The mermaid of old Japan is more reminiscent of the infamous “Fiji mermaid” hoax than the beautiful fish-girls popular today, looking something like a cross between a monkey and a carp. But despite its grotesque appearance, the ningyo’s scales are said to shine like gold, and like the traditional Western mermaid it is a romantically tragic creature.According to legend, a ningyo cannot speak, but its voice has a pleasant sound like a flute, and if it ever sheds tears it will be transformed into a human. But it is most famous for its flesh, a pleasant-smelling and delicious meat that is said to make anyone who eats it nigh-immortal.”At the age of 800, the girl left this world, despite being immortal and ageless. Simply, her will to live ceased to be.“I want to be young forever.” “I don’t want to be old.” “I want to live just a little bit longer.” Many people have these kind of desires, but with time all people grow old. After some time, death will pay us all a visit.The story of Yao Bikuni is meant for those who fear death, teaching them that “living along life does not guarantee happiness.” Having a life with an end is the most appropriate thing for us. We should take to heart that fate is not pre-determined and live our lives appreciating each day we have. By doing this and living a healthy lifestyle, we can possibly maintain our beauty as we grow old.
A 15th-century compilation of quotations from Chinese literature tells of a mermaid who “wept tears which became pearls”.
words KATE KIDNEY BISHOP
More to read