“Pikachu” appears at an Okinawan port

“Pikachu” appears at an Okinawan port

Creature that resembles “Pikachu,” collected at the fishing port on the northern part of the main island of Okinawa (photograph provided by Takashi Sato).

August 8, 2019 Ryukyu Shimpo

Hiroyuki Takatsuji

“Isn’t this Pikachu?” A mysterious creature was found at a fishing port on the northern part of the main island of Okinawa causing controversy over the Internet, where a video of the creature was posted. The creature has become a topic of conversation because it is a spitting image of “Pikachu,” the popular video game and anime character from Pokemon that people are familiar with.

Shun Sato, 66, who discovered the creature and posted a video of it online, reflected on the shocking encounter as if he had been struck by lightning and said, “I’ve observed creatures of the sea for about 50 years, but this is the first time encountering one like this. I was surprised.”

The creature that resembles “Pikachu” was “caught” on July 4, a night of a new moon. Sato, whose hobby is to observe creatures from the fishing port surface layer and who manages a souvenir company in Saitama, discovered several hundred of the same creatures swarming the wall of the fishing port.

Sato spoke with an excited expression as he said, “I had put the creature in a bucket thinking it was a crab hatchling, but it was swimming differently. I had thought that maybe it was a new species or a creature from space.”

According to Sato, the creature is about five to eight millimeters. Two types, one semi-transparent, the other reddish, were swimming near the surface of the sea. When he scooped some with a container, it started to flap what looked like its left and right arms and legs. Their movements were adorable and looked like they were waving a flag. He had taken some home, but they had stopped moving by the next day.

National Institute of Polar Research Special Researcher Naoto Jimi, who specializes in taxonomy, differentiated the creature as a body part of a creature that is a part of the ragworm family, which are known as fishing bait. Jimi then went on to guess that “It’s probably the torso full of eggs or sperm capsules.” He said that there are some that reproduce by detaching part of their body as a part of the reproductive process.

Jimi said, “This is the first time I’ve seen a reproductive individual like this. It’s quite interesting since there are many forms of reproduction depending on the species and there’s more to be discovered.”

(English translation by T&CT and Chelsea Ashimine)

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“Pikachu” discovered in Okinawan waters?! Cute flapping movement


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