Aiko: diving to preserve the traditions
Toba province, Mie prefecture, Japan, Sept. 2016.
Aiko Ohno, 37, is one of the youngest professional Ama diver in Japan. This fishing culture in apnoea, centered on the Abalone, is going to disappear, actually, only the old womans, (they can dive until 80 years old) practice this type of fishing, because is not considered an attractive for the young people to spend time learning the technics.
Aiko, after a degree in Economy at the Univeristy of Tokyo, decided to move from Tokyo to the small village of Ijikacho to follow her passion and to preserve the tradition. At the beginning it was not easy for Aiko to being accepted inside the community of the old divers, but now they trust her.
Ama numbers have reduced so drastically. There are now fewer than 2,000 practicing, and in the next 20 years the younger generation must keep diving to preserve the tradition.
Few young Japanese women see the benefits. The falling seafood stocks, the trade isn't as lucrative as it once was, and jobs in Osaka, Nagoya and Tokyo are more appealing.