Ama Promotion Association
In Toba City and Shima City, fresh water flowing from the Kiso Mikawa river and seawater of Ise Bay unite together forming one of the leading fishing grounds in the country. There are more than 600 Ama divers actively working, a combined total from the two cities, which is the largest number to be found in the country.
The history of Ama is long. From the shell mounds of the Jomon period and the Yayoi period, large abalone shells, and tools made from deer antler which is thought to have been used to pick the abalone shellfish when discovered. Although the difference in fishing and diving between men and women of that time are unknown, the discoveries show that fishing methods have been passed down since ancient times.
In addition, one can find Ama divers warming their bodies and relaxing before and after dives and chatting together by the fire in their huts. There are tourism focussed ‘Ama Experiences’, which are provided for local and foreign visitors alike, and are highly popular among those who partake.
For the purpose of promoting Ama style seafood fishing and preserving Ama culture as a precious regional source of culture, the “Ama Promotion Association” was established in Toba City and Shima City in Mie Prefecture in June 2012, through the support of the Fishing Cooperative Association.
At our association, we are developing projects on topics such as the ‘Promotion of seafood fishing’, ‘Promotion of Ama culture and preservation and succession related to Ama ’, 'Promotion of UNESCO intangible cultural heritage registration concerning Ama culture’, and ‘About tourism promotion by Ama culture’. We are also promoting other initiatives including the "Ama Summit" (a total of 8 summits have been held, with the 1st summit in 2009, and the 8th summit in 2017).