For this project, I was hired by Robin San Francisco, an omakase sushi restaurant, to design and install an indoor mural. I was contacted again during the 2020 pandemic to do the package design for their takeout bento box.
In this mural I chose to depict Ama-San (海女さん), the abalone & pearl diving women of coastal towns in Japan AKA the Mermaids of Japan AKA some of the dopest women in Japanese history. Ama are traditionally known to harvest by free-diving, and have developed a distinct style of breathing in order to stay under for longer periods of time. Their history goes back around 3000 years (although some argue it’s more like 5000)!! Women have always been who did most of the diving. I found a few reasons for this, but the main reasons were that women were able withstand colder waters due to the distribution of their fat (thicker women were better suited for the job), and because women were believed to be better at holding their breath for longer periods of time. Abalone, uni, and pearls were their main source of income, and during the Heian period these would be presented to imperial emperors and some of the highest shrines in Japan (like Isejingu, the shrine for the sun goddess & founding mother goddess of Japan). It was pretty rare for women to have had such honorable jobs with high earning power at the time, which adds to why Ama-Sans were so dope and important! I thought this would be a nice little addition for people to look at while eating sushi at Robin.