Smithsonian Magazine: Traditional Japanese Fish Art Could be a Boon for Conservation.

Since the mid-19th century, Japanese fishers have been leveraging this unusual technique to create dazzling images known as gyotaku. As Sabrina Imbler wrote for Atlas Obscura last year, the term is quite literal: Split in two, it translates to “fish” (gyo) and “rubbing” (taku). Like a pre-photography proxy for fish Instagram, the prints originally served as visual evidence for braggarts hoping to boast of an impressive catch. Now, some 150 years later, researchers have found a new and perhaps unexpected second use for the art: cataloging the historical biodiversity of the region’s fish.

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