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‘Baby dragons’ get ready for big year

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  • JAPAN NEWS-YOMIURI
                                An aquaculture farm in Japan is raising sea horses in preparation for the Year of the Dragon.

    JAPAN NEWS-YOMIURI

    An aquaculture farm in Japan is raising sea horses in preparation for the Year of the Dragon.

MINAMI-KYUSHU, Japan >> A sea horse aquaculture farm in Minami-Kyushu, Kagoshima prefecture, is attracting tourists ahead of the Year of the Dragon because the Japanese word for sea horse is “tatsu no otoshigo,” which means “spawned baby dragon.”

Sea horses are also known for their unique ecology in which the female lays her eggs in a pouch on the male’s abdomen, and the male incubates and protects the embryo.

Shin Kato, 52, from Saitama prefecture, who was drawn to these creatures, opened the farm, Seahorse House, in 2010, and ships them to aquariums and pet stores.

This type of business is unique in the country. The farm keeps more than 10,000 sea horses of four species for display and sale. Recently, people have been visiting the facility one after another to take pictures for their New Year cards.

Touring the facility is free. The most popular sea horse for purchase is between 10 to 18 centimeters in length and costs between 5,000 and 7,000 yen (about $35 and $49, respectively).

“Seahorses are delicate creatures, and their numbers are decreasing due to overfishing. I hope that (2024’s) Chinese zodiac sign will spark interest in them,” Kato said.

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