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Spooky spectral fish on show at west Japan aquarium's yokai-themed exhibition until Oct. 31

A guitarfish, described by the aquarium as "an unidentified mysterious animal that looks like a devil or alien," is seen at Shimane AQUAS Aquarium situated in the cities of Hamada and Gotsu in Shimane Prefecture, on Aug. 30, 2021. (Mainichi/Kenichi Kayahara)

HAMADA/GOTSU, Shimane -- While the deep sea has many ghostly monsters many of us will never see up close, an aquarium in west Japan's Shimane Prefecture is exhibiting marine creatures whose appearances or names bring to mind supernatural Japanese "yokai" specters.

    A ghost jellyfish, whose soft, long tentacles have a spectral visage, is seen at Shimane AQUAS Aquarium situated in the cities of Hamada and Gotsu in Shimane Prefecture, on Aug. 30, 2021. (Mainichi/Kenichi Kayahara)

    Until Oct. 31, the Shimane AQUAS Aquarium, also known as "Aquas" and situated in the cities of Hamada and Gotsu, is featuring 22 species in an exhibition whose title literally translates to "the horrific aquas yokai school."

    Its concept is that attendees are entering an abandoned school at night, and an eerie atmosphere has been achieved with an anatomical model borrowed from a local elementary school and other props. Featured species include the ghost jellyfish, which eats moon jellyfish and other creatures with its long tentacles. Drifting through water, it looks just like a ghost.

    Meanwhile, the glass catfish's bones visible through its translucent body earn it comparisons with mythical Japanese creature the "gasha-dokuro," which takes the form of a giant skeleton. A guitarfish, a fish related to rays, is also on display and described as "an unidentified mysterious animal that looks like a devil or alien."

    Aya Iwasawa, who works in the aquarium's fish display division, said, "The arrow crab is also popular, and it looks like the yokai 'tenaga-ashinaga' ('long arms, long legs')."

    Admission is 1,550 yen (about $14) for adults, and 500 yen (about $4.50) for students of elementary through high-school age. Aquas is closed Tuesdays.

    (Japanese original by Kenichi Kayahara, Hamada Local Bureau)

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