A group of Japanese skin divers or 'Amas' prepare for a day's work near the small fishing village of Onjuku in the Chiba prefecture of Japan, August 1959. Stripped to the waist, they will fill their tubs with the seaweed they harvest.
Ama wringing her hair Female pearl diver, 18th - 19th century Ivory netsuke, Height 8.9 cm The woman is shown standing, the body slightly turning to the right and naked to the waist. She is represented wringing the water out of a lock of her long hair with one hand while the other holds the cord of her creel. Japanese tradition holds that the practice of ama may be 2000 years old. Traditionally, and even as recently as the 1960s, ama dived wearing only a loincloth.