A Japanese amusement park billed it as not only a unique game-changing tourist attraction for Japan, but "undeniably a world-first".

Space World theme park in Kitakyushu City, Fukuoka, built a new ice skating rink initiative and teased potential customers with the promise of the chance to "enjoy skating under unreal conditions at an attraction both unseen and unheard of."

The theme park, described as a theme park all about space" by the Japan National Tourism Organisation, Japan-first, launched a 'Freezing Port' event on November 12 as a limited winter and spring exhibition to educate visitors about marine life.

All sounds good but 'Freezing Port' saw 5000 dead fish frozen into the rink's ice, Tokyo Reporter stated.

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The idea was for visitors to glide over the variety of fish and shellfish frozen into the ice in different zones, according to the official web site, including a section featuring enlarged photos of bigger creatures such as whale sharks.

The theme park began posting preview photographs of the ice rink on its Facebook page on October 26.

Social media started becoming concerned when theme park staff began describing what was happening to the fish.

A November 7 photograph showed bodies of fish half-frozen into the ice rink that read "I'm d. d. drowning ... It h ... h. hurts...." One comment said the park shouldn't "make life into a toy."

In another photo post dated November 8, visitors urged others to boycott the park while others condemned the attraction as an "insult to life" and urged the park to "go out of business."

Space World continued to preview the attraction despite mounting criticism with a final Part 11 photo on November 11, which drew more than 100 comments expressing varying degrees of shock and shame at the corpse-filled rink - as "cruel" and "disgusting" and including a claim that the attraction was gaining attention in China as "Japan's vulgar theme park."

The skating rink opened on November 12 and had been scheduled to run through spring, however it was closed on Sunday and the operator apologised for any offence caused.
A Space World official told the daily newspaper The Asahi Shimbun that the operator had been aiming to allow visitors to "have a sense of sliding on the sea" with the project.

"We purchased fish hauled and sold dead at a market through a dealer," the official added. "Misunderstanding spread on the internet that the fish were frozen alive, but that was not the case."

The operator said he will organise a memorial service for the fish next year.