Monday, November 28, 2016

Skating Rink Closes After Public Outcry

An amusement park in Japan has been forced to close its skating rink after a torrent of online criticism over its centrepiece: thousands of fish frozen into the ice.

Space World in the city of Kitakyushu, south-west Japan, bowed to pressure to close the facility on Sunday after an online campaign denouncing the piscine graveyard as “cruel”, “immoral” and “weird”.

The rink, which was supposed to have stayed open until the spring, featured about 5,000 dead sprats, mackerel and other fish that had been bought from a local market embedded in the ice, some with their mouths still open in apparent suspended animation, according to local media reports.

The fish were also used to spell out “hello” under the ice and to form an arrow showing skaters which direction to follow.

Other parts of the rink showed rays and whale sharks that, the park pointed out, were merely enlarged photos that had been placed beneath the ice.

The outcry was prompted after the fish, some of which appear to be swimming in formation around a pillar, were featured in a local TV report last week.

Space World’s Facebook page was inundated with complaints and calls for the attraction to close.

One commenter said the park was “disrespectful of life”, while another said it was displaying an “appalling lack of morality”.

The facility’s website had touted the Ice Aquarium as an opportunity for visitors to “glide across the sea” in what it called the first attraction of its kind in the world.

But on Sunday, the park announced it was closing the ice rink. “We deeply apologise to people who felt uncomfortable about the Ice Aquarium event,” it said in a statement quoted in the Japan Times. “As a result, we have stopped the event from today.”

A spokesperson told the Asahi Shimbun that the park was considering holding a memorial service for the fish next year, adding that the fish were already dead when they were bought from a local wholesaler.

by Justin McCurry, The Guardian |  Read more:
Image: The Guardian