Sea Whisperers

Japan’s female free-divers are to be found in coastal villages around Japan’s coasts. This film follows Guinness record holding free-diver Ai Futaki as she visits an Ama community in Fukui province on the Japan Sea coast 400km west of Tokyo.

It is thought the culture of Japan’s female free-divers, or Ama, goes back 5,000 years. The key to their culture is their identity as women free-divers who understand the need to live in harmony with nature if future generations are to continue their way of life. This means they refuse to use scuba tanks because that would make it too easy to over harvest the abalone and turban shells on which they depend for a living. But with environmental changes threatening their livelihoods and most Ama now more than 65 years old, their future, as Ai discovers, is far from secure.