Juxtapoz Magazine – The Last Mermaid: Jeju Island’s Fearless Women Divers



In December of 2018, Peter Ash Lee traveled to Jeju Island, the place he photographed a unprecedented group of girls referred to as the Haenyo. For hundreds of years, these exceptional people fearlessly dove into the ocean, harvesting seafood to maintain their households and protect the cultural heritage of Jeju Island.

“The intriguing hyperlink between the Haenyo and the semi-matriarchal household construction of Jeju Island,” writes Lee, “is on the core of this story. By means of generations, this island has been a stronghold of feminine power and resilience, and the Haenyo embody this highly effective heritage. As major breadwinners, they problem conventional gender norms in a society the place males traditionally held positions of energy.

Nevertheless, many of those indomitable ladies, largely now of their 60s and 70s, face the truth of being the final of their form. I spoke at size with one explicit Haenyo, the youngest on the island, who referred to herself as “the final mermaid.” She hailed from a three-generation household of divers, and her mom nonetheless led their crew of expert Haenyo. Nevertheless, their legacy is in danger because the demanding nature of their occupation discourages new generations from embracing this historic lifestyle.

Furthermore, the impression of world warming has forged a shadow over the Haenyo’s future. The once-abundant seafood they relied upon for sustenance has dwindled, as rising waters and hotter temperatures disrupt the fragile marine ecosystem. Furthermore, venomous creatures like sea snakes from overseas waters now lurk within the once-familiar seas on account of local weather change and its far-reaching penalties. The Haenyo’s story is greater than a glimpse into their historical past; it serves as a poignant reminder of how local weather change can impression livelihoods and cultures alike.

By honoring the legacy of the Haenyo, we commit ourselves to a shared accountability – to guard and cherish the world’s various cultural heritages and pure wonders. Their distinctive lifestyle, knowledge, and traditions mustn’t fade into oblivion however function a guiding mild for future generations.”

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