Amabie with a Plastic Bottle

Shisei Hashimura

I painted Amabie, which is the Japanese  ghost that is believed to have appeared on the sea in Kumamoto Prefecture in 1846 in the Edo Period. It is said that she/he? made predictions about good harvest and also epidemics by causing a strange phenomena with a shining light from the sea. She/he told her/his witnesses to spread a picture of herself/himself to the people. After Covid-19 began to rage in February 2020 in Japan, the old legend was revived on social media, and it became popular for people to draw a picture of her/him as an “Amabie Challenge”. 

In September 2021, I painted my work with a reference to the black and white printed matter of Amabie drawn in 1846. The body of Amabie is covered with fish-like scales, has three legs, long hair and a bird’s beak. The coloring is totally my imagination. Also I painted a plastic bottle on the sea behind Amabie as a symbol of modern marine landscapes.


“Image of Amabie, Kyoto University Rare Materials Digital Archive

Shisei Hashimura

Shisei Hashimura was born in Kyoto and studied and worked in New York City for nine years in the 1990s. She graduated BFA of the School of Visual Arts and MA of New York University. She currently lives and works in Yokohama. Through her work, Hashimura highlights the discomforting hidden feelings that lie in the everyday landscape of urban life in Japan. She does so through her paintings and mixed media. Her solo exhibitions were held at Gallery Lara Tokyo, Gallery SIDE 2, Launch Pad Gallery and Yokohama-City Sakae Ward Cultural Center Lyllis. She had joined group exhibitions at the National Art Center, 3331 Arts Chiyoda in Tokyo, and at Raid Projects, L.A, arena 1 Gallery, Santa Monica, U.S.A., CSID showroom Gallery Medamothi, Switzerland, Galerie Wong Hohmann, Wiesbaden, Germany. Hashimura has also been ‘Artist in Residence’ at BankART NYK, Hammer-Head Studios, and 3331 Arts Chiyoda. She has currently joined Koganecho AIR program, Yokohama.