Japanese Man Nurses Fish Back to Health and Remains Friend for Life

79-year-old Japanese man kisses a fishes with an odd appearance on the forehead

Photo: Screenshot from YouTube

The most common human-animal bonds are those shared between people and their domesticated pets, but there are also some eccentric pairings that are incredibly heartwarming. In fact, the unique bond shared between 79-year-old scuba diver Hiroyuki Arakawa and an oddly human-looking fish named Yoriko has captured the hearts of people far and wide.

Arakawa became a diver at age 18, has been in love with being beneath the surface ever since. About 30 years ago, as an underwater Shinto temple gate was being built 56 feet beneath the surface, he was tasked with supervising the construction. That was when he first met Yoriko the Asian sheepshead wrasse (or kobudai), who lives right by the shrine's gate. Over the years, Arakawa has visited Yoriko in her home in Tateyama Bay, in Central Japan.

One of the most captivating aspects of their friendship has to do with Yoriko's looks. Kobudai's are named like that in Japan because of the signature bump (kobu) they have on their foreheads, which lends them an uncanny, almost human appearance. “If you look closely, from the front, they look like they have a human face,”Arakawa commented in an interview for Great Big Story. “When you look really close, you’ll think [she] looks like someone you know.”

With time, they had become accustomed to each other's presence. Their mutual awareness was also crucial one particular day when Arakawa noticed the fish was wounded. Yoriko had a mouth injury, which prevented her from catching her own food, which could lead to her demise. Determined to nurse his friend back to health, he spent the next 10 days hand-feeding Yoriko meat from crabs he hammered open for her.

Fortunately, Yoriko didn't take long to heal and was back to being her curious self in no time. The best part? The fish seems to have taken notice of her rescuer, strengthening their bond. “I think anyone can catch an animal's attention by feeding them, but to touch or interact with them is harder to accomplish” Arakawa admits. “I’d say we understand each other. Not that we talk to each other… I kissed her once. I’m the only person she’ll let do it.”

The man is not sure whether it’s in the nature of the kobudai or not to develop that kind of bond, but he appreciates their friendship either way. “It’s probably because there is a sense of trust between us. I guess she knows that I saved her… that I helped when she was badly injured. So for me to be able to do that, I am proud,” Arakawa says. “I have an amazing sense of accomplishment in my heart.”

A 79-year-old scuba diver named Hiroyuki Arakawa and a kobudai fish named Yoriko share a unique friendship.

One of the most captivating aspects of their friendship has to do with Yoriko's looks. “When you look really close, you’ll think [she] looks like someone you know,”Arakawa says.

h/t: [Good News Network]

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Regina Sienra

Regina Sienra is a Staff Writer at My Modern Met. Based in Mexico City, Mexico, she holds a bachelor’s degree in Communications with specialization in Journalism from the National Autonomous University of Mexico. She has 10+ years’ experience in Digital Media, writing for outlets in both English and Spanish. Her love for the creative arts—especially music and film—drives her forward every day.
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