Mermaids are usually depicted as beautiful women who bewitch sailors into the watery depths. In Japan, mermaids are often translated as “human fish” or ningyo. They are fish-like creatures from Japanese folklore. Supposedly, a ningyo has shiny golden scales, a monkey’s mouth with small teeth similar to a fish’s, and a voice that resembles a skylark or a flute. Its flesh when eaten is delicious, and anyone who eats it will live longer than usual.
The Japanese believe that if a ningyo is caught, it will bring misfortune and storms. Because of this, many fishermen who find these creatures caught in their nets throw them back into the ocean. It is also believed that if a ningyo washes ashore, it is an omen of war or calamity.
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