How to

29 November 2016

Frozen Fish Controversy Forces Ice Rink Closure in Japan

Ice skating has gained a lot of mainstream popularity in recent years, with rinks ranging from the basic to the extravagant springing up all around the world. A well-designed and original concept can bring these facilities to life, transporting guests to an almost otherworldly environment. Every now and then however, an attempt to be seen as creative can lead to some questionable aesthetic choices, such as the decision to fill a Japanese ice rink with the corpses of thousands of dead fish.

One of many disturbing pictures taken at the Space World theme park's ice rink
Yes, you read that right; the Space World theme park, located in the city of Kitakyushu in Southern Japan, decided to freeze over 5,000 fish into the ice of the rink itself. The macabre mosaic quickly prompted a massive online backlash, and rightfully so, forcing the theme park to close the rink until the fish can be removed.

In my opinion the criticism is well-earned and completely deserved, although I do take some issue with the countless people stating that this is a problem throughout Asian culture; the Japanese in particular may be behind the times on ethical issues such as whaling, but to suggest that an entire continent full of people suffers from the same lack of morality is absurd. In fact, much of the criticism has stemmed from the local population.

More morbid imagery from the park - Img source: The Sun
Getting back to the ice rink, park representatives responded to the backlash by asserting that all the fish used were already dead at the time of freezing, and had been declared unfit for consumption. Pictures published online seem to show other, larger forms of marine life, such as rays and crabs, also embedded in the ice, although the park has stated that these are simply enlarged images. They also plan to hold a memorial ceremony for the fish, in what seems like a futile gesture to earn back some favour.

While it is a relief to hear that the 5,000+ fish didn’t slowly suffer and freeze in the name of art, you still have to question the sanity of the person responsible for the decision in the first place. The rink and the park as a whole are often attended by children, making the somewhat sickening display all the more inappropriate. The lack of respect for life being demonstrated here is abhorrent, to be blunt.

No official date has been set for the reopening of the rink, although a park official has stated that “it will be in December.”

Sam Bonson

Sam is an aspiring novelist with a passion for fantasy and crime thrillers. He is currently working as a content writer, journalist & editor in an attempt to expand his horizons.