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This mythical creature from Japan has gone viral because of the coronavirus

A Japanese myth makes its way into modern culture

A woman walks near an abandoned mask at a park in Tokyo Friday, May 15, 2020. Japan’s prime minister announced Thursday the end of a state of emergency for most regions of the country, but restrictions are being kept in place in Tokyo and seven other high-risk areas. (AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko)
A woman walks near an abandoned mask at a park in Tokyo Friday, May 15, 2020. Japan’s prime minister announced Thursday the end of a state of emergency for most regions of the country, but restrictions are being kept in place in Tokyo and seven other high-risk areas. (AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko)
AP

In Japan, a new character has gone viral amid the coronavirus pandemic. Its name is Amabie, and it’s a mythical creature said to repel plagues and sicknesses.

Amabie — “a beak-nosed, long-locked mythical mermaid monster,” according to AFP — has become a mascot for heroes amid the coronavirus pandemic. People have pushed for Amabie to help end the virus using social media channels.

According to CNET, the creature is a humanoid fish “yokai” — which means “demon” or “spirit.”

The creature — which AFP identifies as a female — has roots in ancient samurai history. Amabie reportedly appeared before the samurai in the southern Kumamoto prefecture and warned of the spread of an infectious virus.

Amabie told the samurai to draw a picture of her and show it people so that they would all be protected.

Japan’s Health Ministry has used the creature as a symbol fight COVID-19 and end the pandemic, too.

So began the “#Amabiechallenge.” People are now drawing the creature to help push the coronavirus away from the modern world.