space world theme park
Space World theme park criticised for using dead fish as decoration Pictured: A Japanese representative dressed in a space suit promotes Kitakyushu's Space World theme park at the 14th International Travel Expo in Hong Kong June 8.Reuters

Japanese theme park Space World had to shut a "unique" skating rink after people protested against their use of dead fishes. The theme park in Fukuoka Prefecture had frozen 5,000 fishes in ice to give people a "chance to enjoy skating under unreal conditions at an attraction both unseen and unheard of" in what is "not only a Japan-first, but undeniably a world-first."

The skating rink was opened to public on November 12, but had to be shut on Sunday. Space World, which is all about space — according to their website — used the dead fishes, sourced from public markets as decorative pieces.

"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," Space World spokesman Koji Shibata told AFP on Monday.

"An event on an ice rink with frozen fish... How sinful," said a visitor on social media. "This is not personal, but a social issue. They made food into a toy where children go and play," said another.

After they shared photos on November 11, the theme park received more than 100 comments shaming them for using the fishes.

"The real fish we used were provided wholesale from public fish markets, and these fish sellers are all aware of the purpose of this project," the public relations department official said. "Many of these fish don't meet standards for selling to customers. And the big fish like whale sharks, sharks, and rays aren't real, they're simply photos that were blown up and embedded in the ice," the official added.

"We wanted people to interact with the creatures of the sea. The attraction is divided into multiple zones, including a 'deep sea zone,' with accompanying explanations about the kinds of fish on display," the theme park said while explaining the idea behind the project.

The official also said that they will be holding a memorial service for the "fish who worked hard for us."