Scientists Solve Origins of Japan’s Mystic “Mummified Mermaid”


| LAST UPDATE 02/21/2023

By Stanley Wickens
Japan Mummified Mermaid mystery
TORU YAMANAKA / Staff via Getty Images

After a meticulous investigation, researchers have uncovered the mysteries surrounding an ancient mummified specimen – once thought to be a 'mermaid' relic from antiquity. This discovery has captivated scientists for years and holds remarkable implications regarding our scientific understanding of history.

For centuries, the mummified 'mermaid' of Japan has been worshipped for its mythical power to grant immortality to anyone who tastes its flesh. Believed to have been caught in the Pacific Ocean off the island of Shikoku in 1736-1741, this 30cm tall creature with a human body and fish-like tail has remained an object of fascination ever since. For years, scientists have puzzled over this mysterious figure which is usually kept in the Enjuin Temple in Asakuchi, Japan. To gain a better understanding of the origin and age of this creature, researchers from Kurashiki University of Science and Arts used sophisticated techniques such as CT scans and Radiocarbon dating to reveal its true nature once and for all.

radiocarbon dating mummy research
AFP / Stringer via Getty Images
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The results showed that the 'mermaid' was actually made entirely out of paper, cloth, and cotton, with no skeletal remains at all. Even more interesting, the lower half of its body was constructed from parts from different animals; fins from a fishtail with fin bones attached and fur taken from a mammal's head. The date determined by Radiocarbon dating placed it around the late 1800s; something corroborated by a letter attributed to one of its former owners dated 1903. 

The letter claims that someone caught it in their net while fishing off Kochi Prefecture and ended up selling it off as an unusual fish elsewhere in Osaka, where it was eventually bought by its former owner's ancestors and displayed publicly 40 years ago. This is according to Kozen Kuida, Chief Priest at Enjuin Temple, who also stated that they have been worshipping it, hoping it would help alleviate any pandemic or other afflictions. This has solved centuries-old mysteries surrounding Japan's sacred mummified 'mermaid' once and for all - confirming that these tales were indeed nothing more than folklore created by our ancestors' imaginations combined with some creative taxidermy skills! Yet another enigma unraveled by science - as for what researchers will uncover next? Guess we'll have to wait and see - stay tuned!

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