Following a wave of backlash, an amusement park in Japan has apologized for an attraction involving thousands of dead sea creatures frozen inside of a skating rink. The theme park, Space World, is now closed while they melt the rink, which could take about a week, according to AFP. After that, the frozen fish will reportedly receive a memorial service before the park reopens to the public.
Located in the city of Kitakyushu in southwestern Japan, Space World opened a new special winter attraction on Nov. 12 called "Aquarium on Ice," which involved 5,000 dead fish frozen into the ice of a skating rink. CNN reports that Space World promoted the attraction as a "world first," and when they posted pictures on Facebook, some captions included, "I am d... d... drowning, s... s... suffocating."
Under the surface of the ice, the frozen sea creatures were arranged to form arrows and the word "hello." But the public wanted to tell them "bye" instead.
People from around the world slammed the theme park's attraction, with some saying the attraction's creators are "sinful" and "have no soul to plan such an event to begin with." Another person on Facebook described it as "animal abuse" and suggested, "I think you should freeze all your crew and members that enjoyed and made this program to freeze 5000 fish." It's worth noting that the fish were already dead before being frozen and were purchased from a local fish market.
Space World spokesperson Koji Shibata told AFP, "We received critical voices saying it is not good to use creatures as a toy, and that it is bad to let food go to waste." The amusement park has "deeply apologized" for the "uncomfortable" attraction:
But Space World isn't simply apologizing. They've also already started melting the skating rink. After that process is complete, they'll have "an appropriate religious service," involving a Shinto priest, in memorial of the dead fish. That memorial service, however, had been "planned before getting criticized," according to Space World manager Toshimi Takeda.
Space World wasn't expecting the backlash at all. "We wanted customers to experience the feeling of skating on the sea," Takeda said. He told CNN, "We were shocked to hear the reaction as the ice skate rink was very popular since it opened two weeks ago, we had an unprecedented number of visitors."
A Space World spokesperson told BBC that they're planning to return the amusement park back to normal, but they probably won't re-open until December.