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Drawings of mythical Amabie flood social media

If your social media feed looks anything like ours, it’s flooded with posts about coronavirus right now. Fortunately, there are some hopeful and creative responses to be found amid the panic. One such response is the resurfacing of the Amabie, a mythical Japanese spirit once thought to to ward off epidemics. 

Instagram and Twitter are currently filled with depictions of the three-legged, long-haired, mermaid-like creature. The Amabie is certainly a sight to behold – check out our character design guide for more of our favourite creatures. 

According to Spoon & Tamago, legend has it that the Amabie appeared off the coast of Kumamoto, Japan. The first known depiction of the Amabie comes from an Edo-era (1603-1868) engraving (below). As well as making several predictions related to bountiful harvests, it told locals: “If an epidemic occurs, draw a picture of me and show it to everyone.” And today, in response to coronavirus, online artists and illustrators are doing just that.

An edo-era (1603-1868) engraving featuring the Amabie (Image credit: Kyoto University Library)

It’s heartening to see such a creative display of solidarity. Below are some of our favourite depictions of the Amabie from social media. We love this colourful, vintage-style illustration by Shunsuke Satake: 

(Image credit: shunsuke_satake on Instagram)

And this boxing animation by Twitter user @wagahai_is_neko is extremely satisfying:

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