An attraction at “Space World,” an amusement park located in the western Japanese city of Kitakyushu, was closed on Sunday after its frozen fish ice rink display drew a “flood” of criticism online, as reported by CNBC.
“I am d… d… drowning, s… s… suffocating,” a caption below a photo of frozen fish promoting the Japan ice rink was said to have been posted on the Space World Facebook page, as reported by CNN.
Space World reportedly touted the Japan fish ice rink as a “world’s first” and a display “never heard about.” Portions of the rink were colored blue to simulate an ocean environment.
The attraction was said to have been popular with visitors when it first opened. A televised report with Japanese network NHK caught the attention of those sympathetic to the plight of the fish and other animals, beginning a social media storm that was said to be “brutal.”
One portion of the display spelled out the word “HELLO” in block letters with frozen fish; another used the bodies of dead fish to form an arrow that directed skaters through a circuit said to be about 250 meters long.
“We were shocked to hear the reaction as the ice skate rink was very popular since it opened two weeks ago, we had an unprecedented number of visitors,” the manager of the venue for the fish ice rink, Toshimi Takeda, was quoted.
“(But) we had endless opinions about the project, we were shocked… We are sorry for the project and decided to close the rink on that night.”
In 2005, the Guardian reported that Japan consumed 10 percent of the global fish harvest and that fish comprised 40 percent of country’s source of protein.
By 2016, the Japan Times reported that Japanese consumption of fish had fallen by 30 percent to levels comparable with those observed in the 1960s.
Japan accounts for 1.72 percent of the world’s population, as reported by WorldoMeters, making its consumption of fish seemingly high, on a per capita basis.
In 2015, the average Japanese citizen ate 27.3 kilograms of fresh fish. The peak year for fish consumption in Japan is reported to have been 2001, when the average citizen consumed 40.2 kilograms.
Space World is reported to be planning a “religious service” to commemorate the victims of the frozen fish ice rink attraction before converting them to fertilizer. Takeda noted that the fish were not caught and killed specifically for the display, called both “Freezing Port” and “Ice Aquarium,” but instead purchased from a local supermarket.
“Why is it fun to skate over the frozen?” a Facebook post by a Japanese group called Relief Pain Animals was quoted.
Other social media users described the frozen fish ice rink as “shocking” and “the worst attraction educationally.” One suggested that the creators of such a display might have “no soul.”
The Japan fish rink is reported to have already been closed and that it will take about one week for the ice to melt, before the lives of the fish can be commemorated and their bodies recycled as fertilizer.
ABC reports that about 25 different species of fish were frozen into the ice rink, which included stingrays, crabs, and shellfish.
The park reports that the original intention of the attraction was “give the feel of the ocean.” However, given the reaction from the public, the park’s management stated that it was “extremely remorseful to have invoked such unpleasant feelings.”
Many of the comments on social media were reported to have centered around the fact the fish were once “living things” and that using animals harvested for food as a display is tantamount to “abuse.”
[Featured Image by David Silverman/Getty Images]