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In ancient times, the only way to gather food and other resources, such as sponge and pearl, from the sea bed was to hold one’s breath and dive to the bottom—a technique known as skin diving or freediving. The longer the diver could hold his breath, the longer he could stay underwater and the more he could collect without having to come up for air. The modern breathing apparatus has made this hazardous profession obsolete. Today, skin-diving is performed mostly as a form of competitive sport to demonstrate one’s skills and endurance. But there are still cultures around the world that thrive to keep alive this traditional practice. The Ama are one of them.

Ama: The Freediving Fisherwomen of Japan

An Ama diver at the Mikimoto Island pearl farming facility. Photo: Stefan Lins/Flickr


© Amusing Planet, 2020.



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