The creature, which was said to have been caught in the Pacific Ocean off the coast of the Japanese island of Shikoku between 1736 and 1741, has been worshipped for centuries
The mystery surrounding Japan’s mummified ‘mermaid’ has finally been solved – almost 300 years after it was found.
The creature was said to have been found in the Pacific Ocean, off the Japanese island of Shikoku, between 1736 and 1741.
The ‘mermaid’ – which measures 30cm-tall – has two hands reaching up towards its grimacing face.
Hair is still visible on its head and it has the remains of sharp, pointy teeth in its mouth, while its body gives way to a distinctly fish-like tail.
According to myth, the creature grants immortality to anyone who tastes its flesh.
The mummy usually rests in the Enjuin Temple in the city of Asakuchi, having been put on display some 40 years ago.
Chief priest Kozen Kuida told Japanese newspaper The Asahi Shimbun: “We have worshipped it, hoping that it would help alleviate the coronavirus pandemic even if only slightly.”
Over the past year researchers have subjected the ‘mermaid’ to tests to determine if its an organic creature or not, using CT scans and other high-tech tests.
They discovered that the creature is completely artificial, made in the late 1800s, with no evidence of any skeleton – instead made of paper, cloth and cotton.