Only two weeks after it opened, a Japanese ice rink with embedded frozen fish was forced to close after public backlash.
Space World theme park, in Japan’s Fukuoka prefecture, opened its attraction in early November. The concept was fairly simple: an ice rink with about 5,000 fish and sea creatures frozen beneath the surface. It was referred to as “an aquarium on ice” and advertised as the first of its kind.
The fish were arranged to spell out “Hello” and direct skaters around the rink. Organizers hoped that it would be a good way to teach visitors about sea creatures while they skated.
However, once the opening was picked up in local media, public backlash started forming on social media. “Playing on the dead fish in the ice is nothing but insanity,” a Facebook commenter wrote. “Isn’t it a desecration of lives?”
On Sunday, Space World announced that it would close the ice rink until further notice. “We seriously take to heart a lot of various opinions,” the organization wrote on their website. “We deeply apologize to all who had unpleasant feelings about the ice aquarium.”
“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,” Space World manager Toshimi Takeda told CNN.
The fish were purchased from a local market and were already dead before they were frozen in the ice. Larger fish, like whale sharks, were represented with photographs below the surface of the ice.
According to Japanese media, the park will melt the ice and remove the fish. They plan to hold a memorial service for the deceased sea creatures and then re-use them as fertilizer.
All Facebook posts from Space World about the ice rink have been removed.