Mummified ‘mermaid’ to be analyzed by Japanese scientists

Currently, a study has begun to scientifically examine the mummified creature, which has a human-like upper body and a fish-like lower body.

By autumn, scientists at Kurashiki University of Science and Arts and other institutions want to make their findings public.

The priceless 12-inch-long specimen was retrieved from a paulownia box on Feb. 2 by Kozen Kuida, 60, the chief priest of Enjuin Temple in Asakuchi Prefecture.  He was doing this in the CT department at the university veterinary hospital.

The mummy was lying face down on an examination table, her hands clasped over her lips as she appeared to be screaming.  The mummy has scales on its lower body and hair on its head, as well as fangs and claws.

A letter found in the same box as the “dried mermaid” states that between 1736 and 1741, the creature was caught in a fishing net off the coast of Tosa Province (now Kochi Prefecture).

Kiyoaki Sato (1905–1998), a Satosho native historian in the prefecture, left some writings that Hiroshi Kinoshita, 54, a board member of the Okayama Folklore Society, discovered and used as inspiration for the project.

The first Japanese encyclopedia on “yokai” ghosts, hobgoblins, and other supernatural beings from Japanese folklore is credited to Sato.

After learning that the mermaid’s mummy was kept at Enjuin, Kinoshita contacted university and temple representatives to carry out the investigation, he said.

Morphological examination of the upper body of the Enjuin temple specimen is being carried out by 54-year-old Takafumi Kato, a professor at the university with a focus on paleontology.  It will be his first investigation into a fantastic being.

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