Members ¥2000 (Associates ¥1500) / Guests (Women only) ¥5000 / Students and Interns (Women only) ¥3000
Venue
Minami Azabu Centre Hall
Address
4-12-25 Minamiazabu, Minato-ku, Tokyo 106-0047
Website
http://www.centre-hall.com

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